Iím not sure what exactly is going on in this series, but itís still a fascinating read. The plot, as much of it as there is, concerns a deaf boy who apparently has magical powers that allow people to experience moments in the lives of their loved ones. Or something like that; itís not especially clear at this point. Rather, the comic is more focused on those moments, the way people experience them, and what they mean in their lives. This issue, we see a girl named Tricia get molested by one of her male friends and a boy named Jimmy have trouble understanding what it means when some uniformed men arrive at his house to inform his mother that his father was killed overseas by friendly fire. It turns out that these two are a couple as adults, and due to the deaf boyís powers, they are either experiencing each otherís memories or reliving them and bringing more understanding to their lives.
Thereís also what appears to be some forward movement to the plot, as a local reverend sees the recent events as a miracle and plans to do something about it. What this is remains to be seen, but for now, the focus is definitely on the effects of the boyís powers. Hagler turns in some amazing artistic work here, blending several styles, from realism to impressionism, and itís fascinating to watch what heís doing. The bit about Tricia being molested sees him depict her as smaller than her older friends (especially the offending party), and while she is drawn fairly realistically, they are all strangely distorted, with disproportionate heads and elongated bodies, as she might see them in her memory. When the incident occurs, it starts as a kiss which quickly becomes disturbing, as the boy slobbers all over her and seems to put her whole head in his mouth, before their bodies start melting together in a disturbing manner. Itís an effective way of showing how emotional trauma can distort our recall of events.
The same is true of the scene in which Jimmy gets the news of his fatherís demise. His mother (who refuses to answer the door, preferring to get any news about her husband over the phone) is shown as towering over him, emphasizing the way parents seem so big and important to children. When Jimmy answers the door, the soldiers bearing the news seem like strange, sad men, and we only see snippets of their message, words like ďheroĒ, ďfreedomĒ, or ďgratefulĒ isolated in plaque-like balloons and written in fancy script. Itís horribly sad, and through Haglerís expressionistic art, we can feel the resulting emotions right alongside Jimmy and his mother.
So, while itís not exactly an easy series to follow (in the sense of grand plot), itís still a beautiful read, giving a poetic look at human existence thatís unique among pretty much any comic out there. Hagler is an amazing artist, and even if I never fully understand what heís doing here, Iíll be glad Iíve gotten to read it.
What did you think of this book?
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