Friday, March 17, 2006
Whistler vol1 reviewed
"DOGBREATH PRESENTS: WHISTLER, Reviewed by Ben Dickson
DOG BREATH PRESENTS: WHISTLER
(Bolt-01, A5, 36 pages, £2.00)
I should preface this by saying that although I have read Strontium Dog in the distant past I don't remember it too well, and have not read any issue of Dog Breath. The reason I say this is because I found many aspects of Whistler confusing, and this may simply be because I'm not that au-fait with either the original strips or the fanzine.
Whistler collects six chapters of a story initially published online at 2000adonline.com. Whistler himself is a Strontium Dog bounty-hunter, whose mutation has left his head looking suspiciously like that of a parrot. After an excellent and highly enjoyable introductory first chapter, the story settles into one of conspiracy and corruption amongst the Strontium Dogs themselves, as Whistler tries to get to the bottom of just what's going on.
The illustration of the book is superb and well-suited to Strontium Dog fan fiction. The art is clearly very heavily influenced by Carlos Esquerra, and is very effective in its execution, with well-drawn figures and backgrounds, and containing a similar vibrancy to Esquerra's 80s black and white work.
I must confess, despite having read it three times, I still don't entirely understand what happened in the story. Most of the strip is well-written, with strong dialogue and good characterisation, and plenty of interesting and entertaining things happen, but the plot itself seems to make giant leaps of faith in terms of the reader actually understanding what's going on. Whistler has conversations with characters where the conversation itself is actually missed out, leaving a sense of confusion and frustration. Other plot points in the book are also assumed as read, and if you read Dog Breath it's possible they are as read. Yet for me, this book either doesn't stand up on its own or simply assumes too much foreknowledge or assumption of its own plot.
Well worth picking up if you're a reader of Dog Breath, but readers should be wary if they are not too familiar with Strontium Dog. (BD)
This is the first time I've seen this, though I must admit that since it was sent to me via an Email, I'm not sure when it was written.
As a review, it is pretty good, with some very welcome comments about the art & story. I must take it on the chin about the poor plotting overall, as the strip was only written as each new chapter was due to appear- something I'm rectifying for the second story.
The accompanying pic is the first time I've drawn the man himself for ages, quite pleased with it though.