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Local #7

Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2006
By: Martijn Form



Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Ryan Kelly

Publisher: Oni Press

Plot:
Twelve issues present twelve stand alone stories about a struggling woman named Megan.

Comments: What is one of the best series on the market right now by an independent publisher? Okay, that was an easy question. Local is a great concept. Twelve bi-monthly issues all with stand alone stories. No arcs. No crossovers. What a nice change. Wood utilized this format already with the great series Demo. The difference with this series is that it revolves around one character, Megan. Itís a kind of coming of age story. She travels all around the country because she canít find a good spot to settle or keep a steady job. Some issues focus directly on Megan, and in other issues she is more of a sidekick. But this never compromises some great stories.

In this issue not one panel presents Megan. Nonetheless her presence fills the issue because Wood cleverly shows the postcards Megan sent to her cousin, Nicky, who loves to read them wherever she is staying. Nicky feels like (and is) an outcast, but the postcards present a little sunshine to his grim existence.

I have to compliment Ryan Kelly for making this issue so great. His black and white art is realistic, grim, and in your face. Every panel delivers and drags you down into Nickyís harsh reality. Good gritty art, I would call it.

On most of the pages Megan's writings are presented in captions. These captions contrast the art, and a chemistry between the two form this shocking tale. Nicky drinks, is an vandal, a thief and a wannabe drug dealer. Nothing is going right for him. And although some panels might suggest that he is rethinking his life, he is going down big time. The second to last page shocked the hell out of me. Some real brutal stuff. Together with the last page it kept me roaming my brain for quite some time. This is a powerful tale done in a great sequential art style. J.D. Salinger would be proud of writing stuff like this.

Iíve been following Brian Wood's writing for the last two year. Vertigo's DMZ is a great series, but Vertigo could also use a series like this. I wish that Vertigo had picked up Local as a new series, because this book deserves more readers than Oni press can provide. Donít get me wrong; Oni Press is a great publisher, and I check their website every week. But I like to see more exposure and more readers for this series. Itís mature reading at its best, and it will make a hell of a tradepaperback.



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