Sunday, June 8, 2014

Date with a Book

Date with a Book




Kelly Sue DeConnick (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) and Emma Rios (Dr. Strange, Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. This mystic western is full of unusual images and portents. It requires patience and a willing imagination to appreciate, although the base elements-a mysterious, blind old man traveling with a girl with different colored eyes; a grizzled gunman ambushed in a whore's bedroom; a vigilante woman become legend-are familiar enough. Others, like the rabbit skeleton narrating to a butterfly, are just odd. Ginny, the daughter of Death, anchors the fable, which is full of women driven as mothers and daughters. The whole thing is like a tarot card (imagery that is also used), providing suggestive images that must be interpreted. The book requires at least two readings: the first just to learn who everyone is, the second to understand what's going on. It's ambitious and challenging (two qualities that are not often valued, but that probably should be), under a facade of violence and sacrifice. Rios's art is lush and detailed, and is more than capable of keeping up with the far-reaching story.

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