Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Metal Between Two Faces No. 1

By Michael Lomon

In serialized fiction you've got to figure out how to break your story into satisfying pieces. Each part could potentially be someone's first, but the most important part is the first. You have to get the key players on the page, explain the plot, and hook the reader to make them come back for more. This can be hard to do when you're working with limited pages, and is the major stumbling block of this comic.

The thirteen pages presented here did manage to convey that the story is set in some sort of horrible dystopian city filled with robots, radition contamination zones, and killer mutants (exciting!), but failed to really tell me what the story is going to be about. Is it a romance set against the backdrop of this strange city? Is it a crime mystery with certain characters (but which ones?) trying to track down a murderer? Will there be a rebellion against the dictitatorial rule that seems to exist? Some combination of the above? Something completely different?

There are definitely things I liked about this comic (who doesn't enjoy a good mutant-robot muder mystery?), but I can't help but think that if this first chapter had twice as many pages to set the scene it would have worked far better (and perhaps I would have understood what happened on that last page).

Artwise Metal Between Two Faces differs rather radically from the background-lacking comic I reviewed yesterday, as almost every piece of the page is covered with drawings. Scenes set outside feature massive buildings in the backgrounds, while those inside feature densely crosshatched walls and crossword style floors. The gutters between panels are solid black and rarely straight, while speech bubbles are jammed into corners and sometimes cover up artwork. This makes everything flow together, and at times it can be a bit hard to concentrate on one specific area of the drawing. Still, the larger images manage to convey the busy, chaotic city that the story takes place in and are quite nice to look at.

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