Dead but Dreaming by: Alex Link (writer), Riley Rossmo (art) & Nick Johnson (colors)
Reflections by: Christopher E. Long (writer), Rossmo & Jean-Paul Csuka (art and colors)
Te vas Angel Mio by: Dirk Manning (writer), Rossmo (art) & Megan Wilson (colors)
The Story: An anthology revolving around the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Quick Review: Anthologies are always interesting: You take the “good” with the “meh” and hope that the parts you enjoy are enough to justify the price-tag ($4.99 in this case). This issue has three tales involving the afterlife and it probably makes sense to touch on them in order….
- Dead but Dreaming – This is the story of a young Latin woman who takes an annual trip into the spirit realm to visit her dead mother. It wasn’t a story that resonated with me because I’m not a young, Latin woman and by parents are both alive, but I’ve heard a lot of internet commentators enjoyed this story immensely. The art is typically strong Rossmo linework, but I don’t love how it is colored. Rossmo is such a powerfully messy artist and this coloring is too soft. The linework also looks a little cleaned up and I’m not sure if that’s just how Rossmo drew it for this story of if the colorist made things neat when he digitally colored it. Still, there are a couple of awesome images in this, especially a double-pager of this sexy, tattooed Latin woman riding a devilish motorcycle through hell. Wow! Grade: B
- Reflections – This was my least favorite story of the bunch for three reasons. One, the story seemed more “horror” than “Day of the Dead”. This was the type of story I’d like to find in Creepy. Two, the story didn’t have any Mexican vibe at all. That’s kinda an important element to a Dia de Los Muertos comic, right? Third, the art just wasn’t as sharp (Rossmo shared art duties on this one). Grade: C
- Te vas Angel Mio – THIS was the story that made the purchase of the comic worthwhile for me! For one thing, this story actually had a Mexican flavor to it. The tale is a touching one of a young Mexican musician who is mourning the death of his love. At a performance on the Day of the Dead he sees a girl who looks like his lost love in the crowd and has a very interesting encounter with her. Everything about this story was perfect. The story is thematically appropriate and very touching….it just feels Mexican. They even make frequent use of bilingual word balloons. But, the thing that puts it over the top is the art. My god, does this story look great. The linework is Rossmo at his messy and frenzied best; nobody has tidied anything up and it’s better that way. I’ve almost always complained about the way Rossmo’s work tends to be colored and other colorists need to pay attention: Megan Wilson has figured out how to do it. The trick is that she’s using all these bright, bold and aggressive colors: bright purple, bold teal, aggressive oranges, hard whites, etc. With Rossmo’s strong linework, less bold colors just get blown off the page. This WORKS! This is the type of art that has me checking original art prices online while typing the review. Grade: A
Conclusion: I’ve heard other internet commentators appreciate different aspects of this issue, but for me the star was the finale which features a touching story and stunning art.
Grade: B+ (How does one average out the scores?)
– Dean Stell