Friday, December 14, 2007

Misericordia #1 (of 11)

Rebekah Cynthia Brem

A new eleven-issue mini-series about a dystopian future, Misericordia, debuted this week from Archaia Studios Press, courtesy of Rebekah Cynthia Brem. It's a unique comic, to say the least. It begins with a woman who awakens from her quarters in a city underground, and after waiting for job detail, she gets the dirty job of surface duty, an undesirable position where she must brave the humanoid inhabitants of the surface world and exchange drugs for a disk of information. After being chased by some of the natives, our protagonist is run through town and ends up taking shelter in an abandoned appliance store, where she falls asleep and is rudely awakened by a humanoid lumbering over her.

Sometimes it's a little hard to decipher what's going on in this comic - Brem gives her readers enough credit to let them figure things out without overexplaining, keeping things quite sparse, particularly words. There are no thought balloons, bubbles to explain things, and there is hardly any dialogue. But everything's there that's needed to get the gist of what's happening, and it's all going on through some of the most interesting, beautiful art I've seen. This doesn't seem like a typical mainstream book. It reads different, the art is textured, intentionally amateurish at times, and is vibrantly colored. The sequence when the protagonist steps out onto the surface and disappears into the horizon, then stares at the city in the distance, is very bright and yellow, and just plain gorgeous. I love the designs of Brem's characters and the interesting backgrounds, and little things like the folds in the golden shawl the woman wears. This is another one of those books where it's fun to just sit and stare at the illustrations. Misericordia is certainly a book to watch as it unfolds, and while I'm not completely sold on the story yet (it has yet to offer up the love story aspect of the science fiction book, although what is laid out so far is at least interesting), it promises to be one of the best looking books out there.

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