Monday, March 21, 2005

ATOMIKA #1

You know, I may be the only one to say this, but I thought that this had a much stronger start than Red Star did. The two are obvious comparison points, Alternate Universe Russias where the Revolution didn't go as we thought it did. But there's something much more... primeval here, working from older reference points and richer mythology. Or maybe I just like it more because there aren't any sorceresses getting strapped into the business end of giant flying ray guns.

The first issue of Atomika honestly didn't make me think much of Red Star beyond the aforementioned obvious, though. I thought more about Animal Farm and American Gods, the former for the cankering of a People's Revolution and the latter for the battles between the gods of old and new, and about Marx the historian as well as Marx the political scientist, and about the semester in high school when I took Ancient Civilizations and had to learn all those origin stories. (Yes, the Shrew is overeducated and underpaid, why do you ask?) This is a heady, dense mixture of politics and religion far deeper than Church and State, told in a lyrical, rhythmic style.

As entranced as I was, I'm not sure how successful it is as a comic book -- it felt more like an illustrated story than a sequential art tale in that the narrative progress was driven almost entirely by words and not by pictures. The images support the story (except where a pair of very oddly placed word bubbles in the Soldat de Fantome scenes give new meaning to the notion of talking out of one's tush), but don't move it along.

Sal Abbinanti and Andrew Dabb have created something very interesting here, but I don't think it will be for everyone. Find out for yourself: five preview pages from Speakeasy Comics' website.

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