Review: Shepperton's WaltzA comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Angus Shepperton is a cowboy in space. He's the town drunk and a no-good husband; in short, he's a thorough loser. But ironically Shepperton's alcoholism is exactly what keeps him alive. See, the tiny hardscrabble hamlet of Hillsborough Township is under attack by giant insect creatures that are similar to the Brood from the X-Men comics. But the insect creatures hate alcohol -- the mere smell of booze repulses them -- so Angus's weakness may end up being his greatest strength.
You have to give It up to Patrick Killik for coming up with a unique high concept idea for the first graphic novel from tiny Oort Cloud Comics. I've never quite run into this combination of elements before in a comic. And though they don't quite come together completely well -- if you start to think about this story, it kind of falls apart on you (Why is there a fully constituted Western town in space? Why is there no new technology in that town? Why can't anyone from outside the town help them?) -- the story really shouldn't be picked apart. It should be taken on its own terms, as a fun action romp that throws a bunch of odd elements together in slightly unexpected ways.
And in those terms, this comic definitely works. It's fun and exciting and the main character has just enough complexity and pathos to make his story reasonably compelling.
And the art by Marc Laming, a British artist who has done quality professional work for a number of publishers over the years, goes a long way towards forgiving the shortcomings of this book. His art is dynamic and exciting, employing smart page arrangement, clever scene settings and a dynamic, fluid style that keeps the reader focused on the page. The scenes in which Shepperton fights the giant space bugs are exciting, and Laming does a great job of showing the daunting and almost impossible odds that that our hero faces in this story.
Heather Breckel's coloring fits the story well. She uses a muted palette of earth tones that do a wonderful job of showing the hardscrabble work that these characters live in, and accentuates the grit and the drama of the scenes.
Shepperton's Waltz isn't the most original comic ever, but the combination of elements is really fun and makes for a breezy and entertaining read.