The spirit is weak but the flesh is willing.
Source: Pound of Flesh
I finished this book with an elevated heart rate, and immediately reread it from start to finish. Then I ate lunch and read it again, slowly. Partially to identify how I fell in love so hard, and partially just to relive the experience, because really, “an experience” is how I would describe Pound of Flesh.
This is not a book for everyone. If you take your super heroes very seriously, then you may not appreciate the moments of parody. If you don’t love entrails - well, first we’ve got to stop hanging out so much because you suck. Next, you should grow a pair and just read the damn book anyways. Even if you love blood and gore, like I do, Pound of Flesh may be grotesque enough to make you squirm.
But writer, Edward Dippolito, and artist, Damon Fernandez, don’t aim merely for a cheap shock response. Throughout the story, they maintain a strong contrast between expected and unexpected; sometimes shocking, but sometimes humorous. This dynamic drew me into the story completely, where I felt as though I was participating. As the conclusion approached, there was a fleeting moment where I anticipated the ending. I got giddy, drumming my fingers in anticipation, hoping that the creative team were brave enough to finish this story the right way.
It ends the right way. Dippolito and Fernandez push all the way to the proper ending without slowing down and without going further than necessary to prove that they can make the reader react. In my opinion, the fast pace and the abrupt ending, prove that this creative team are capable of incredible self restraint in a book that might otherwise be characterized by indulgent violence.
Dippolito also shows a degree of storytelling maturity as he combines familiar elements, especially from anime. He creates something that feels more like an homage or an allusion rather than a rip off. In my opinion, he actually gains storytelling efficiency by reference to familiar images. Dippolito is showing himself to be a skillfull writer with a good range, especially considering his other project, Frank N. Stein
For all intents and purposes, Fernandez’s art is indistinguishable from professional mainstream work. He skillfully handles a variety of scenes including a flashback montage and a classic street brawl, all set in a dramatic but colorful nighttime world. I was most impressed by the variety of textures he showed off; brick that looked scratchy, cloth that looked fuzzy, blood with a thin viscosity and extra cinematic shine, entrails ready to burst, skin that sagged and stretched when needed. This book looked delicious. Or gross.
So if this review has been somewhat vague on plot details, it’s only because I don’t want to spoil any surprises. On the back cover, Dippolito describes Pound of Flesh as following the adventures of "Keillen, a boy with immense power at his side and a disregard for subtlety." That description is about as accurate as saying that Game of Thrones is about the Stark family eating dinner in Winterfell; that's where the story starts, but it's not why you keep reading.
Curious? Need a copy of this book? Need multiple copies in case you vomit on the first one? Hit Dippolito’s website for his main project: http://franknsteincomic.com/