Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1 (Image)


Rating: 4.5/5 – “Take On Me” Taken to a Whole New Level…
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are back with a 3rd go-round of their Phonogram series where Music is Magic and there’s something to be had for music fanatics and casual fans as well.  I fall into the casual fan category and there’s a lot to like about this series, I can only imagine what this must be like for those who love music as much as the creators.  For me, I’m just glad there’s a glossary in the back that give me pointers to a few of the references I might have missed on my first read-through.

There quite a few characters we’ve seen before as well as references to others.  People coming into this without having read the previous 2 volumes may be a bit lost, but I don’t think they will be totally lost.  I think there’s enough here to give a satisfying read even to people whose first exposure to Phonogram is this issue.  For instance, this commentary on music videos:

The record is entirely irrelevant.  The video overpowers and overwrites it.  It is magnificent.  It is sublime.  Yet simultaneously, it is a corruption.  It is an annihilation.  Power and transcendence with a cost…  The power of specificity with the cost of specificity.

I can relate to this.  I have had music videos ruin songs for me.  I have had music videos greatly enhance songs for me.  Case in point: a-ha’s “Take On Me”, which is specifically addressed in this issue in a very cool way. If you’ve never seen the video, follow the link and spend 4 minutes watching it, I think you’ll be glad you did.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  I just did and I still love it.  Whenever I hear the song the visuals of this video play in my head, which is the exact point  Gillen is trying to make.

I really enjoyed the previous 2 volumes of Phonogram, but it’s been over 5 years since I read the last issue of “The Singles Club” in early 2010, so there are finer details of the series that I just don’t recall that puts me almost, but not quite, in the same boat as people coming in fresh.  I missed some of the nuances involved in back-references to previous issues.  This is a case where it would be nice to have the TPBs that could be easily pulled off the shelf and re-read as opposed to 13 separate single issues that would need to be pulled out of (in my case) 13 different long boxes.  BUT, the beauty of this issue was that I thoroughly enjoyed it even without that full command of all the references and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.  Give this a try if you’re a fan of the creators, of music, or both.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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