Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crater XV

This sequel to Far Arden picks up on the exploits of Army Shanks, who is equal parts government agent, roustabout, explorer, and Popeye. In this book, his tale involves him running into a woman who may or may not be his lost love from his orphanage days.These days she is running with some wayward Russians who may be about to launch a rocket from their ship (or they might be dangerous smugglers). Add to this situation 15-year-old Wendy who just wants to get off of Earth via a top secret Canadian space expedition project, a bunch of government agents, and a couple of ragged and worn astronauts, and what results is a book that covers a whole lot of ground, but does it artfully, with a sense of humor and adventure.
The characters are strongly depicted, full of emotion, history, conviction, and longing, but most impressive is the artwork and how it conveys action, movement, and the surrounding environment in such a fulsome manner. It also combines words with pictures in innovative and arresting ways. This cartoon world is so realized and lively that it propels the narrative like a rocket.
This book's creator Kevin Cannon has a growing number of impressive works under his belt, including the collaborations with Zander Cannon (no relation) Evolution, The Stuff of Life, T-Minus, Bone-Sharps, Cowboys, &; Thunder Lizards, and the electronic comic anthology Double Barrel where this story was first serialized.  His art and storytelling are exemplars of economy, wit, and energy.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been overwhelming in their praise. Seth T. Hahne frankly stated, "I love these books more than I love the vast majority of comics that I love." Publishers Weekly wrote, "Few cartoonists know better the meeting place between grief, humor, and adventure like Cannon, and this second Shanks story is further proof of his abilities as a storyteller." Greg Burgas called it "better than its predecessor." Mike Young rated it 10/10, and Jeremy Nisen raved, "Nothing in the comics canon (pardon the pun) currently merits a higher recommendation in this reviewer's opinion."

A preview and much more is available here from the book's publisher Top Shelf.

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