Fell: Feral City - Vol 1. Warren Ellis - Ben Templesmith Image Comics
The Super hero genre is one that I don’t enthusiastically read anymore. It’s not that I hate super heroes or think I’m too old. I just don’t see much quality in the genre anymore. With every new retcon (retroactive continuity) I lose a large chunk of my ability to care. DC and Marvel believe they can make money off low quality work and rehashes (they aren‘t). This is why I turned to stuff like Warren Ellis Ben Templesmith’s noir, Fell
, and I’m glad I did.
The book follows a super human detective named Richard Fell. And when I say superhuman I don’t mean that he has the power to duke it out with Superman. Fell just seems to solve most crimes with insane efficiency and ease in a town (Snowtown) that would dissuade Bruce Wayne from ever trying. There isn’t any background information (yet) to explain why he’s so good either. From what was told he’s just some young newbie detective.
Apart from a few (very, very few) questionable bits of dialogue, the writing is easily enjoyable and quite good. Fell is a likeable bad ass and his “everyday guy” appearance makes him unique in a medium inundated with capes and cowls. Some of the characters feel a bit “cartoony”. The Coroner specifically was really nutty. It did go well with the insanity of the town and how much no one in a authoritative position really cares, but there was something very “familiar“ about him -- like a mad scientist type. I guess you must have to be a bit insane to take delight in making a living out of investigating corpses.
It’s rare that you get an artist who’s so easily distinguishable and hasn‘t been in the comic book industry for very long. Ben Templesmith is one of these people. His gothic style is absolutely stunning and fresh.
Facial expressions, atmosphere, panel pacing -- it’s all brilliantly done by Ben Templesmith‘s work.
I rarely say this, but this book is worth the $15 on the art alone. I absolutely loved it. It certainly compliments Warren Ellis‘ writing impeccably.
It isn’t the most profound graphic novel out there out there but it’s a fun read. It’s further proof that this medium can do great outside of stuff like X-Men. Head out to your local comic book distributor and pick a copy up. I recommend it!
Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse - Vol 1. Templesmith IDW
It didn’t take very long for me to become a diehard Ben Templesmith fan. His art is some of the most incredible and distinguishable work I have ever seen in the industry. I was admittedly skeptical when I heard Templesmith had illustrated and written an entire book himself, so is he a jack of all trades? Did he write something worth reading, or does this guy need to go back to the drawing board -- literally!
In the world of fantasy fiction we’ve got large number of books that deal with demonic monsters hell bent on robbing us of our planet and freedom. How many movies, video games, and books have you read in which that‘s the basic idea? It’s a cliché indeed, ladies and gentlemen.
I should be telling you to avoid this book since the concept is so derivative it fed my skepticism, but I won’t. I can’t. The difference between those other books and Wormwood is that they don’t have an uppity robotic sidekick, a horny leprechaun who is attracted to the robot, demon strippers, a parasite disguised as an “enlargement” pill, and a hilarious ending to what was thought to be an epic fight scene. Wormwood specifically is a “worm” that has the ability to telekinetically possess corpses. He also loves beer and is infatuated with strippers.
In this trade, the book starts you off with the “taster” to introduce some of the characters and give you a basic idea of what you’re getting yourself into. Templesmith then steamrolls into a four part story that has Wormwood helping a ghost detective solve murders involving demon parasites and exploding stomachs.
This book is a comedy first above anything, and Templesmith nails it. Charming characters and all, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. Categorically, most of it is slapstick humor but he does get some nice little quips in there. It’s an absolute joy, but don‘t expect much in the way of “smart comedy“.
As always, Templesmith’s art is what really shines. Although dark, dirty, and minimalist, it sits in with the story perfectly just like it did with Warren Ellis’ serious writing on Fell. The art is also much more improved since Fell. He takes advantage of his own gothic style with that Tim Burton approach. It certainly proves how versatile his work is.
I have given you a multitude of reasons to make a decision and I hope you make the right one. Go get yourself a copy!
[Sidenote] I'd like to take this moment to point over to my sidebar. See that? Those are other comic reviews. I write them sporadically so don't expect a solid date, but check every once in a while. If you have any comments, just check the links bellow the review. You can correct me. I appreciate feedback. I need it. My last comic review will always appear on my sidebar. That's why Fell is currently up there even though I have this blog written up.