Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Digital Visions #4 review



Digital Visions is a new anthology from Visionary Comics spotlighting up and coming talent. This is my first issue, so let's see if I can just jump past the 'sexy' cover by Mike Bunt and right into the stories ...

  • Leading off the book is Cabra Cini, Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman. Not much explanation needed here, the clue's in the title, but if we need any more there's a helpful recap on the contents page. Basically, hooker Cabra Cini killed her pimp boyfriend with voodoo magic and has a new addiction, one she's using for good. Here she battles a gauntlet of nether nasties to pass through a dimension in order to reach a lost soul. Writer Sam Johnson is careful to spell out just how his angry heroine works her ritual magic (I've never seen Dr Strange use a tampon in his spells!) to enter the Infinity dimension, but once she's there it's kick-assery, magical weapons and trash talk all the way. It's good, visceral fun, meatily illustrated (and lettered) by Bruno Letizia and moodily coloured by Rodrigo Diaz. 
  • Gangland Avalon isn't your usual Goodfellas piece, as it's set in a world where guns are less important than charms. The story, which opens with a cute gag, sees a tense powwow between two crime families take a predictable, but surprising, turn ... The characters are introduced by writer A David Lewis in a leisurely, yet attention-grabbing manner, and the story makes me want to see more of the feud between the Moores and the Cavalieres. The art by Michael Angelo Lee and Chuck Bordell is pleasingly detailed, and sharply coloured by Gonzalo Duarte, while Jacob Bascle's lettering is rather gorgeous. The only thing I didn't like was the naming of three characters as Lois, Perry and Luther (sic). Distracting, that
  • Deity just isn't my cup of tea at all. It's a spin on the old story of a young girl discovering a mystical birthright, but where some versions (DC's Amethyst, say) have charm, this left me cold. The cranky lead character, Jamie, speaks a language I can only describe as Basketball ('Why are you trying to step to me?). Her whiny beau has apparently swallowed a gangsta rap record ('Tonight's gonna be dope'). And an annoying Exposition Demon gives us his master's life story in tortuous detail. The contents page describes this tale as 'picking up where the first Deity series left off' when it seems to be recapping the whole thing. I'm all for making a strip reader-friendly, but a massive infodump is simply offputting. Hopefully writers Karl Altstaetter and Robert Naplon will stop trying so hard, relax into their story and just have fun telling us something new - plonk the barest details of the back story in a splash page legend, maybe. The art, by Altstaetter with inker Victor Olazaba, assistant Michael O'Hare, and colourists Brian Buccellato & Derek Bellman, is eye-catchingly intense. It reminds me of J Scott Campbell without the tartiness. I'd be interested to hear what more 'urban' readers reckon to Deity - fantastical elements apart, does the dialogue ring true?
Do do that voodoo that she do so well
All in all, Digital Visions is an interesting experiment containing some promising work, and as you can download it for free, I certainly recommend a read. The contributors deserve credit for trying to make the instalments accessible, and hopefully they'll get better at this with time, and a steady editorial hand. For now, give it a try.

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