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True North #1
by Scott M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2014 23:59:21

I thought this was great.

The dialogue was realistic and clever and most of all, natural. I like the art. Creative. Clear. It did everything it needed to do.

Looking forward to the next issue.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
True North #1
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Slave: the Graphic Novel
by Scotty G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2013 13:15:03

Slave Staff: Greg Boucher (Writer), Justin Newberry (Lettering) & Aleksandar Bozic (Art) Overview: Conan the Barbarian meets Gladiator, but good. Review: So Slave is by the same company that bought us True North. Right off the bat we get a different art style. Very heavy on contrast (though that’s similar to True North). The quality is a lot higher in terms of fidelity and creativity from an artistic perspective. Some of the opening shots are composed really well.

Something that worked out REALLY well for RATO was that is an almost purely visual story. This one matches that. It has no dialogue until page 14. Gotta say, I’m a fan of the way they did this. We get a very intimate view of the hardships of all involve and I think the lack of dialogue actually added to that. It also allows us to focus on the world they are building. It seems very late Roman, but then we start seeing aliens and the like. Very nice mash up. There are spurts where there is dialogue and parts where they let the visual storytelling take over. It’s really a decent method to help manage the comic’s pacing. The visual storytelling allows them the freedom to jump hours or days, while when there is dialogue the flow of time is much more condensed.

The lettering is indistinguishable from professional work and it’s very readable. It is even fitted to the art style which utilizes a lot of line breaks. There were a FEW errors with the lettering. Sometimes they drew the speech bubbles to the edge of the page rather than to the edge of the panel, but that’s really just nitpicking.

It should be mentioned that the entire comic is done in black and white, but I don’t think it would be as successful visually if it had color. I always liked the works where there was moral grey area being employed and the art style was stark black and white with high contrast. It’s almost poetic (On page 23 this was in particularly good form as the art team employed inverted shadows to showcase a character’s silhouette.). The one issue I do have is that, while it is stunning, I don’t like the double page spread on page 28. It is a bit distracting.

The characters are well written. Quite a change between this and True North which has a lot of stock tropes. While the tropes are there, they are used better. We have the hard bitten gladiator, the softie who loves kids, the new slave, etc. These are rare archetypes to see and they twist them in ways that allow you to empathize with them. In just 40 pages we can see the seeds of legitimate character growth, which is something that is quite hard to do as smoothly as they did it. Some of the stuff you could predict, but even when you could predict it it was still enjoyable.

Something of note about the setting is that it is confident in it’s world. What I mean by that is that we don’t ever get long exposition as to what something is. In fact, I don’t recall any exposition. It just simply happens. I get that there are other species, but that’s not the focus of the story so they don’t tell me about it.

The story feels a lot like the tale of Spartacus, but different enough that it’s not a direct rip off or anything that dramatic.

So to sum it up: well written, very good art, and it has a certain charm about it. It’s worth a read if nothing else. There is a bit of a “Conan the Barbarian” in there and more than one allusion to Sparticus. I can’t help but think back to like some of the sketches from Heavy Metal now and again. Anyway, check it out.

Metrics Art: 8/10 (Good use of black & white) Lettering: 9/10 (Publisher grade) Plot: 10/10 (Character development and visual storytelling at it's best) Novelty: 7/10 (A new twist on an old thing) Overall: 8.5/10

PS: It's like 70 pages for like $2... that's awesome.

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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slave: the Graphic Novel
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True North #1
by Scotty G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2013 16:59:34

True North Staff: Greg Boucher and Guillermo Hansz Overview: Tired concept, luke-warm execution, but still worth a read.

Review: So I'm gonna start this with the art. It's never outright bad, but it gets real close sometimes. An awkward perspective here, a bad shadow there, and little things are in this comic. It's styalized I suppose, so I won't harp on it to much but sometimes the characters are drawn a little weirdly. The lettering is pretty uninspired. It doesn't do anything for me but it's legible and I suppose, so it does what it needs to. It should be noted that Guillermo Hansz, the artist, has a fantastic grap of dynamic posing and frames his motion very well. You can see the understanding of anatomy in every shot he draws, despite some of the awkward posses and facial expressions (which can be really creepy...). There are also a few reused panels which I though was in poor taste (see page 21).

The story really leaves me kind of confused. Like I get the idea behind it (which has been done to death), but it all feels like someone's attempt to cram as many "cool" characters into a story. Sure they all have personalities and whatnot, but it feels less like that is a result of genuine good writing and more because they all fit their stock superhero archetypes. You have the outsider protagonist, the tough vixen cat girl, the suave lancer, future love interest, etc. The plot is basically superheroes are outlawed and people hate them. A bar is home to a group of them and after a run in with some thugs, he joins them.

There is some real thought behind this, however it's execution often falls flat. There is a scene where a bunch of anti-superhero skinheads are picking on a superhero and their allusion to being like Nazis is handled with all the subtlety of a brick going though a window during Kristallnacht. Some of the dialogue is handled about as well. It seems a lot like the characters are instantly familiar with each other of the get-go with some minor stock conflict to bog it down.

A kind of interesting feature is that the comic gives you music suggestions for different scenes. It's very scream-o and, while it fits with the comic, isn't really my flavor. You can see a lot of inspiration came from that sort of music in this comic (heck, the main character looks like he might open for one of those bands mentioned). At least their is some novelty in that.

I won't say it's not worth your time, it is, but sometimes I wish they had opted to go for a more polished approach. There are two blank pages at the end of the PDF which I assume are meant to be filled because the scene just kind of runs into a wall and stops. Hey... it's free. Give it a look.

Metrics Art: 7/10 (Sytalized, but never outright bad) Lettering: 5/10 (No innovation but you can read it) Plot: 4/10 (Nothing new but a decent set up) Novelty: 5/10 (Plot is tired but at least they had that song gimmick) Overall: 6/10

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[3 of 5 Stars!]
True North #1
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