Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fell vol. 1 - Feral City

...the 1st volume of Fell, by Warren Ellis & Ben Templesmith

Rich is lost in the misty land across the bridge, with only Dick the nun and a cute pack of dogs to help him retu…no wait.

What it would be if it wasn’t what it is: a new serial by HBO, set in a city bleaker than Baltimore, weirder than Bon Temps, deadlier than Deadwood.

The first (and only) volume of Fell was published by Image Comics on 2007. A long while back. So what’s the point of reviewing it now? In the optimistic event that you care about it, the answer is threefold: I) because it’s grungy atmosphere makes it a perfect follow-up to last week review, II) because I still hope there will be a sequel, and III) because it’s very, very Cool.

The Plot: gifted detective Richard Fell gets transferred for some unknown reasons to the city of Snowtown, a not-so-sunny place that it’s a noir nut’s dream come true but a living hell for anybody else. It’s an urban nightmare compared with Ciudad Ju├írez seems like The Shire. Right from the start Rich assumes the part of the paladin, a role he accepts, a role he wants, a role you sense he needs. His Sherlockian attention to details and his ability to read people make him extremely good at solving the crimes he encounters in every issue, a thing he likes to point out to whoever is near. And his bright blond hair makes him the only natural source of light in the city.

The Cast: apart from Rich and Snowtown (the two main protagonists, and rivals, of the book), the only character with real depth is Maiko, the Vietnamese girl who runs Idiot’s Bar and brands Rich on the neck with the town’s protective “tag”, a crossed S. The others are one-dimensional but wonderfully characterized, as in the best pulp stories. The people at the precinct are perfect examples: there’s Lt. Beard, who takes a lot of pills and reads the Necronomicon; Violet the secretary, whose husband left her for a dog; and there’s the coroner, whose tomatoes keep falling into open corpses.

The Authors: Ellis & Templesmith doing a noir story is pure gold. They blend together like smoke in the water, like Lovecraft and Cthulhu, like Stockton to Malone, like a Hibiki 21 year old whisky. Warren Ellis writing is sharp as ever, and his dialogues are gritty and funny while never being too over the top. You can see the direction in which a chapter is going, but it doesn’t prevent you to enjoy watching it unfold. Ben Templesmith’s art is blurry and greasy and perfect. The small panels, the backgrounds made of colored smoke, the twisted faces and the gnarled hands, all partake in creating a sensation of uneasiness, of being in an infernal limbo.

Of living in a Feral City.

Coolness Factor: 6 out of 7

Top Three Ways I would not Like to Die:

3-by having scotch enemas shoved up my ass. I like you too, Mr. Johnnie Walker, just not in that  way;

2-by having someone else’s turds injected in my veins. Well, I'm sure I don't really need to explain this;

1-by having the foetus of my child removed with a knife. I’ll be already annoyed, I believe, by my being a man and  pregnant; add this cutting out thing and it seems a little too much.

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