Stepping in with a guest review today is my pal James Cassara, with a look at a new comic series:
Chapter House Comics is one of several smaller companies trying to establish themselves as an alternative to the superhero heavy output of Marvel and DC.
Based on the handful of books I’ve sampled from them their track record is, purely on percentages, considerably better than the Big Two.
Part of this is my disinterest in modern day superhero comics - having read them for 50 years the genre has long ago run its course for me - while the notion of any company branching out into areas that don’t involve guys in tights beating the heck out of each other appeals to me on many levels.
Of course when a publisher’s entire output is a fraction of DC and Marvel’s, the great and not so great are considerably more obvious.
On the recommendation of my shop owner who, like any great retailer knows the tastes of their clientele, I gave Life, Death, and Sorcery a provisional try.
It appears to be created solely by Danny Zabbal (his is the only name on the credits) who draws in a clean, crisp, easily followed style that is pleasing to the eye.
The story revolves around Amelia, a 15 year old runaway from an unhappy home. I gather her parents are divorced, her father seems overwhelmed in raising Amelia and her two younger sisters, and things in general seem to be falling apart for her.
To complicate matters further Amelia seems possessed of an inner voice that intermittently gives her directions which she feels compelled to follow.
That’s a lot of assumption on my part which points to the biggest challenge of this comic. Having missed the first issue I have scant idea what is going on, and after two thorough readings I am still unclear.
Remember the days when continued story comics provided an opening synopsis of “What has gone before?” Life, Death, and Sorcery is badly in need of such.
This lack of certainty, coupled with a story that in 25 very well drawn pages (reminiscent of The Hernandez Brothers, who appear to be a strong influence) barely nudges forward, left me feeling as if I’d just missed the train.
It ends with the introduction of an interesting SF element that seems to offer promise, but I am not sure if it’s enough to draw me back for a third issue.
I so wanted to love this comic and it certainly has much to offer. But darn, it is no fun to read a comic and not fully know what the heck is going on.
Publishers take note!