I can count on one hand how many comic books have occupied my mind space for the entire month as I waited upon their release. In my early days of collecting comics the internet hadn’t yet become a reliable resource for releases and my knowledge of the industry and its shipping practices was limited. I used to wonder at times if I would ever see a comic again not knowing that a pull list would solve that problem. Because of that I would have excitement each time I went to the comic shop to pick up books. Would that random grab from the previous month be there again? That feeling of excitement and anticipation faded over the years and now as a reviewer I rarely wonder if I’ll see a book again or not. But when a title does come along that gives me that excitement, that anticipation… oh does it feel wonderful. San Hannibal is one of those titles. It’s not just guessing the color that will be featured in the issue or seeing what witty dialogue will come this time around. It’s the entire package. It’s the experience from the cover to the ending and I have to tell you that the more comics you read the harder it is to find that experience. Which makes me sound like a junky, but I kind of am. I want that next story to enjoy and crave and frankly a lot of readers are like that. You want that next fix of pure storytelling because there’s no other medium that you can get that from.
I’m not going to recap much of this issue. There’s a lot of details and while it looks like the mystery is solved… it’s kind of not. There’s still information we need and we still haven’t solved the first question of “Where is Savannah Loy?” I haven’t yet gone back and re-read the first three issues, but this issue certainly has me wanting to. Pay close attention to everything because you should see things click in place.
That isn’t to say that writer/artist Dan Schkade doesn’t leave a bit of mystery for us to solve next time though. Schkade is wonderful with the story. Its dialogue heavy, but trust me you’ll never once complain and I say that as someone who fully acknowledges that it’s borderline exposition. That didn’t stop me from clinging to every word and re-reading the information presented.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Schkade’s artwork since the second issue in which he took over on art details as well. The characters pop more under his hand and here our main character doesn’t have to do a thing other than talk and yet he steals the show. There’s some great flashes that Avery inspires and it works to build both characters involved. It’s actually pretty incredible when you stop to think about it. It’s only one character’s past we’re seeing, but because Avery is piecing together the information it actual serves his personality as well.
Of course the art wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without colorist Jesse Snavlin (whose last name I butchered on our last podcast, my apologies again). Snavlin’s coloring hits at all the right moments. All three colors we’ve seen featured throughout the series make their appearance in this issue, but they’re used differently. They have context and meaning this time around which is fascinating for a reader to figure out and solve. What was very interesting for me was that I was given the info on how to figure out the next issue color… I’m very interested in the final issue because of this. Snavlin is an incredible colorist and adds depth and character to the artwork.
While I’m looking forward to the next issue, I am not looking forward to it being the last issue. I don’t know if this world has more juice in the tank to continue after this series nor do I feel that it should. I’d love to see what the creative team can come up with afterwards for sure, but I like the idea of this story having a conclusion. If there happen to be more stories for Avery in the future they would need to blow this story out of the water… and that’s going to be an improbable task based on what I’m reading here. San Hannibal is one of the year’s best, that’s for sure.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Dan Schkade Colorist: Jesse Snavlin Publisher: Pop! Goes The Icon Price: $2.99 – Print, $0.99 – Digital Release Date: 10/15/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital