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Aposperos: Merchant of Souls Review

Posted By spikexan On April 15, 2010 @ 6:45 am In Comics | 2 Comments

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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