|Major WM Releaser
Device: dell axim
(Click to go to the release post)Writer(s)
: Jeff Parker
(Click to see other books from this writer released on this site)Review source
: Dave Baxter
(Don't click it, read the review here...
: Dave Stewart?s Walk-In #1
Whatever else may be said about it, Dave Stewart, Jeff Parker and Ashish Padlekar have produced a book that can emphatically be claimed thus: one damn fine comic.More info
First off, I’d like to say that the cover for Walk-In #1 really, really made me not want to buy this book. It isn’t that the art was poor (it’s highly stylized, and some might claim such style as bogus, though I personally dug the artist’s – Celia Calle’s – system of stroke), but rather the depiction of a hyper-anatomy bearing woman in downtrodden, tough-girl clothing as the cover’s centerpiece made me unavoidably assume that the interiors would be centered around just such adolescent drivel. Still, the pickings this week were light, and Virgin, as a company, hadn’t honestly let me down as of yet, at least not in any egregious way, and so I bought it. And I read it. And I loved it.
The book is centered in Stewart’s real-life experiences as a young man doing stage shows as "Memory Man" and – during this time of his life – suffering from odd moments of memory loss himself. From this small smidgen of reality, Stewart and Interman auteur Jeff Parker cobbled together a truly outrageous and complex outline for what should hopefully go down as one of the best works of speculative, graphic fiction since Alan Moore last put pen to comic book paper. The main character of Walk-In is one Ian Doormouse (I know – ick, but we’ll let this Pynchonian embarrassment pass), who suffers from blackout spells in which he awakens in entirely new vistas, having to continually rebuild his life over and again. As such rigorous upheaval continues unabated, Ian no longer even tries to settle but rather lives a vagrant life of lonesome strip-club loiterer (for the free salty snacks, naked women, and lack of questions). Where issue #1 begins, Ian awakens in Moscow, and enters the first strip dive he comes to, and here – due to a series of odd actions, finds himself a (non-stripping) performer dubbed "The Dream Catcher," the man who can reach into your dreams and unveil them for the audience entire.
What else? Well…Ian’s life and experiences with sleepwalking, dreams, and waking visions very slowly and intriguingly accelerate, and herein lies the beginnings of a tale that blends the very best of British fiction, from Gaiman to Moore to Morrison, there’s a little bit of them all in Walk-In’s fantastical tale of a man out of place and out of touch with…well…everything.
The greatest draw of this book is adamantly Parker’s script, which is just about the clearest and most genuine storytelling I’ve seen a comic book manage since the original Top Ten series. There’s a bit of a European flavor to the execution and the setting (an oddly archaic, gentlemen’s club slash strip club inside of Moscow, filled with Russian gentlemen gangsters as well as French and German and British oddities), but there’s none of the awkward translation issues that usually come part in parcel with otherwise fantastical, foreign, illustrated treasures.
Parker’s Ian is a candidly open narrator, whose voice and character shine through the abstract qualities of the plot to call the reader into his world and – before the first issue is even past its halfway point – had me hoping I’d never have to leave. (When was the last time a single, sole, first issue managed to do this?) Equally, Parker’s execution of the mundane-yet-notable, itinerant life of Ian is masterful, edging the borders of such an unusual but otherwise not terribly extraordinary story with small inklings of a greater genre-indebted epic soon to come. In short, Walk-In, in the capable hands of Parker, looks to be taking the slow and steadily expanding path towards its culmination, and yet there’s nothing here that suffers from the great "decompression" of modern-day comics; rather, Walk-In #1 holds more honest story within its modest twenty-three pages than any other piece of graphic literature I’ve handled in recent memory.
The art by Ashish Padlekar is also a treat – similar in visual to Parker’s own artwork in Interman, Padlekar skirts the border of cartoonist and illustrator, granting the world of Ian Doormouse the proper depth of humor, warmth, and life that the comic desperately needed in order to succeed in its ambitions. The characters and settings are instantly identifiable in nearly iconic ways, while being (in truth) far more detailed than the average comic book page, which allows the book a poetic sense of appearing timeless and placeless, though not unrecognizable (much as all of Ian’s life). Padlekar’s technique is indelibly strong, and more than works the necessary magic of bringing Walk-In’s heady abstract qualities into a solidified and understandable template.
Honestly, Walk-In is a majestically massive surprise for me – I hated the cover, and therefore thought little of the project when it was announced and the promotional ads appeared bearing said cover; also, while I enjoyed Interman (and haven’t, as of yet, checked out Agents of Atlas), Parker’s recent What If? special (the Avengers Disassembled one) was just about the worst What If? I’d ever read (its plot was so muddly and trammeled over it was nearly opaque, and the places where it was readable, it wasn’t even believable!). So you can imagine how skeptical I was when venturing into a book whose basic content I thought wouldn’t interest me, and whose writer I figured had lost his touch (or at least was currently snafu-ing all over). Now imagine how many hallelujahs I shouted to my ceiling when I closed the back cover and discovered that Walk-In was the best damn debut and the best damn inaugural issue to a comic I’d read in years. I’m excited about this book. If you read it, I guarantee that you will be too.
Dave Steward creator
Ashish Padlekar artist
Celia Calle cover
Jeff Parker writer
Nilesh S. Mahadik letterer
Sheetal Tanji Patil colorist
|Post rewarded by Ojay on Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:31 pm.
|Nice reviewed! 5 WRZ$ reward. Thanks Zach!