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Escapists #3

Posted: Friday, September 15, 2006
By: Martijn Form



Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Jason S. Alexander, Steve Rolston

Publisher: Dark Horse


Plot: A young boy discovers The Escapist and decides to bring the hero back to life through comics.

Comments: "If you are not on board this one. Catch up and start reading." That was my final comment for The Escapists #2.

And I still stand by it. The series get better and better. The story telling is some of the best I have seen in some time. Brian K. Vaughan is such a master of making believable characters, itís almost real literature.

I believe in the medium of comics and graphic novels. You can put so much depth in a story by working with art and words. Iíve said it before but have to say it again: If Alan Moore is the Emperor of comic writing, Vaughan is definitely the new King. This guy understands comics. He lives and breathes them and pushes the boundaries of this medium.

This book isnít just made for mature readers, but if you are one, you get more out of the totality of the story.

There is a lot going on in this series, but itís all executed through a very nice laid back pace. The attraction between Maxwell Roth and Case Weaver is so real. You have to love Max for being him. Just an ordinary kid who lost his father, which is a real tragedy by itself. But out of this misfortune, there is also a bright side. Max discovers his fatherís obsession with the comic character The Escapist. So now the young boy has a goal for his being.

With the money he gets from his father's death he buys the rights to The Escapist. I think this is a great gesture in honour of his father. Although the death of his father isnít a major theme in the book, itís played out in an amazingly subtle and effective way. Vaughan handles this element of the story in a literary manner. And that to me is a big plus for comics as a medium. Alan Moore's Watchman is considered literature, and it definitely is. Itís not just entertainment; itís more than that, and so is Vaughanís writing.

When Case and Max break into the newspaper office in the first pages, Vaughan provides some information about Cleveland. The captions provide some nice info about the newspaper, which works very well with the exciting scene of breaking into a office building. It doesnít slow down the story but gives the scene extra strength.

The masks they are wearing made of the hoods of their sweatshirts is so amazing that I want to make a zipper in my hood. When the team finally receives a review for their The Escapist #1 comic book, it is not what they expected. At least it's not what Max expected. Itís a bad review and drops like bomb. Max talks directly to the readers and explains in a philosophical way that ďa complete stranger telling other complete strangers that something youíve been carrying inside you for months is stillborn.Ē

This for me is so dead on for most critics. Most comics need more than a month of production time by its creative team. Letís not even address the amount of production time need to create a movie. And a critic watches that movie for..., letís say two hours, and writes his article in about three hours. Does that seem right for someone who can make or break a movie? Let alone comics? It took me 45 minutes to write this review. So does this writing do any justice to a comic book that took at least a month to produce? I find this interesting to think about, especially when I read how the criticism pained Maxís heart.

Obviously, a lot of love is put into the production of this book. The way Case teaches Max to ink is done with so much care for the story and characters. The art of that scene is pure ink that flows into the pages with final colors. This is innovative. This is making the best use of the comic book medium.

So far there have been three great issues of The Escapists; let the next three be even better.



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