Sunday, July 27, 2014

Epic Beards of Review: CMYK

The bright blue cover staring at me two weeks ago in the comic shop did more than just that. It whispered and beckoned to me with its come hither stare. It seduced me with its four-color blocks. 

The fact that it was a Vertigo title made it even sexier.

I hate to admit this, especially this early in the game: sometimes, I’m not the nerd I purport myself to be. The letters CMYK in those four-color blocks taunted me, but I couldn’t remember why.

My nerdy mojo must be off.

For the uninitiated, CMYK (that is to say [C]yan, [M]agenta, [Y]ellow and [B]lack ) are the four colors that make up the basic building blocks of color comics. You can combine these colors to get just about any hue you want. Vertigo (a mature DC Comics imprint) is known for their quarterlies and one-shots in recent years, and this year they’re making an attempt for these colors to serve as a 
base for their writers and artists.
The “blue” theme works well enough here, though it’s not as solid as some previous installments such as Time Warp and Ghosts. Not to say the offerings this quarter weren’t stellar: they just didn’t fit together solidly. Have no fear, there’re buckets of good things happening here.

There are three “price of fame” pieces that resonate deeply for one reason or another. The book opens up with a pretty gritty ditty about a girl the papers who they’re tagging with the moniker of “Banksy of Murder.” Another visits a washed-up has-been pop starlet making way for new blood. In the third, Madame Bluebeard takes a stab at the old folktale pairing a gay male with a woman to make their Hollywood relationship seem passable. This is by far the funniest offering in the issue, with a realization at the end as to who the narrators are.

Just two tales feel incomplete, or perhaps I’m clamoring for more. One such story, Blue Sundae, is about two British ice cream truck drivers. What starts out as a crazed call in the middle of the night turns into heroes battling supernatural forces beyond their understanding. And did I mention they’re British?

These nine stories showcase the intricacies of pacing within six-to-eight pages and the oomph contained therein to tell a tale. Different writers and artists bring about a deeper storytelling that works hand-in-hand to properly get the job done. These six-to-eight-page stories fit the format of the medium well, and the re-readability makes for a well-spent eight dollars. It can be a pretty hefty sum to pay for a comic, but I’ve not been disappointed yet. 

Very much looking forward to next quarter with [M]agenta.

This review originally appeared in the July 3 issue of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette Showcase.

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