Categorized | Comics

Aposperos: Merchant of Souls Review

Posted on April 15, 2010 by spikexan


Available at DriveThruComics.com

    Aposperos by Nektarios Chrissos (writer) and George Martzoukos (artist)

    After a little over a year of writing RPG reviews (and one movie review), I’m dipping my big toe into comic reviews. I’m currently looking at two comics that are so off the mainstream path I find myself giddy. I love comics even though I don’t love where the Big Two have taken them in recent years. Independent writers and artists hold fresh characters that can take some surprising turns. My layout for my comic reviews will be different than my RPG reviews in that I’ll only focus on the writing and the artwork. There are more aspects–coloring, lettering, inking (or tracing according to Chasing Amy)–to comic creation; however, I will only focus on the two primary areas. Here goes.

    There were moments in Aposperos (from Visionary Comics Studios) were the artwork, a style that is so far from what I like, worked for me. The artwork is primarily computer generated, so I had to work around any predispositions. The opening scene, a crime scene investigation, didn’t do anything to help wean me from my biases. It isn’t until things calm down a little bit around page 8, which introduces Maria, a woman who needs her loved one to get better. The artwork around her captured mascara-stained tears and other desperate emotions with impressive style. This carried me along for awhile until page 13 started tearing things down again. One panel shows the soul merchant (a great concept) grinning like a deranged Tom Cruise. I felt thrown about through most of the comic by the inconsistent artwork. Some panels were picture perfect while others left you wondering what you were looking at. The fight scenes suffered the most from CGI. Emotions aren’t easily transferred through CGI. Weeping? Sure. Happiness?

    No . . . that looks creepy. Adrenaline rush? No, the characters end up looking bored during a climatic fight scene. At the end of the book, my bias held firm, yet I had to concede that Martzoukos had potential to do something special with this medium.

    Chrissos’ story engages the reader from the beginning. The story is a fairly ageless one and the writer layers some new thoughts upon it. I didn’t find his characters too interesting though. The protagonist’s motivations weren’t consistent throughout the book. The concepts laced throughout the book though were mysterious and (YES) new. Without giving anyway anything the title of the comic doesn’t already do, the story centers around soul merchants. These are the guys and gals who make you those soul-offering good deals like free Pepperjack cheese on your foot-long at Subway (maybe I sold mine for too little). It turns out that not all of these guys like their work (they are, after all, soul-stealing pricks); furthermore, there are also groups that don’t like these guys. With three distinct groups in the first book alone, the promise of twisty storylines seems strong. I’d personally like a stronger connection to the protagonist (at the least).

    Both the artwork and writing reminded me of Joseph Michael Lisner’s non-Dawn work.

    It particularly reminds me of an old graphic novel (Angry Christ Comics) of his stranger works. I enjoyed that collection, so the connection is positive. So . . . my scores for Aposperos are:

    Artwork: Two out of Five Happy Fanboys (the lack of accurate emotions killed it for me)
    Writing: Three out of Five Happy Fanboys (more characterization is needed to balance
    out the promising storyline)
    Overall: Three out of Five Happy Fanboys (a cool first look at comic reviews)

    Review by Todd Cash

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    2 Responses to “Aposperos: Merchant of Souls Review”

    1. Nektarios Chrissos says:

      Todd,
      I’m the writer of Aposperos.
      Thank you for your time with the comic, hope it was an enjoyable experience for you.

      Your points are well taken into consideration. I hope the next issue in the installment will be a better experience for you.

      Take care and thanks for your time again!
      Nektarios.

      Reply

    2. Peter says:

      Todd,

      With all due respect, I don’t fully share your personal opinions. Both the artist (George Martzoukos) and the writer (Nektarios Chrissos) are excellent at their jobs. I have been watching their works for several years and their natural talent is astonishing! This comic book is unique, so unlike anything published so far in the comic industry.. The evocative, inventive, enigmatic scenario is fully understood only with repeated readings. The dense, puzzling plot is backed by a visually-complex, mesmerizing, melancholy, detailed, meticulous artwork. An original thriller with many interesting introspections.

      The fact that the background is neither static nor monochromatic..Let’s give credit where it’s due! An explosion of colours perfectly combined with a game of shadows, bringing time and space as well into action.. The detailed textures. The way scenes capture the eye of the reader. It’s almost as if real sounds are generated through the movement of the objects in the frame, luring us all into action. As far as the characters’ facial emotions are concerned, not only were they understood but also transmitted to me. Take into consideration the fact that there are 48 human emotions known scientifically and so much more yet to be discovered. Compare that to the amazingly wide range of facial emotions in the comic. The point has been made I think.

      What can I say about the absolutely inspiring scenario. Ethical considerations for a dark and mysterious personality such as Aposperos. He, as a soul merchant, has to try not to empathize. Caught between the world he is familiar with, and the all-new to him world of altruism, sacrificial love. What is good depends on the results of a certain action. Aposperos’ is still human and people can change only if there is understanding.

      I am looking forward to a second issue!

      Reply

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