Wednesday, August 08, 2007

They just keep coming...

From the kind folks at Comic Book Resources...


Dialogue is important to comics, in much the same way as sound is important to a good movie.

Let's see if I can explain what seems like something that's so obvious. I plugged in the DVD for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN the other night to see how it looked on my relatively new television set. It looked fine, but I didn't feel it. There was something missing that took a lot of the impact away from that harrowing early scene on the beach. It was the sound. Listening to it in stereo as opposed to 5.1 surround sound makes everything feel flat. If you can't hear the bullet buzzing past your ears, then you're not getting the full effect.

In high concept comics, the thrill is in seeing how a crazy idea can be executed. Whether it's pirates stuck in the modern world, or Zombies fighting Robots, or a Robot and an Angel learning life lessons from each other, you're sucked into the comic from an always-farcical sounding pitch. The crazier, the better. The plot is important. The art is important. And the dialogue needs to match that level of energy.

MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK has all of that in spades. The new original graphic novel from AiT/PlanetLar is the story of an organization much like Marvel's Damage Control, entrusted to protect a Pacific island from the monsters the humans cohabitate the island with, and then clean up any of their messes afterwards. The pitch from Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman is killer, the kind of thing to spaek any comic reader's imagination. The art from newcomer Nima Sorat is a true discovery. I know nothing about Sorat, but the art looks like something a fashion design artist might render, complete with wonderful gray tones and a thick brush strokes. There's movement in every panel. While you could make an argument in a couple of spots that some storytelling suffers for it, there's always enough there that you get the gist, can follow the story, and have a good time without stumbling.

On top of it all, though, Bernadin and Freeman didn't skimp on the dialogue. It would have been very easy for them to let the art tell the story and NOT add that extra spark. They didn't. There's great rapid-fire banter and one-liners throughout the book, all without dragging the book down. Characters are best defined by their actions, true, but you can learn a lot about them from dialogue that cleverly expresses their personality as much as their action. The authors never get lost in expository dialogue, or conversations that last too long. Nothing has a chance to overstay its welcome in this book, as it just moves too fast, and that's a good thing. This is an action comic about men fighting monsters. You don't need to weigh it down with expository dialogue. You don't need to deeply explore the monsters' motivations. (You see how well that did for the HULK movie.)

MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK is the best offering from AiT/PlanetLar, I think, in some time. It's snappy, fast-paced, high-concept, and oodles of fun. It's available today for a mere thirteen of your hard earned greenbacks.

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