Current Reviews


Narcopolis #2

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008
By: Martijn Form & Matthew J. Brady

Jamie Delano
Jeremy Rock
Avatar Press
Martijn Form: 4 Bullets
Matthew J. Brady: 3.5 Bullets

Martijn: First let me make a statement here: I really love Jamie Delanoís writings over the years, and he's a very under appreciated writer. He is on the same level as Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis but I think he is neglected in being one of comics greatest writers, because his isnít putting out that much new material.

So Matthew watch what you say about this guyís new work haha.

Matthew: Well, I donít think I hold Delano in as high esteem as you do, but I do like his work. Really, I havenít read a lot of his writing, so I donít feel like Iíve experienced enough of him to form a full opinion. So Iíll take your word for it that heís really good. Iím definitely liking what heís doing here.

Martijn: Although I live in Amsterdam, I donít do drugs, but this is an hallucinogenic trip that feels really profound. Delano is playing with the English language, making up new words and new sentences, making us comic readers literary detectives, to dig deep to fully understand this work. This is just as good as Transmetropolitan or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Matthew: I wouldnít go that far, especially considering the incomplete nature of the work.

Martijn: Yes, well maybe Iím hyping a little, comparing two issues of Narcopolis against almost a dozen of trades of Transmetropolitan, so let me try tuning myself down a notch.

Matthew: I do really like Delanoís use of language here, the way he smooshes words together and weaving intricate sentences out of them. Itís a nice way to convey the ultra-corporate nature of the comicís society, a world in which everything is branded as a product, including people. And, like so many dystopian sci-fi worlds, thereís plenty of commentary on current culture and politics, including talk about sacrificing liberty in order to ensure safety. Itís not too original, but it is pretty well done.

Martijn: There is this other theme Delano uses, that really fascinates me. It seems that this society doesnít rely on their own emotions anymore; emotions that are created by natural stimuli like sadness or happiness.

They use synthetic drugs to induce the right emotion for the right moment. Very disturbing and I think if the pharmaceutical industry in our reality could copy that, they would make billions.

Matthew: I also like the idea of the main character, who is struggling against the idea of the government/corporationís oppressive dominance, being co-opted and recruited as an enforcer. Thatís an interesting development, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Martijn: Yes, maybe something like if you canít beat them, join them. I hope Delano got some twists and turns on that plot line.

Okay letís talk about the art. The artwork by Jeremy Rock isnít extra ordinary, but I think the totality of Rockís work would be much better if he had left the inking to someone else. I havenít seen any sketches or pencil art from this new artist Rock, so I canít tell you if his work pencils are very clean or could be a bit rougher, but a pro inker could have brought more weight to the drawings. Not just narrow inking lines, but several styles to create more depth to the panels, and adding balls to these characters.

Matthew: I think the inking works pretty good with Rockís style, which fits well into the ďhouse styleĒ of most of Avatarís comics. Heís not as obsessively detailed as Juan Jose Ryp or Raulo Caceres, but a bit more so than, say, Jacen Burrows. I think I actually like it quite a bit; itís clear and easy to follow, with a lot of interesting details. He does a good job of making Delanoís crazy society believable.

Martijn: So you donít think that the inking is very sterile?

Matthew: I donít think so. In fact, sterility might be a good aspect for this book, with its corporate-dominated society that governs its citizensí very emotions.

Martijn: Hmmm you got a good point there, but still Iím not a big fan of Avatarís house style; which is for me thin clear inking, but it is not the worst either, but I strongly feel that it lacks that extra dimension that this story deserves. If ever comic looked like this one would you be happy Matthew? Thatís a question you got to ask yourself.

Matthew: Yeah, thatís true, I certainly wouldnít be happy if every comic had this art style. But then again, I love the variety that comics have to offer, so I also wouldnít be happy if every comic looked like it was drawn by Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Smith, Steve Dillon, or Frank Quitely (to name a few of my favorite artists). In this case, I think Jeremy Rock is pretty good especially considering how new he is to comics. But, as I seem to be repeating quite often lately, to each his own, right?

Martijn: Again you convinced me to look at Jeremy Rockís art in a different way. I will definitely be re-reading this issue with your statements in mind, because this story is multi-layered, making in a wonderful challenge to read.

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