Written by Serge Lehman, Fabrice Colin | Art by Gess | Published by Titan Comics
This so far has been a book that is doing ok, but one that I desperately want to up its game and be outstanding. Is has all the pieces in place, it just hasn’t quite clicked for me yet. Tons of great ideas floating around, some great characters and an interesting premise should all combine nicely into a masterpiece. Instead so far we’ve had a decent indie hit, nothing more. I do love the alt-Earth this takes place on in the 1930′s, the realism given to the reasons why a superhuman class arose, and the nods and winks to the real Golden Age, especially in the look of some characters. Speaking of characters, there are rather too many running around for my taste at the moment, hard to keep tabs on all of them.
The first several pages of this issue focus on The Eye, the more than slightly shady protector of Paris, capturing The Elastic Man, who escaped from Irene Curie’s Radium Institute last issue. The Eye is not very happy with the Institute, after they tried a snatch and grab mission into his HQ last issue, when The Man Who Walks Through Walls tried to free the imprisoned Cockroach. It failed, but The Eye knows who did it. We shift to catch up with George Spad (a writer who seemingly gets advice from mysterious voices) who has located Dr Severac, a man who spent 16 years in a coma in the Institute, and someone she hopes can help her find information to pass back to The Eye, who has hired her to dig up dirt on Curie and The Institute.
Not a great time then for old time villain Cagliostro to appear, and use his mind controlling powers to try and get a lot of Parisians to strangle each other, including Spad and Severac. Now Palmyra, a witch who seems to be on the right side, arrives to defeat Cagliostro, who it seems was sent by Dr Missbrauch, currently taking over parts of Europe to create his superhuman state. A revelation at the very end seems to show that Dr Severac is more important than first assumed. The nightmares he has, and had while in a coma, featured characters who are alive now in the real world. What’s the connection? Did he create them? was he used?
This issue pretty much continues the trend of the last two. It is interesting and mostly keeps your attention, but is also very frustrating, assumes too much of the reader, and throws characters in, and takes them away, with abandon. It really does feel more like a graphic novel which should be read as one, as the monthly episodic format does not suit it with the amount of people and events to remember. That being said, it’s very cleverly done, well written, and well dialogued. So, technically impressive but creatively a bit muddled.
Artist Gess again does a great job cramming in all the things he has to, which can be considerably dense at times, and actually helping make sense of it all visually. It helps his style of Mignola-lite is very pleasing on the eye too. The downside is that he rarely cuts to cut loose with larger panels, so you need to do a bit of squinting here and there to appreciate some of those thumbnail size panels.
This is not a book you can pick up, read for five minutes, then toss aside. It requires a degree of concentration that is quite refreshing these days, as some books just consist of pin-up ages and can be read in a few minutes. The negative to that is that it needs you to want to invest your time, and at the moment is a little too uneven to be definitely worthy of your time.
Plenty of potential, needs to be converted into genuine readability.
The Chimera Brigade #3 is out now from Titan Comics