Rating: 3.5/5 – Well Done Stories About Completely Unlikable Characters.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Aftershock Comics has to be commended on their initial launch lineup. They’ve put together some fantastic creative teams that have definitely produced some exciting results. ComicSpectrum has praised a couple of their debuts with Garth Ennis’ Dreaming Eagles and Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke’s Replica. Now, Aftershock has put arguably their strongest creative duo together with Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe in a modern day crime comic called American Monster. Although I loved the art, the story was Aftershock’s first miss for me.
American Monster is told in a purposefully disjointed manner with multiple storylines introduced in this first issue. Each storyline gives us new characters with the most time dedicated to an extremely scarred army veteran who isn’t at all likable. In fact, all the characters introduced all lack any likable qualities which may have contributed to my lack of love for the story. Azzarello has left out the heroes, instead choosing to show us just how cruel and uncaring humanity can be. And you need to come back for more if you want the whole story since each story and character is only given a limited amount of time in the spotlight, leaving you wondering just who and why the characters are in the predicaments that they’re all in.
Juan Doe’s art adds to the mood and darkness of the story with his art and colors. Lots of dark reds and greens permeate the book and Doe is able to highlight just the right features without ever making it too bright. Although the colors give the page a very flat feel, it works. Doe’s character work is exaggerated just enough so that his more animated style works perfectly for the subject matter.
American Monster is well done, it truly is. It’s just not a story that ever made me want to read more because of the completely unlikable characters that I couldn’t make a connection with. I may visit this series again down the road since I love the creators involved, but it may be a while before I return.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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