It has been a little while since I have reviewed an indie comic. It’s not that I’m not out there buying them and reading them, there have just been other issues on my mind and sometimes I get selfish when I choose a writing topic. Today, I’m getting back to my roots. I am going to put off a couple of my Marvel reviews that I wanted to do this week, because something really unique has found its way to me.
Have I mentioned I love my job?
A friend referred writer Mike Speakman to me, who, despite his lack of love for Ke$ha, is a very kind, talented, and funny person. He has created a comic called Carmen, which is co-written by Aharon Claridge, illustrated by Matt Kyme, with colors and cover art by Matty Taylor. I have just finished issue one, and I have a lot of thoughts that I would like to share with you.
Now, I am going to be careful not to spoil anything for you, as I am a huge hater of spoilers myself, but I can’t promise anything.
Carmen is the story of a woman who has recently lost someone close to her by the name of Brody Sinclair. The nature of their relationship is romantic, but this, along with many things in this first issue, is cryptic. The head of King-Dom Come Industries, Mr. King, has need of Sinclair’s body, and is having it transferred to the lab in his building. While trying to get the body ready for a seemingly sinister purpose, it is dropped and there is damage done to the brain. It is clear by Mr. King’s reaction that the brain is important, and in order to fix the problem, they need to find someone who was close to Sinclair to help with a memory transfer. And so the big bad go after Carmen, the only person that they could pull out of Sinclair’s memories.
There is no explanation as to why they need the body, what they are going to do with it, (other than the fact that they want his memories) and why Sinclair in particular is so important. This makes for a bold choice by the writers, but I personally think this makes sense. They are throwing you into their world, no water wings to keep you afloat, and it is truly unapologetic. This is the way to entice people to read further issues of a series. Don’t give away any big secrets, give your readers just enough to get them asking questions and needing to know what happens next. The first issue delivers this perfectly.
We DO get a little glimpse of what might be going on towards the end of the issue, when we meet Lucas. This is where I was afraid to toe the line between spoiler and teaser. So I’m just going to leave it at that. But Lucas’s appearance does give the reader some idea of what Mr. King has planned, in a roundabout way.
The story itself is unique, which is really refreshing in comics. A lot of scripts seem to be formulaic these days, and it’s nice to read something that I can’t figure out in the first few pages. Mike and Aharon did a great job of delivering plot and characters, while withholding key information to be unfurled in later issues.
What I also found so unique about this book is how textured the art is. The walls, the ground…hell, you can even see the grain of the wood table in Carmen’s home. This is something that really caught my eye and made me inspect every panel, looking for more. While the style is simplistic, there is a level of depth here that impressed me.
Speaking of panels, the placement of the panels on some of the pages in this book really stood out as singular to me, as well as the thick borders that surround them. The second and third pages of the book have to be my favorite panel layouts, but overall the entire book keeps from being a typical, cookie cutter presentation. I love to see people take traditional layouts and turn them into something fresh.
I enjoyed this book, even if I am left with a million questions. Stories should incite something in the reader that pulls them forward, deeper into the story, and that is exactly what you will find here in issue one. Unique is a word that I have used a few times in this article, and I stick by that statement. If you are looking to read something that has a very distinct style, in both art and writing, you should be reading Carmen.
Issues one and two are available on Drivethrucomics.com
Check out the some of the other wonderful titles by Source Point Press here.