Writers: Mario Gully (plus Matt Nixon co-plot)
Artists: Gully (p), Peter Repovski (i)
Publisher: Arcana Studio (www.arcanastudio.com)
“Ant” is a grown-up female superhero with huge breasts, a woman with the exoskeleton costume endowing her with Ant powers, and she’s not afraid to use them for good…even if she does have no qualms about causing massive damage in the course of fighting crime. “Ant” is also a fantasy imaginary creation of a schoolgirl, much put-upon at home and school, and this is her escape.
Oh man, this book was so close to being nigh-on perfect, it just fumbled the ball on a critical play and it remains to be seen whether the opposition recover it and bring it back for a TD or whether the team pick it up and carry on the good work from this solid foundation.
The good stuff: the art (for the most part). Very reminiscent of Todd McFarlane and the early days of Spawn, the scenes dealing with Wanda, Cyan and Terry at home. Nice, attractive layouts, good sense of figure, good range of faces, detailed backgrounds, generally very, very good work. Let down by one particular aspect – see the bad stuff below.
More good stuff: The plot. The dialogue. The setting. Hanna is a sweet kid – she’s precocious, sure, but she’s pretty clever, she’s got a great imagination…of course, the other kids don’t like her very much, and it doesn’t help she has to be taken to school by the cops because her dad gets himself arrested (a case of mistaken identity? We’ll see). Her escape from all this is a detailed journal, of stories and pictures, about this Ant character – her fantasy life is (according to Hanna) all mapped out as her actual future. Her journal is her life, essentially, and if anything should happen to it…
The bad stuff. Sounds promising, huh? A developing book about a cute kid with a few problems at home and school, a potential future to grow towards (whether via latent powers, some mystical destiny, or just an imaginary scenario to be played out in the background). As far as that little lot goes, I’m really pleased with the book, and think it has a lot of potential, a lot of interest, and a great future. BUT. Nearly thirteen pages of this book are given over to a (fairly realistic) depiction of one of Ant’s (imaginary) adventures – and she’s busty, she’s early twenties say, she’s wearing a skin-tight costume. The cover reflects this, it’s cheesecake, pure and simple. And it detracts from the work immensely. Now, I can buy the scenario that we should see some of Hanna’s imaginary creations, some of these stories she has come up with – but the art should fit that of a kid her age (much as Mack did with the kid art interjection in his excellent Wake Up storyline in Daredevil). And these should take up no more than a couple of pages at a time.
The book feels as if the artist got bored drawing a school, kids, cops, you know, normal stuff, and wanted to cut loose on big breasts, lots of explosions, blood and guts. The effect of this is the story is hamstrung and barely hobbles to the finish line, before collapsing in an undignified heap. Artistically, sure, do what you want, but that just makes this book look undistinguishable from dozens of other cheesey wank-rags on the market. This one has HUGE potential, and personally I’d hate to see it wasted.
Immense amount of promise shown, but the book stands on a knife-edge for the future. Definitely one to watch.
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