Monday, April 30, 2012

Any Empire by Nate Powell YP FIC POWELL

Stuck in a small town, a group of kids look anywhere for escape.  Sometimes this escape is the hyper violent fantasy of daydreams of war and conquest and sometimes it is casual cruelty.  When this leads to the a series of turtles being tortured, one girl vows to find the culprits leading to a spiraling series of events that will tear apart siblings, bring together friends, and lead to a final confrontation years later that could save or doom them all.  

This is a bizarre and brutally accurate look at the horrors of the average adolescence.  Boredom, apathy, cruelty, isolation, loneliness, confusion, and sadness are all commonplace and unchanging.  Powell is an amazing artist and storyteller.  His Swallow Me Whole is an equally frightening look at the dark side of adolescence and his artwork on The Silence of Our Friends is equally stunning.  For the first 90% of this book I was thinking it might just be his masterpiece.  It’s powerful, honest, and raw and pushes the story slowly, but very well.  Unfortunately, the last pages introduce an inexplicable twist from realism to a science fiction parable that ends without a resolution and left me looking back many times to see if I lost some pages that would make any sense of it.  And then the story sort of just ends.  It’s all very avant garde and surreal and very confusing.  I found the sudden surreal ending of Swallow Me Whole much more fitting and actually understandable, so this one does disappoint a bit with the ending.  However, there is a lot that does work with Any Empire and some readers may like the pure weirdness of the ending.  I definitely recommend it for fans of comics as a true artistic medium, just not as enthusiastically as I recommended Swallow Me Whole.

Check out my reviews of Swallow Me Whole here, The Silence of Our Friends here, and check our catalog for Any Empire here.

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