EDITOR's NOTE: The Bond of Saint Marcel is currently available for pre-order and will be available on July 30, 2008.
Plot: In 1778, Colonial Colonel Avrey Johnstone makes a sinister choice to help the Americans win the war over the British, a choice that is held in secret by the Johnstone family for generations to come. In the present day, Katherine Johnstone, is the young rebel of the Johnstone family, and she's just gotten herself kicked out of a posh private school. On the eve of her being shipped off to a psych ward by her mother, Katherine receives a gift from her grandmother, an heirloom that may bond the shadowed past of the Johnstone family to the present.
Comments: The thing keeping this story from reaching near gold is, unfortunately, one of the most important; the writing. I found the writing to be a bit unclear at some points, I had to go back and reread the last panel or two to make sure I didn't miss a bubble. It jumped a little too far in some spots, leaving gaps in time, messing up the flow. I feel like there could have been a smoother transition between panels. Also some pieces seemed to be out of place; I couldn't figure out why that scene had been put in there. Perhaps it will all play out in the future.
It has a promising story, which, if really fleshed out, could achieve a higher rating. Although I do feel like I've seen many stories like this one lately, whether on television or in comic form, this generally dark mystery of the past which comes to involve an innocent from the present story. It's starting to seem a little played out. In fact, I'm sure I've seen at least three tv shows that are very similar.
The art work is great, especially in the beginning where the story takes place in 1778 Boston; it has a great ghostly feel to it, which enhances the dark mystery. It reminiscent of Christophe Gans, who directed Brotherhood of the Wolf and Silent Hill, and his whole smoky/misty, what's-going-to-come-next look. The colors mesh well with the pencil and ink. Again the first part of the book truly highlights the talent of the art crew, and in fact I've reread the first 11 pages several times. Now the first 11 pages aren't the only part worth reading. Continue to the end, but the beginning is good enough that you may find yourself flipping back just to get another look.
One last thing, which is another gripe, is I would have liked a little satisfaction at the end. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, "to be continued" included, but it left me feeling a bit cold. One last splash of action at the end would have tied this package up nicely, but alas, we must wait for the first pages of the next comic for some sweet, and hopefully bloodtastic action. Hey, maybe all 28 pages of that comic will be as awesome as the first 11 of the first.
Final Word: In the end, I'd say pick it up in the store, flip through it, read the first 11 pages, and if you think it might pay off in the end, buy it. If you feel nothing after flipping through it, put it down and move on, that $2.99 is better spent on something you know is a sure thing.
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