Today’s saturday stuff is a comic book review. I’ve been trying to refine what Saturday Stuff is, and I’ve decided it is a neat little platform for reviews. This review is of PLB comics’ latest: The Fall, Vengeance and Justice #4. (Not for kids! A lot of nudity, blood, violence and cursing.)
Who is the fall?
He’s a masked vigilante who shoots people in the name of justice and vengeance. Beyond that your guess is as good as mine.
Its strength is its weakness.
The Fall #4 is a confusing read for the uninitiated, but that is to be expected for those who are jumping into a series four comics in. This lack of familiarity isn’t the only thing that leads to an air of confusion, the Fall is confusing because it isn’t a single, concise, 30 page story. Let me clarify: The Fall #4, like the others in the series, is made up of a series of six, four page snapshots of different stories. Some of these are stand alone, some of these are starting points to a new story, and some are continuations of a previous story. This causes the book to have a confusing identity, but perhaps this is the point. I’ll voice my opinion on this towards the end of the review, for now I’d like to review each story within the comic.
Everybody wants to be a rock star when they grow up…
This is the weakest of the stories, at least to the uninitiated. You get some background on one character, but then the narrative skips to a different character, who does something for reasons seemingly unconnected with the first character, and then the Fall comes in and it says “to be continued.” Its hard to review it on these four pages alone, as I feel the rest of the story will connect the events. For now my review on this part will be “to be continued.”
Talking in the dark: Strangers Pt 2
While the first story left me confused, this one left me desperately wanting more, especially after I began to connect some dots. Even as a part two you realize right away what is happening: a serial killer is stringing women up and calling out the Fall. I also noticed an American flag on the wall of one of the characters, a glaring bit of detail for usually undetailed backgrounds, not important to this story but I recognized another one in a different story at someone else’s house. Review: I want the fall #5 just for answers to this story.
This story really shows how tight of a grasp Josh Shockley has on his character. It is the one story of the bunch he didn’t write, and it shows. If Shockley has any weakness, its that there aren’t enough pages in the book to tell his story. Masks, written by others, actually finishes a story, but the writing seems… off. The plot is spot on, and it really shows what the Fall is really about, but the dialogue doesn’t seem to fit the situation. The plot is great though, and the ending is well worth the read. Review: “Sorry *bleep*, but I’ve gotta go, smell ya later!” I can forgive, simply because of the awesome explosion that happens after.
Voodoo Child: Part 2: And She Was.
The most beautiful full page layout is in this comic. It’s an awesome read and fitting for the centerfold. I love the pacing between the dialogue, I love the insight into the two characters that it focuses on, I love the art, I love seeing the American flag in the Fall’s room and saying “Ah ha! I know who the fall is!” And then realizing that I don’t later. I hate that it’s to be continued. Review: Same as Talking in the Dark. I need more.
Drugs are the only way to explain this comic. Well, that’s why most of the comic is what it is. The art is great, the story is crazy, and the ending gives you some insight into the Fall. Review: Crazy. Good crazy? Bad crazy? I’ll let you judge.
Shoot to Thrill: Strangers Pt 3.
The continuation of “Talking in the Dark” gives some answers to the earlier story, but I can’t help but feel that it is more of an aside than a continuation. I think it would have been stronger if it had directly followed part 2, but it keeps my interest up for the end of the Strangers story. Review: Not as good as “Talking in the Dark”, but it has answers, sweet, juicy answers.
The writer of The Fall has admitted to me that he doesn’t even know for sure who the fall is, which means he can sneak as many clues in as he wants about who his identity is and I can think I’m all smart until he says “nope” and pulls a 180. The point here is that the Fall can be anyone, or no one. His story doesn’t matter as much as those around him, which is why the books design works in a metaphorical way. While a single story in the comic would be less confusing, I think the tone the author wants to set is one of confusion. The Fall’s biggest strength is that his identity, motives, and story are confusing, and the book does well to instill that feeling. In the end I liked the book. I loved parts of it. I disliked others. The art is all different. Even the writing changes up. Final review? Read it, at some point in time. I’m really enjoying seeing where the series is going, and I’ll be first on the preorder list if they ever do a graphic novel compiling the best ones, or even the full stories.