Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

JLA: Riddle of the Beast

Writer: Alan Grant
Artists: Various
Letters: Kenny Lopez
Publisher: DC 

What's it about?
This is one of DC's Elseworld's titles.  The term Elseworlds refers to books where the characters are "taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places, some that have existed, and others that can't, couldn't or shouldn't exist".

As for this specific book, it's a straight up fantasy epic.  Robin is a young lad living in Haven, an idyllic community based at the far corner of the world.  Up until 15 years ago this world had only known peace, but then the Beast arrived, bringing forth death and destruction. Once the Beast was defeated the people of the worlds found their trust had been shattered and so they retreated into isolated communities, never sharing news or conversation with strangers. But then Robin receives warning of the return of the Beast, and he is tasked with telling the world so that they can prepare for the coming battle.

What's good about it, or, what's the art like?
Without a doubt, the art is the highlight of this book.  This is surprising as there are 15 different artists involved and usually that leads to a jarring reading experience.  Not so with this book.  As Tim ventures forth on his quest he changes as a person and so the art can be seen as a reflection of that, with each artist focusing on bringing out the specific mood related to their individual pages.

All artists were supplied with character designs before work started on the panels so there is a cohesive feel to this book.  From the world map on the opening pages to the book's cover, it feels distinct, utterly new and detailed. Visually, it's as epic in scope and feel as the plot is.       

This book is a great example of what comic art can be and how sequential art can be grand in scale, not merely cartoony men in tights capturing the latest rent-a-villain.

What's bad about it?
The plot is nothing groundbreaking or new - it's your standard epic fantasy tale with elements of the coming of age or quest story.  Any fantasy fan will see exactly where the story is going and there will be few surprises.  DC purists may not like aspects of this book as the relationships between the characters are very different from recognised canon, but for someone coming in cold to the DC Universe this possible mis- characterisation shouldn't be a problem.

As explained above, it's the art which makes this book special.  So if you don't like the sample art shown here, don't buy it.
Other information
Price: £10.99
ISBN: 1840234490

If you like the idea of the Elseworlds line take a look at these other books we have featured.   If you are into fantasy books try Fables or search using the fantasy and mythology tags.

No comments:

Post a Comment