Syndication edited by Nik Havert

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Ah, the anthology.  Practically always a mish-mash of good and bad, but it is one of the few places where you find new voices (or, in this case, new teamings) doing different things.  To me a 75% success rate in these things is all I hope for, and I define "success" as either a genuinely great story or something that looks like the people involved have some serious potential.  This one, I think, cleared that hurdle.  It starts off with a genuinely thoughtful introduction by Ben Avery, in which he honestly lays out all the reasons why anthologies aren't popular and don't "work" (but why he loves them anyway) and then follows up with a peek into the basic contradiction at the heart of most artists.  Note to anthology editors: an intro like this works wonders, as I was curious to see how these people worked together after he described some of the issues in getting these pieces in and how some of these people will probably work together in the future... and some of them certainly won't.  First up is a piece by Jedediah Walls  and Gloria Hollier, dealing with the nature of narrative sequence and comics as art.  Things get much more traditional from there, as mostly everything else is monster or superhero-related, starting with The Ballad of Dr. Ecula by Alan Schell and Jamie Hood.  This is a surprisingly moving piece about two foes and their constant struggle, and how the villain deals with it after he finally gets the upper hand and kills the hero.  Kelly Heying and Ron Schell Jr. are up next with a fairly standard piece about a former crook turning hero after his child is born, which is followed by a piece by Nik Havert and Ryan Sargent (in what is probably the best looking piece of the bunch) dealing with a young girl and her quest for revenge.  This shows her first time out on her own, trying to kill 6 Spaniards in the early 16th century.  Ben Avery and Mike Murphy follow this with a confusing piece (probably because the format shifted to sideways art and the binding of this book makes it tough to see tops of pages that way) about trying to kill what appears to be an alien.  Jon Kulczar then has a thoroughly random two page story where his characters mostly complain about the tiny amount of pages they get and can't seem to figure out what to do with it.  Christopher Penzenik and Joey Allen are next with a story about a man who sacrifices himself for his tribe and in the process becomes a giant evil monster... who still seems to have pieces of the good guy left.  Finally there's Tim Kelly's Bunnyman, which was thoroughly baffling.  I tried flipping through it again, but there's a hero (Bunnyman), a princess who's in some sort of distress (who is saved by induced vomiting (?)) and a monster that seems giant in certain panels and the same size as Bunnyman in others.  Seeing all these stories laid out like this it's possible I was too optimistic in thinking this passed the 75% test, but it's close if it didn't quite make it.  Bonus points for that intro too, so I'll give it to them.


Price: $4.99

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