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‘Cover’ #1 review: As original as comic book storytelling can get

So unbelievable it has to be read.

Brian Michael Bendis
Price: Check on Amazon

Cover is the kind of comic you’ll crack open and realize there are other worlds right in front of us. That’s exciting and one of the big reasons why I couldn’t get enough of this first issue. So far Brian Michael Bendis’s Jinxworld collection has been great and it looks like he has yet another hit on his hands.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Deep in the American intelligence community, someone realizes that comic book creators, who travel all over the world to sell their wares, might make the perfect cover for operatives in the dangerous, topsy-turvy world of intelligence and counterintelligence…and that’s when all hell breaks loose. This is the story of the time the world of comics and the world of international spywork smashed together–with unexpected results!

Why does this matter?

Bendis is collaborating with David Mack on his book — two people who, together, have created countless great works. They are joined by Zu Orzu and aim to deliver a story that may or may not be true. Regardless, it’s a story that taps into the culture of comics and its premise is deeply original.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

A very familiar scene at any comic convention. Credit: DC Comics

Cover opens at a comic book convention and is all too familiar. Artists are sitting at their booths drawing, talking to fans, and generally enjoying themselves. It paints a scene we’ve all been involved in, which makes it even more personal and close to home when the main character, Max Field, talks to a fan who also buys a lot of the art. Max is reminiscent of David Mack himself and there are panels that remind me of standing there talking to Mack just this past year at San Diego Comic-Con. This book instantly got my imagination going and made me wonder if all of this is true.

There are two elements to this book that make it very special. The mysterious woman who speaks to Max is an interesting element, but it’s a subplot about Max and his father that’s also very interesting. There are scenes where Max’s art intermixes with his own personal problems reminding us comics and art, in general, is beautiful, but also there is a story underneath. There are scenes mixing Orzu’s art with Mack’s and they draw you into the character very well. It’s a nice melding of two art styles to visually tell a story.

The other element that is quite strong is the dialogue. This is probably a no-brainer for anyone who likes Bendis, but it’s quite crafty in how it draws you in and seems so natural. Upon rereading I realized something fishy was going on and it’s all right there on the page. It shows you how Bendis’ writing can be layered and so much more interesting if you dig into it.

Hey, is that David Mack?! Credit: DC Comics

It can’t be perfect can it?

I’m not sure if it’s the watercolors, or how the art is generally rendered, but there’s a dreamlike quality to the story because of it. This gives the impression that maybe what we’re seeing isn’t real, or isn’t to be trusted. I’m not sure that’s on purpose, but it does throw me off ever so slightly. That isn’t to say this isn’t a beautiful book, but it makes the narrative feel almost wishy-washy when it’s anything but.

Is it good?

As original as comic book storytelling can get. This is deeply interesting and it’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

Cover #1
Is it good?
As original as comic book storytelling can get. This is deeply interesting and it'll have you on the edge of your seat.
If you're familiar with conventions and the comic industry this comic hits very close to home
A believable premise with solid storytelling via art and writing
A story not only about the comic industry but making comics
Whether it's purposeful or not the comic has a dreamlike quality that makes it feel somewhat uncertain about what is happening which can leave you questioning the narrative

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