by Si Spencer, Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ormton, Tula Lotay, Phil Winslade, Lee Loughride, et. al.
So, Bodies #1… you see a preview in the back of a book and it excites you. You are intrigued and pulled in. That’s what the house ad in the Vertigo books did for me a few months ago. Four artists, one writer, four time periods, one mystery… and bodies. I like Vertigo, they have done just fine by me over the years. Not everything can be a hit, so you end up with something like FBP, which seemed awesome on paper but didn’t quite do it for me in execution. Given my current budget restraints, I’m willing to give most Vertigo things a try unless cost or overall concept just doesn’t do it for me. So, I skipped out on CMYK and that one about the Royals that sounded all too Downton Abbey to me. Nott this one with Hellboy like art in the preview and an experimental enough sounding concept to me, I signed up.
There was a time, years ago; I would have done a bunch of research on this title before even attempting a review of it. Especially given my first read through which left me less than thrilled. However, I don’t write reviews on the regular anymore. I don’t have empty hours of idle nothing going on to hunt down comics by Spencer whose name is familiar but doesn’t ring any dinner bells. I certainly never heard of any of the artists when I saw the ads. Although, since then I have read the first issue of the new Supreme series illustrated quite beautifully by Tula Lotay. In a way, it is freeing. No preconceptions, no pompous views of what I am getting myself into. However, that first read was troublesome. Especially, the future sequence that still seems to mostly be gibberish to me even after a second read. However, there was something there and I agreed to write something up, so a second read was called for.
I’m still not sure that single issues was the way for this one to go. It’s eight issues, it would be a hefty graphic novel. Especially cost wise. I probably wouldn’t have checked it out at the $24.99 I imagine it will demand in a trade paper format. The subsidy of single issues will probably bring that cost down. Although, one has to wonder in Warner’s clinging to the format with diminishing sales on every comic with every issue. There is a lack in faith of the book market in play in the actions of the big two publishers. That’s really neither here nor there though. This book just doesn’t really flesh anything out enough in a single introductory issue. 6 page snippets of character work don’t give me anything to connect to. Well, at least with the unfamiliar. I was quite drawn in by the 1890 chapter, but having read From Hell and being fascinated by The Ripper since a young age, that is familiar territory. Also, Ormston’s Mignola like art appeals to my eye.
It just feels like there needs to be more. Fortunately, the cover states 1 of 8 to assure me there is more coming. I’m just not sure today’s comic consumer is willing to plop $3.99 on this book and its unbridled potential when there are so many established things already on the stands. Should I give this book my $3.99 or get that first volume of Letter 44 that I’ve heard such good things about.
Upon second read, there is much to discover. Clues hidden throughout the story, a mysterious symbol hinting at a secret society at work and the word Kyal, whatever that means. There is also the location and ominous beginning of the “Long Harvest.” It’s intriguing enough for me to give the second issue a try, but how many readers actually read the preceding volumes of Hickman’s Avengers all over again when they get a new volume for the shelf? How many readers read Morrison’s Batman epic multiple times? And this book seems to be like that. It reads like Final Crisis, where I am going to have to reread it to keep up with it. So while it may fit neatly into my proclivities as a reader, does that warrant a lavish review praising the intelligence and attention to detail on display here? Is that even a fair assessment to give a first issue? I mean, did you even read The Wake, all that potential and concept and great reading and then a philosophical cop out of an ending…
The art is across the board great. It gives each setting a unique and distinct feel. It will never be difficult to tell which time period you are in. Although you have to wonder if the differences in hair coloring are to match the tone or another clue as to the body’s identity/ies.
It’s an intriguing concept, I am on board with the whole thing. I hope those that like things I like aren’t disappointed with the end. Only time will tell.