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Friday, October 23, 2009

Mercy. J.M.DeMatteis (Writer), Paul Johnson (Art), Todd Klien (Letters). DC Comics (1993)


Glorious art catches the spirit of the passionately overwrought writing to create a striking and memorable comic. Joshua Rose is lying in a stroke induced coma in a hospital watching himself from a limbo and wondering why he has not died. He muses on his life and the utter dissatisfaction of it all, the breathtaking , bitter futility of it all. He has become aware of the presence of an entity he has named Mercy and is drawn to her and the lives she seems to be intersecting with, a unhappy family in London, a terrified Indian boy in a South American jungle and a lonely old woman in an Brooklyn. The set ups are done with great and forceful skill, the resolutions are equally strong and the conclusion is passionate and truthful.
J.M.DeMatteis has recreated "A Christmas Carol" with outstanding skill and confidence, the central story about the resurrection of a defeated spirit remains, the other aspects of the story are creatively re-fashioned. Best of all the naked passion and belief in the reality of human compassion that burns so brightly in Dickens is blazing in the comic also.
Paul Johnson's art is simply extraordinary, it pulses with life an colour. The page layouts are superb, the capture the rhythms of the story and boost them. The use of colour is masterful, the bursts of light and use of muted colour provide the exact visual counterpart for the emotional framework for each scene.
This glorious comic is a direct and potent assault on the reader's casual cynicism that we slip on to protect ourselves, a reminder that all the unassuming acts of kindness and civility committed by countless number each day really count.

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