Review: San Hannibal #3

There’s this misconception that comic books are like movies which is entirely false. You can tell a creator that’s trying to make a comic a movie by the structure and story beats and while it does work, that’s because the comic medium is so versatile. To truly understand the medium you have to first acknowledge that it’s a little bit like novels, TV, Film, art and something completely of its own. When a creator understands that they make something as special as San Hannibal and if they don’t then they’re creating for another medium and don’t even realize it. If you haven’t picked up on it yet each issue has a color theme. The first issue was pinkish, the second blue and this third issue is yellowish/golden, but towards the end there’s a blending of the primary colors that we’ve seen in the previous two issues. It’s definitely a change of pace, but it works incredibly well for what’s happening in the story at that moment. Once again Jesse Snavlin shows why she’s the perfect choice for this series and maybe after this people will see how talented she is to be able to highlight an issue with just one color.

This issue is very different from the previous two and that’s okay. In fact it’s a good change of pace because otherwise the story would just be going in a circle. Avery heads out of the city to pursue the lead that the rock star and the disappearing man gave him. He’s heading to the Stockbridge Estate which is a private club for “brothers” and their guest only which makes it sound more like a cult.  We find this out as Avery knocks on the door and the educated butler answers. The two men push the door back and forth for a moment before Clayton Marx spots Avery and is confused by his presences. Indeed it seems that Avery hadn’t pinged on anyone’s radar and so his surprise visit is startling to the Estate and its senior brother. Who is the senior brother? Let’s just say it’s a character we haven’t officially met yet, but their presence has been heavily alluded to.

There was only one hiccup in the writing this issue and it came between Avery and the character I haven’t named. If you’ve been following the series it should be pretty obvious. There just feels like a line of dialogue missing, but it could be the review copy I was reading so I’m not faulting it and it is pretty minor. I just found myself reading that part a couple of times to make sure I got everything.

san_han_03_cover_previewOtherwise the writing was magical. I know that seems lame to say, but the opening monologue from Avery would be at home in any prose novel and yet here it was in a comic book. It set the stage for the entire issue and grabbed your attention from the beginning. That’s important because of the setting change, it could have easily bored or alienated readers, but instead you cling to each world. As a result I read this comic twice.

The bulk of the art I want to talk about is at the ending. Without spoiling the events themselves I will say that there are drugs involved and it’s some of the best drug induced scenes I’ve seen in a comic book. There’s this tendency when showing drug effects in the artist medium to take it too far or try to capture some semblance of realism when using drugs. Since I’ve never used drugs I end up looking at it like a mess and it usually ruins the scene for me. Here Dan Schkade and Jesse Snavlin harken to something more like what Frank Miller and Lynn Varley did in Sin City. It’s out of place in the context of the rest of the visuals and the story, but it’s easy for the eye to follow and understand. What’s more is that Schkade and Snavlin make it beautiful to look at.

There are two issues left in this series and this third issue is the top of the peak. The next two issues are very important as they finish the series off, but considering the consistency of the story and the consistency of the quality… I’m not worried. If you were looking for something mind-blowing to read this week, here it is.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist: Dan Schkade Colorist/Letterer: Jesse Snavlin Publisher: Pop! Goes The Icon Price: $2.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital Website