Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Review: Decadence #7

This is an interesting 68 page Science Fiction Comics Anthology with an Underground slant for those seeking something a little different. Although thoroughly contemporary, the book feels as though it could have been made in the 1970's, as it has the feeling and mixture of experimentation, rawness and psychedelia that was present in that era of Science Fiction comics and films.
First up; "Energy Magician" by Leon Sadler is a very bizarre tale indeed. It involves a kind of taoist space-travelling hobo, who goes with the flow and is able it seems to transfer living matter of any kind into energy, which gives him special powers.
After waking up in a forest under a geometric shape, on an unknown world, and realising that his boots don't fit, he sets about looking for 'fuel'. After a grisly scene of 'energy transferral' ("how could I let energy like this go to waste?" says the magician) the character gives thanks, and sets out to look for his living spacecraft and to add a somewhat unsavoury souvenir of his visit to a selection of others. This is a very unique strip; Leon's unusual and expressive art style adds to the twisted sense of humour.
"Island 3" by Lando is an ongoing strip which is full of intrigue. The story is set on a futuristic island where it initially seems that all the inhabitants are dead, save a bald teenage cybernetically altered boy, referred to as "316". He is watched over constantly by 'serving' robots who guide him through the landscape and act like overly protective nursemaids. When 316 fails to follow the directions he is given, he detours, crashes his bike and things are revealed to him that he's never seen before.  The line-art drawing style is first rate (kind of a cross between katsuhiro otomo style manga and 70's European comics), and this is the driving force of the storytelling; the strip having very little dialogue. This works really well, giving a feeling of a creepy, deserted dystopian world and a cinematic approach to the visuals. Definately has me hooked.

Next, Daniel Swan presents a wordless psychedelic strip which seems to involve some kind of omnipotent being, that we only see as a hand which seems to be full of space and stars. It felt more like an artistic interval than a story though.

Cover artist Stathis Tsemberlidis however, provides a superb visual story about an Astronaut who lands on a strange world and has some very intense psychedelic/ evolutionary experiences. I don't want to give too much away, but this is a fantastic strip(& trip), kind of akin to Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain, in space. It makes the end of Kubrick's 2001 look pedestrian in comparison. The artwork is brilliant, detailed yet clear, I would say influenced by Moebius, but in no way an imitiation.

In John Chandler's strip we enter the story in the middle of some kind of relationship breakdown. A helmeted astronaut works at seperating a vessel into two, which then splits, leaving the ship's other astronaut (an unhelmeted man) in the other half. The two then have a last conversation, before we see the astronaut who's left dealing with his own hurt, isolation and loss. The void of space being the ideal metaphor to bring home that kind of loneliness.  There's also a touch of dark humour in it I would say, as only Mr Chandler can provide. I won't give any more away, the ending seemed very fitting.

"Sputniks" by Dan Hanlett is nicely drawn comic, where satellites come to life, and go from being inert, benign objects into a potential threat. A simple and nicely executed 5 pager.

The last strip by Alex Payne is a sci-fi horror comic which didn't really do much for me I'm afraid, i felt like it was covering well-worn territory, and i felt that quality of the work was the poorest of the bunch.

Overall though, there is some very interesting material. You can get the book here.

1 comment:

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