Myth, magic and the most disturbing use of the Electra Complex that I have ever seen come together into a most unforgettable book…
Previously In Shame: When the kindest woman on earth allows herself one selfish wish, it is enough to conceive the most dangerous woman the world has ever seen. This classic fantasy tale of good vs evil, mother vs daughter vs mother as Virtue gets Shame, the child she wished for and has to deal with the consequences.
Oh. My. God.
I will probably say this at least ten more times throughout this review and if you take one thing away from what you have read, it should be this: Shame is the most visually stunning book I have ever seen.
I do not use that lightly, because I have seen some pretty art in my time, but this takes comic art and elevates it far above what you usually see. This is full watercolour art work that is then over inked to create a combination of traditional art and comic art which will be my new benchmark in quality in the future. This combines near photo referenced people with twisted landscapes, horrible shades and demonic entities to produce something that is at the same time enticing and horrible, believable and impossible. I realise I am over stressing this almost to the point of parody, but it really is that good.
If you have no other interest in this series, just pick it up if you see it in a comic shop and I guarantee that it will invoke a response from you. I am not saying this is for everyone, but everyone will have an opinion on it, it is impossible to sit on the fence with something this stylistic.
But make sure you are old enough!
This is most certainly not for children. There is a constant use of nudity and highly sexualised themes that means that whatever the age of consent is in your country, you need to be over that age to pick it up. I do not want to be blamed for any children being exposed to this, partly because of the overt nudity, but mostly because the entire book just is not suitable. This is a grown up fairly tale, much like Zenescope tries to do with the Grimm Fairy Tales series, but with less crass cheesecake shots and more actual nudity.
It is ironic that actual nudity can be less ‘sexy’ than implied nudity. Think of Michelangelo’s David; while it is a completely naked marble statue of a young man, it has as much sexuality as a chair. If you compare that to any Victoria Secrets catalogue where all the women are artfully clothed, you will understand the difference.
This uses nudity in much the same way as a writer uses punctuation. If you want to show that Shame has fallen, what better way than to dress her in a lascivious and licentious way and let the pictures do the talking for you? If you want to express Virtues innocence and vulnerability you leave her naked, dirty and trying to hide herself. The art does all the talking you ever need, without the requirement for unnecessary dialogue or text.
This review needs pictures not just words
Rarely have I come across a comic that leaves me lost for words, but this is it. When people say ‘comic book’ all they are ever thinking about is men in capes and women in lycra, this is so far from that stereotype that it almost needs a different name. It is the same as taking Meet the Spartans and Citizen Kane and describing them both as ‘movies’, it does justice to neither and groups together crass stupidity and brilliance into the same category.
If you like the idea of a new fairy tale, but one written for adults rather than re-scripted for children, then this is it. If you like to be able to simply look at your comics rather than racing through reading them, then this is for you. If you like dark twisted stories, then this is for you. If you want to read a comic that will make you question what a comic really is, then please I beg you, pick this up and realise that there is more to comics than capes and cowls.
But best of all, pick this up and get to the end and realise that come 2017, this story and this art continues with Tales of Hope Book 1. That’s all from me, I am off to find a copy of this that isn’t affected by DO NOT DISTRITUBTE in horrible white writing across every glorious page so I can enjoy this all over again.