Europe Comics 2020
Written by Thilde Barboni
Illustrated by Gabor
The south of France: playground of the rich, and a paradise for artists. But where there is money, there is also crime. Alexandre Marni, aka Aliocha, is in the midst of it all as a tattoo artist for VIPs and leaders of the Russian mafia. And he has his own claim to high society: the descendant of a Russian royal family that sought refuge in the Riviera during the revolution of 1917, he wants to take back what was stolen from them. To this end, he will don a new identity to infiltrate the world of organized crime and set things right, whatever the cost.
This is one of those books that I came across by complete accident. It’s only available digitally at http://www.europecomics.com/ and I highly recommend you head over there and see the selection that’s available. This sounded interesting to me and boy howdy was this a hell of a lot more than I could’ve imagined it being. The writing is sharp, intelligent and thought provoking and the interiors are beyond stunning making this a deadly new addition to my comics reading list.
The way that this is being told is completely and utterly amazing. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The way that this is structured is fantastic and the further we go into the story the more we see how well this is written through layering and including but not limited to misdirection and misinformation. The character development is phenomenal! I like how the characters are introduced and then how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances that they encounter. Sometimes actions actually do speak louder than words, though the dialogue and the conversations between them here is just as informative. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the world, the story and the twists and turns along the way it is easy to see just how well everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow.
There is something about the way that this is being told that is striking. There is an unapologetic manner in which the characters behave that comes across and it makes me at least enviable of them. Granted when I am that way I’m labeled something else entirely, yet, we can find ways to connect with these characters and empathise with them readily enough.
The interiors here are so bloody effin mindbogglingly brilliant to behold. The linework is extraordinary and how the varying weights and techniques are being utilised to showcase all the detail work we see leaves me gobsmacked. Right from the opening splash page, which every book should have, we see the calbre and quality of work that this amazing artist does. The way that backgrounds are utilised throughout not only bring us depth perception a sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story as well as it just enhances the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show this masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is gorgeous! How we see the hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is brilliantly rendered. There is a real mastery of their craft happening here and we see this in the graffiti, the tattoo’s and just the appearance of the people we see. I am beyond gobsmacked and it just mesmerises me every time.
This is brilliant from the concept through the execution with the strength of the writing and the layers within that keep the reader interesting and engaged. This is the kind of book that showcases everything comics are about and what they should be. Trust me go find this and read it so that you can fully see my appreciation of this book.