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Neno, Michael – The Signifiers #1


The Signifiers #1

Jack Kirby, eat your heart out.  That sampled page below, the cover, the first fantastic page of this book (a close-up of a screaming man, so close that you can make out his back teeth), everything you look at screams Kirby while still sticking to a very clear (if a little hazy to the reader) vision.  There are three stories in this book, and I’m starting at the back for reasons that’ll be clear in a minute.  Last up is the story of the heat-seeking dwarf (the sampled image), who is held captive by a mysterious group and eventually makes his way free to a hippie commune.  In the middle of the comic is a tale of invasion, giant guns and sudden love, all told in a different format (panel-wise) than the other pieces, and it’s the only piece in here that can be read by itself with any hope of understanding fully what’s going on.  Finally there’s the bulk of the comic, the main story of the Signifiers.  It turns out this story started in Reactionary Tales #1, which Michael put out something like 5 years ago, so forgive me if I’m a little hazy on how that connects to this issue.  This story is a mess, but that’s mostly because we’re still mostly without context in this first issue.  He very clearly has a master plan here (he stops the story briefly to map out the important parties, something that may have made more sense at the start of the comic, but who am I to judge?), and I’m happy to be along for the ride.  What we do see in this issue is a society of freaks, a peace rally (in which a young woman gets transformed into a dog creature), some thugs try to exert their will with varying degrees of success, a mysterious Voyst is referenced several times, and a mysterious man in bandages becomes real.  Like I said, it was a bit tough to follow (although if I wasn’t still in moving transition and could locate that older issue it might help), but I could stare at this art for days, and as long as Michael knows what he’s doing a little confusion from the reader in the first issue isn’t the worst thing in the world.  He also has a letter’s page where he addresses some of the more confusing elements and shows that he does have a plan, and has no intention of letting so much time lapse between issues this time around.  Sounds good to me, but forgive me if I’ve gotten a bit cynical about that claim over the 8+ years I’ve been running this site…  $4.95