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Corrective Measures

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Grant Chastain
Fran Moyano
Arcana Comics
Corrective Measures is about life on an island, but not just any island. This island is home to 185 pissed off super-villains. It is on this island of San Tiburon where these criminals spend the rest of their miserable days in a maximum security prison, huddled away from the rest of existence. And it makes for damn good drama.

The first few chapters of Corrective Measures deliver a great introduction to the over-arching plot with its focus on the newly appointed captain of the Violent Crimes unit in San Tiburon, Jason Brody, whose character has the most depth. As the captain of the VC unit, he also has ties to everyone in San Tiburon--continuously interacting with the warden, his assistant, and all the other officers and inmates of the prison.

However, after the first two chapters, Corrective Measures steers the focus away from Brody and spotlights some of the other inhabitants of the prison--ranging from a head doctor to a prisoner up for parole after twenty eight years of service in the joint. This extended cast of rotating characters is simultaneously a blessing and a curse for the book.

While the chapters focusing on secondary characters are still well written, they aren’t as engrossing as the main narrative involving Brody’s self discovery, the warden’s ulterior motives, and Payback’s mission from God. However, they do go a long way in “world building”--which is vital for a series looking to have legs in the comic medium. For starting out on a fresh foot, without established names and places, you need to build everything up from the ground floor and create a believable world for your characters to inhabit. So I commend Grant Chastain for taking that risk and exploring his creation to the fullest right out of the gates instead of telling a narrow tale in what is obviously a world filled with story possibilities.

Fran Moyano's art in Corrective Measures goes through spurts of brilliance (perfectly channeling a Bryan Hitch quality at times) to periods of mediocrity that suffer from disproportioned figures and inconsistent faces. There were panels in which Jason Brody’s face and physique completely changed and threw me for a loop. He started the series off looking like Captain America, with a buff build and a 1940’s hair cut, but in the next chapter he is skinny and has a bowl cut--without a major passage of time having occurred in the plot. If the characters in the story didn’t refer to Brody by name, I wouldn’t have known it was the same person. However, even with these inconsistencies, Moyano’s panel transitions and layouts are easy to follow and help move Chastain’s scripts at a brisk pace.

As I mentioned earlier, even though it’s labeled an “Original Graphic Novel,” Collective Measures doesn’t have a singular story driving it throughout its six chapters--a fact that might rub some readers the wrong way. It’s obvious, though, from this first collection that Chastain has an over-arching vision for this series. His crisp dialogue, allusions to other works, and great use of a rotating cast makes me believe Corrective Measures will be a great prison saga once all is said and done.



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