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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Amazing & Fantastic Tales Issue 2. Planet Jimbot . October 2013.

An engaging anthology that nicely mixes genres, prose stories and comics.
Kroom  written by Jim Alexander and art by Glen B Fleming opens the issue with a bang, literally, as a dimension traveling alien and a human companion land on a tower of clothes that hold memories of the previous owners. A sharp encounter with a hostile inhabitant is neatly resolved before the traveling continues. The episode is a sliver of an ongoing story, it has enough content packed into it to give it some grip with a reader, the ideas are well compressed and expressed. The colouring is slightly muted and the lines of the art are soft, leaving the level of detail low. For a compressed story I think harder lines and a bit more detail would work better to drive up the impact for the limited space.
The Last Posse written by Jim Alexander with illustrations by Scott Sackett the second part of a odd Western featuring Wyatt Earp, Belle Starr, Geronimo and the Cisco Kid finding themselves in a very hostile town. The story has a well developed hard edge that is very engaging as the pieces are being pulled together. A strong atmosphere and a convincing cast allow the mystery to grow up nicely.
Happy Slappy written by Jim Alexander  and art by Andrew Docherty is a smart joke that is well set up and delivered. The loose art is just right for the payoff.
Flat Champagne written by John McShane and art by Graeme MacLeod is superb, a science fiction story that captures a mood most unexpected in the genre, disappointment. Science fiction is usually either triumphant or pessimistic, the more delicate notes are not often heard. In this short story the low key realisation is wonderfully delivered.
Point Blank written by Jim Alexander and art by Scott Sackett is the longest comic in the issue. Two boys born on the same day at the same time have a mysterious connection that drives one but not the other. The set up is clever, the plot development is not unusual and the nicely bitter conclusion is both sharp and satisfying. The heavy lines of the art are effective, they give the cast weight and presence. There is a lot of text in each panel and the art needs to be strong to bear it without being squeezed out. In particular the faces of the cast look lived in which is important for the sense of the story to emerge properly.
The Roustabout  written by Lynsey May and Fin Cramb continues a atmospheric story set on an oil rig. In a very short space mood, action, context and a nice reveal are all delivered without haste or loss. A very smart piece of writing.
Any anthology has to find a balance both between the nature of the stories themselves and the substantial constraints of space and continuity over different issues. Amazing & Fantastic Tales manages the balance well, there is a scattering of genres that all sit well with each other and the overall tone of the book is maintained. It succeeds at what an anthology needs to done the most, provide enough to satisfy a reader with the issue and deliver enough hooks to raise an interest in the next developments.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent to me by Jim Alexander. All Planet Jimbot titles including Amazing & Fantastic Tales#2 are available from UKOnDisplay:  Alternatively contact Planet Jimbot direct on:

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