Review: Carver: A Paris Story

To say that I’m high on this story is a bit of an understatement. It’s absolutely one of the best stories I’ve read all year and will factor heavily into my end of the year award list. That said, I’m behind on reviewing it which is a damn shame because Chris Hunt delivers in a big way with this story. I’m going to be straight with you all and tell you what I feel the story is about. I could be wrong to a degree. Chris Hunt could message me and tell me that I missed the mark, but I’m going to go for it rather than what I usually do which is nothing.

Carver: A Paris Story is about a man coming home from the war and needing help putting back the pieces of his life. Which, if you’ve read the story, sounds a bit crazy at first read. Because as the story introduces us to Carver he’s a bad ass. A man that’s broken inside, but a natural born killer. He’s good at it; it’s what he’s become known for, and as the story presses on, we see that. We see it a lot, but what Hunt does is show that Carver isn’t like other anti-heroes in that he feels nothing for the death he causes. Rather, he goes to another place in his mind and when he comes out, he’s a bit confused as to what he’s done. The instinct to survive kicks in and Carver checks out.

carver-a-paris-story-tpbThe story has a natural progression that continues to build and build upon the action. The first issue has the softest amount of action but instantly develops Carver into a no-nonsense character. Hunt creates one of the most realistic scenes for this genre in that he doesn’t give anyone the chances to bullshit and then fight. Instead, Carver just initiates a fight after being approached by thugs looking to rough him up. Again, the battles Carver faces continue to build and build until the ending. Hunt masterfully chooses when we see a fight and when we just come out on the other end, much like Carver. Because in the end, it’s not about the action. It’s about the man. It’s about the cost of war and the promises that family makes.

Chris Hunt writes a story that’s equal parts amazing in its action and bad ass anti-heroism as much as it is a deep character story. I would need to sit down and think of everything else that was released this year that I read to think of what could even come close to being this good. Because it’s not just the story that’s fantastic, but the art as well.

As I’ve said already, Hunt takes the story into action and sometimes we just come out on the other end. This is also done with the visuals, but nowhere better than when Carver is thinking about the war and particularly painful memory. The page is draped in black ink, but somehow I feel that Hunt actually illustrated the entire two pages first and then decided what to cover in black. The reason being because it genuinely feels as if we’re climbing out of the dark recesses of Carver’s mind and that is frankly some of the best damn visual storytelling I have ever read. The story is in all black and white, but Hunt thoroughly understands how to use the contrast and doesn’t leave it looking as if the color was neglected, but rather unneeded.

I know that my original graphic novel category is going to be difficult this year. I have three contenders that come to mind instantly, but when it comes to mini-series… I don’t know if anything can be Carver: A Paris Story and I'm not sure if I want anything to beat it. This is the type of comic that makes you want to read more comics. It makes you want to experience new types of comics from new creators. Simply put, it makes you fall in love with the medium all over again.

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Carver: A Paris Story Creator: Chris Hunt Publisher: Z2 Comics Price: $14.99 Format: TPB; Print


Review: Indoctrination #2

Stop it.  Just stop it Michael Moreci and Matt Battaglia with your exquisite artwork and wonderfully told story that plunges the very depths of my soul.  Who are you trying to fool?  You can’t both really be this good can you? Can you?

I was slightly concerned that after reading your exceptional first issue, which casts a horrifyingly ominous light on terrorism and indoctrination, that issue two just couldn’t measure up.  Whilst not quite as strong as the first instalment, it seems my fears were entirely misplaced.  What is it the kids say these days?

This book is killing it.

If there is one indie comic I recommend you pick up this year it would have to be this.  What surprises me though is it’s just so different from Z2 Comics’ other titles, where did this little gem come from?  Who cares, I’m on the train.  I’ll be there till the end, yes I too have been indoctrinated it would seem.

Indoctrination #2We drop right into another exceptionally presented American town, following our two FBI agents and their terrorist aid Wilkins as they track down the faceless terrorist known as Sahir.  The sun seems to glow off the very pages themselves, as if Battaglia had somehow bottled a part of our nearest star, dipped his pencil in it and just let rip.  The imagery is powerful and vivid as we see one of the faithful being dunked beneath the water by a local religious leader and the man our trio is there to see.  It appears one of his congregation was attacked by a man with Sahir’s mark tattooed upon his chest: the serpent.  This new revelation puts the investigation into high gear as they set out to find the tattoo artist, hoping it would lead them to Sahir himself.

The mysterious agent known only as Huxum is hot on their trail, we still don’t know his true role in all of this but it adds an intriguing element to the story, something else to ponder on as plot races forward.  Things are a lot more action packed in this second issue, the team's pursuit of the tattooist leads them to a cartel shoot-out which is nothing short of spectacular.  Some comics can make action scenes a big confusing mess but this was done expertly, you could almost hear the bullets fly as our FBI duo fight their way to safety.  Remember those bright, neon blues Battaglia used in issue one?  Well my word if he hasn’t stepped it up a gear in his use of colour here, it practically drips from the page as the blood is spilled.

Due to the dark, sketch style of artwork he employs, at times it can be difficult to discern one character from another but who cares?  When I look at a beautifully decorated christmas tree, it doesn’t bother me that I can’t see the individual pine needles ya know?

What we have here is an exceptionally rare blending of creative talent, writer and artist coming together to create something magical, and haunting…

Like its title, this book warps your perspective, as you fall inevitably along the paths of our protagonists, you can’t escape it.  There’s more in store for them, for us, but perhaps we’re powerless to stop it...

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Indoctrination #2
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Matt Battaglia
Publisher: Z2 Comics
Price: $3.99
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital