Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tommy's Take on The Price One Shot


Doing something a bit different here, reviewing "The Price", a one-shot comic by Glenn Arseneau and Allen Byrnes, published by 215ink.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The cover price is $3.99, but I picked it up on Graphicly for $1.99. It is a self-contained one shot, although the resolution could be used as a springboard pilot for a supernatural series pretty easily, in my opinion.

The basic premise is a very familiar one, with a young woman driving down a dark road at night, lost, stumbles on a secluded diner with some creepy inhabitants, etc. Like I said, familiar stuff. The resolution is what separates this from other "haunted road" type stories, and it does a pretty nice job in that regard.

My only major quarrel with the writing is that the resolution feels a tad rushed. I generally appreciate a story that doesn't feel the need to hold my hand to the resolution, but I didn't feel that QUITE enough information was given to make all the pieces fit.

Initially, the art didn't impress me, but while the style is more simplistic than I prefer, the visual storytelling is very much present, as each character looks unique enough that scene shifts are not hard to follow at all. In fact, some of the background features really add to the creepiness, and the final panel of page 22 (I believe, page numbers don't seem to appear in the Graphic.ly reader) is a very effective shift that especially works in the Graphic.ly panel by panel reader.

The lettering is generally well done, though I did pick up the odd typo and balloon placement that interrupted the flow of dialogue, but that only happened once or twice, and the script was clear enough for me to quickly correct my reading.

The use of color is brilliant and adds a great deal to the story. One of the most effective coloring jobs I've seen in recent memory, in an indy book or a major league title.

the book is marked for Mature readers, but all of the foul language is censored and the violence is pretty restrained and effective when used. I wouldn't give this to my seven year old, but I didn't see anything I would keep from a 14 year old, for instance.

WHAT WORKS: This is a great example of a two-man job in which both creators are on the same page with what they are trying to accomplish, and had the tools and skills necessary to accomplish it, with the extra touches that the lettering and coloring add to the final production. The cover is a brilliantly evocative piece of work as well, though not necessarily indicative of the interior art style.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: There is no credited editor, and an editor is usually a good thing to have. The resolution feels rushed (and almost like a Deus Ex Machina, but it *was* foreshadowed, so I won't hold that against them).

CONCLUSION: With a few more pages or a tighter reworking, this could have been a GREAT comic, but instead I'd call it Really Good. I would have preferred not having to read between the lines *quite* so much as to the true nature of a couple of the characters, and the POV character doesn't really seem to DO much in the story, though that can be quite effective at times (and it is here for probably 85% of the story).

While an editor always helps, Glenn Arseneau and Allen Byrnes pretty clearly know what they are doing, and I will be shocked if we don't at least see regular indy work from the both of them in the future. The Price is a very nice twist on a familiar tale.