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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Borderline. Volume 1. Carlos Trillo (Writer), Eduardo Risso (Art). Dynamite Entertainment (2006)

A brilliant series of increasingly connected stories set in a severely dystopian future. The location is a city dominated by two opposing groups the Council and the Commune, the rich are happy and the poor , the sub-dregs, are valued only for their organs. Both power groups have armed forces to enforce their will and Lisa, know as Crash, works as a captive agent for the Council, Emil, known as Blue, works as a ten year agent for the Commune. Lisa and Emil were lovers before Emil betrayed Lisa in a horrific fashion and now they on opposing sides of an ongoing struggle for power and the control of the narcotics market in the city. The episodes steadily build up the background of Lisa and Emil and the context in which they find themselves, the stories progressively develop in emotional and dramatic weight and power.
The luminous black and white art by Eduardo Risso dominates the early episodes of the book. Where black and white frequently means "uncoloured", this art glories in the extreme contrast between black and white, there are no tones in the art. The line drawings are stunningly expressive, they capture the details of the context and the emotions of the cast with clarity and grace. It manages to be both flamboyant and to effortlessly serve the story at the same time. In the opening episodes when the introductions to the cast and context are being completed the at rightly carries the weight, as the chapters progress the writing become more significant and the art embodies it and enhances it flawlessly.
Carlos Trillo takes a well worn path in science fiction and steadily moves past the usual cliches to delivers stories that capture the lives of the cast and the terrible and emotions that drive them. Lisa and Emil, as well as the surrounding cast emerge from the context they are placed in as damaged, fragile creatures who draw on the reader's sympathy and concern naturally and deeply. Their actions are credible and forceful, they are all struggling to accept the burden of past actions and to cope with desperate circumstances. This is not a pessimistic book, the future is bleak and barren, that is simply a given, the focus is on how the cast manage within this context and how the retain or loose their humanity.
It is also a gloriously action driven science fiction adventure with a mission to enthrall and entertain and it does so with lashings of style and energy. This is a brilliant comic.

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