November 19, 2010

Quickie Reviews: Last Unicorn, Artifacts, and Legends of the Guard

Here are my thoughts on the comics I picked up on 11/17!

The Last Unicorn #6
Written by Peter S. Beagle, adapted by Peter B Gillis
Art by Renae De Liz

Pain, victory, love, being human - we get to face all of these in the last issue of the comic book interpretation of The Last  Unicorn.  If you are a fan of the book and movie, I can almost guarantee you will enjoy the comics.  The writing has been very true to the book and that continued in this issue.  Lady Amalthea has to make hard decisions; in her last human moments, she understands the power of real love.  My favorite thing about this last issue is the amount of emotion conveyed just by the art.  Renae De Liz has a real talent for storytelling, and every line - whether it is a character's facial expression or a component of the background - contributes to the mood and feeling of the scene.  It supports the writing, and together they are a strong force.  The scenes in the last part of the book have the potential to be silly if translated wrong visually.  But the Red Bull was terrifying, the tide of kidnapped unicorns was beautiful, and the last moments between Lir and Amalthea/Unicorn were very moving.  I've read the book The Last Unicorn a few times, and though the words in the comics are less, I feel just equally satisfied by reading them.

Artifacts #3
Top Cow
Written by Rob Marz
Pencils by Michael Broussard

Though I've read some Witchblade stories here and there, Artifacts has been my first foray into Top Cow's titles. I was intrigued by issue 0 of the series when I got it on Free Comic Book Day this year. The series centers on 13 artifacts; each has an origin story and is very powerful on its own. But when you combine them, the power is strong enough to remake the world. You've guessed correctly if your next thought was that an evil force is trying to obtain all 13 artifacts for an equally evil purpose.  The good guys (well, the better ones) are trying to get them first.  The series is very entertaining, but the aspects I love most are the character and prop designs.  The artifacts visually emanate strength, as do their bearers.  I would pick up this comic just to stare at the pages, but as it happens, the story is worthy too.  This issue is action packed and jumps around a bit.  I had to read it twice to find the path of the story.  I liked that there was a recap in this issue of who has which artifact.  It can get a touch convoluted.

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #4*
Stories and art by Carl Rousseau, Karl Kerschl, Mark Smylie, David Petersen

If you're not familiar with this series so far, it is an anthology of tales set in the world of David Petersen's Mouse Guard.  Mice at at the June Alley Inn gather to tell tales.  The only rules are that every story must contain one truth, one lie, and have never been told in that tavern before.  This is the last issue in the series.  I enjoy the Mouse Guard world.  I like everything from the lettering to the color pallette to the characters to the story.  It is delightful to see other creators tell stories in this world.  This particular issue has three different tales.  The first story tells the Mouse Guard version of the familiar lion and the mouse fable, the second tale is about a brave guardmouse named Sadie, and the final piece is a tale of power, love, and revenge.  The last tale by Mark Smylie is the one that really stood out for me.  It was a classic tale, but powerful and incredibly engaging.  The illustrations are captivating for each story.  All the panels are rich with texture, layers, and details.  If you're looking for a different sort of comic series to buy for children or adults for the holidays, I recommend this one.

*I think that this title was technically released on 11/10 but my comic store didn't receive it until 11/17.

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