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Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising

Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
By: Karyn Pinter

M. Zachary Sherman
Bagus Hutomo (with Leos "Okita" Ng, colors)
Radical Publications
For anyone who missed the single issues now's the time to pick up the TBP of the brutally epic Shrapnel. Being part one of a trilogy of books, the plot so far is this: A war has reached a boiling point between the Alliance and the free colonies. Our heroine is Sam, a former Alliance Marine turned deserter turned rebel hero. Samís past is dirty and she would prefer to keep it hidden, but as events unfold, Sam must confront her inner demons.

Just when I thought it was over, my good friends at Radical keep feeding my addiction. Thanks Gianluca, I love this comic. I canít get enough of it. Most of the comics that have a female star are generally geared towards a female audience, unless itís Power Girl. Shrapnel is a comic everyone can enjoy and a must read for fans of the sci fi genre. Itís a good old fashioned war story set in the far future, with mesh suits; Sam, the heroine, is the strong, ass-kicking Joan of Arc character that any girl can get behind. Itís a classic, classic underdog triumphant story with depth. Thereís a lot more underlying themes to Shrapnel, like social struggle. Although, while going back and re-reading the TPB, where I donít have to wait a month in between issues, I noticed that the subplots sort of dwindled off. Of course the war is the main issue, but the subplots are what really made this comic stand out to me in the first place. There were some little plot points that also seemed to disappear on me, which I hadnít noticed the first time around. Sam has a holographic psycho analyzer that she has programmed to look like her dead little sister. The relationship, or the surrogate relationship, Sam has with the psycho analyzer is actually one of the most intriguing parts of the story, and I wish more had been done with it.

The art work! The story is fantastic, but Bagus Hutomoís art work is the stand out reason to buy this comic. It is jaw dropping. Every issue had a double page layout of a battle scene that was fully painted in the Radical Publishing style. I donít think anyone could have translated the story better than Bagus, and then combine it with Leos Ngís coloring. If those two tried to take over the world of comic art there would be no stopping them. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Pay close attention to the use of light, where it shows up, and what its point of origin is. Itís really very stunning to see.


As for other news, Iím utterly ecstatic that thereís going to be a movie. I had tried to sneak that info out of Nick Sagan and Mark Long in an interview I did with them. I got nothing. But lo and behold, just a few months afterward the news was announced. However, there are two sides to every coin. As ecstatic as I am, Iím also utterly dissatisfied with the choice of Len Wiseman as its director. The Underworld movies were moins a alors chiť. I use French, because it looks classy when I say mean things. Actually, I only saw the first one, but based on that experience alone Iíll make the general assumption that the others were equally as bad if not worse. Iím officially issuing a DONíT F*** IT UP warning to Len, though Iíll still be first in line to see it when it comes out.

It still holds a solid spot on my ambiguous top five of the year list. It may require a re-reading of some parts since it can get a bit wordy and dense, but again itís a definite must read for the genre fans, or if you read and loved the books published by Radical. I recall that around the time the first issue was released there seemed to be few comics that were similar. I read and reviewed a couple of those, but this is the one that really stood out.



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