Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Book Review: Flight Volume 2

I seem to be reading this series backwards.

Flight Volume 2, edited by Kazu Kibuishi. 431 pages. Image Comics, Berkeley. ISBN: 1-58240-477-1.

I previously reviewed Volume 3 of this series, so when I saw Volume 2 on the shelf, I snatched it. I can say that the stories here are just as good.

At least one of the stories I thought was new in Volume 3, Michel Gagné's "Underworld," has a prequel here, "Inner Sanctum." The stories follow the continuing adventure of a little fox in a surreal sf universe. The stories have two very different expressions of the idea of a hidden underground realm.

Probably the best stories, Jake Parker's "The Robot and the Sparrow," Sonny Liew's "Dead Soul's Day Out: A Malinky Robot Story," and Kazu Kibuishi's "The Orange Grove" all share the theme of--not robots--friendship, and they do a delicate job of exploring it. Two are quite moving, but "Dead Soul's Day Out" is surprisingly gritty and dark for a story about kids.

The "weird story I don't get" award goes to Matthew Woodson's unsettling "Tendergrass," a wordless piece featuring a man slitting open animals in a corn field, presumably for some kind of magic ritual.

"Best imitation of The Twilight Zone" goes to Rodolphe Guenoden's classicly underhanded and very satisfying "The Ride," which has one of those twist ending you know is coming but love anyway.

Rad Sechrist's "Ghost Trolley" features some neat characters in an intriguing world full of impractical high-flying architecture that puts me in mind of Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky. I only wish the story lasted longer. Specifically, it features a young woman who drives a trolley for dead people.

The funniest is "Impossible" by Herval and Aris, featuring a toy airplane with an unrequited crush, though is has some close competition in "Mousetrap" by Johane Matte, Ghislain Barbe, and Eric Baptizat and "The Flying Bride," which seems to be missing attribution, and "Icarus" by Johane and Matte, which indicates that Dedalus's invention of those wings was a long and painful time coming.

Art and storytelling quality are consistently high, with the exception of Don Hertzfeldt's "'Dance of the Sugar Plums' or, Last Month on Earth," a train-of-thought end-of-the-world story featuring stick figures. I could have drawn that.
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