Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I bought this five issue miniseries for one reason and one reason only--Sam Kieth's name was attached to the project. The anticipation of being able to see his art on a creater owned and created property once again had me drooling from the moment I read the solicitations many, many months ago. As each issue came in, I looked fondly at the cover and put it away in my to read box, waiting for the last issue to arrive so I could sit down and read it all in one sitting. When that moment finally came, I opened the book with expectations that, in retrospect, I probably set way too high.

You see, only some of the art is by Kieth. The majority of the art is done by Chris Wisnia, whose style really isn't even that similar to Kieth's. Wisnia's art resembles the style you'd usually see in a Top Shelf book--simple black and white character sketching. Comparing the Wisnia panels to the Kieth panels made the story feel uncomfortably two sided. I can see that Kieth might have been wanting the story to take on an artistic duality, but I don't think it worked simply because there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which panels Kieth would do and which Wisnia would. If you asked me, it looked as if Wisnia went through drawing the entire story and gave it to Kieth who looked through it, finding panels he thought he could draw in his unique style, and replacing them with his own sketches.

The story also wasn't quite as weird as I thought it would be, considering it was written by Kieth. A little girl finds a weird little monster who she takes care of and whose mother she feeds. The mother resides in a pipe down a short distance from the little girl's house. A good portion of the story doesn't actually deal with the little monster ("Little Ojo") and its mother ("Ojo), but instead focuses on the little girl's family life. She lives with her sister and grandpa in a seemingly rundown house. The sister hates our main character and lives to make her life a living hell. The grandfather just lets it happen thinking it's a way for them to vent over the loss of their mother and the fact that their dad ran off and probably won't be coming back any time soon.

There's a few off-beat and trippy moments that scream out Kieth's style, but for the most part (other than the inclusion of the two monsters) this is a very traditional style story of family drama and a little girl's search for closure over her mother's death. Seeing dead animals singing to our little girl lead in what I'm hoping is her imagination was odd, which is good, but it also felt somewhat forced, like Kieth somehow realized his story was too normal so he needed to thrown in some random crazy crap.

The story is a good read, don't get me wrong, but if you were going to buy this series just for Kieth's art, then you'll be pretty disappointed. Once I got over the fact that Kieth's art would only be found sparsely throughout the story, I found I actually quite enjoyed it, dead singing animals and all!

Art: 3
Story: 3.5
Overall: 3.5

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