Thursday, August 16, 2007

REVIEW :: Multiple Warheadz #1

written & illustrated by Brandon Graham
reviewed by Dan Morris

I read a review of a recent science fiction film where the critic basically said that as a genre sci-fi had a habit of borrowing from its past in a way that often created works that were wholly original. That idea came to mind as I read first issue of Brandon Graham's series Multiple Warheadz for Oni Press. Reading the book, the art reminded me of the work of artists as disparate as Paul Pope, character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (FLCL), and even Moebius. It all boils together to create this weirdly satisfying concoction that I think is one of the sleeper books of the summer.

The basic gist of the book is that it takes place on a world ravaged by the fallout from a universe where werewolves and aliens have been fighting a war and apparently it's still going on or it's ended and no one knows who won. The book however doesn't deal with that mystery instead it deals with the character Sexica (yeah this isn't a book for kids) who smuggles organs in and out of her unnamed city. Sexica has a boyfriend, makes business deals with an alien that looks sort of like it came out of a Miyazaki film, and then she and her boyfriend leave the city after a massive spaceship crashes into their apartment. Oh and there's a dream where the boyfriend is a wolf because of he's had a piece of the wolf's anatomy grafted on to him. That's the basics of the book plot wise.

What makes this book stand out for me are the little details and visual puns that pop up from time to time which create this weird little world that I don't mind visiting. There's a massive Mao Zedong statue in the opening of the book with the graphitti "Mao and Later" spray painted on it. Instead of land mines on the outer edges of the city for defense they use "land minds", which are these brains in jars that shoot lasers. The smart car in the book is literally a car that can think on its own. There are a lot of references to Communist leaders and Communist propaganda seems to pepper the world that these characters inhabit. Graham has a real knack for world building. As I mentioned a lot of this feels familiar but the book really stands out as its own creation. This is a world that seems almost fully realized from the wintry landscape to the mentions of various other locales on the planet to even the mentioning of off planet places the couple has been to...

Multiple Warheads #1 is a weird little book that seems to operate on its own wavelength. That's why I like it though. I think this is a really strong debut from a relatively new artist. Graham in the back mentions that he wants to make each one of these books self contained kind of adventure stories and I look forward to each future issue.

1 comment:

Rich Barrett said...

This and Graham's recent Tokyopop book "King City" are two of my favorite books of the year.