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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Amazing & Fantastic Tales 4. Planet Jimbot (2014)

Another instalment in the engaging and very enjoyable anthology, this continues the mix of continuing stories and one-offs in prose and comics.
"Karoom" part 4, written by Jim Alexander, art by Glenn B Fleming continues the story of the dimension travelling alien and the woman from Earth who has joined him. The stage is set for a final confrontation with a slight reveal just adding to the questions. The art continues to use soft lines and colours to draw in the reader, the body language and expressiveness of the cast is first rate. This is a quietly intriguing story that continues to charm.
"Cold Blooded" written by Ed Murphy is a smart story that appears to be following one route before smartly switching. Maria grows up in India under the strict care of her father in India, chosen for the freedom he has to raise the child as he wishes. Maria develops a deep and abiding interest in reptiles, when her father is murdered in a burglary she heads off to a life of her own. Later in her life she is in a abusive relationship with a gangster in Peru when things start to change. The story is slightly predictable right up to the moment when it is not, clever and crafty, reader expectations are caught and skilfully thrown.
"Pipe" written by Jim Alexander, art by Graeme MacLeod, letters by Jim Campbell, edited by Eli Winter, is a wryly optimistic story that uses tight compression to great effect. A life and a death in 9 panels, that is entirely complete and satisfactory is a considerable achievement. The writing is tight an focussed, the tone is just right and the unexpected conclusion exactly right. Graeme MacLeod's art is detailed and subtle, in each panel the details and mood are balanced carefully against the words or lack of them, the flow is sympathetic and deeply engaging. The lettering by Jim Campbell draws no attention to itself, but subtly supports and embellishes the story. Compression is difficult and editing a single page story into a coherent and convincing whole is a significant task successfully achieved by Eli Winter.
"Don't Read This" written by Luke Cooper manages one of the essential tasks of a supernatural story that most do not, it leaves the reader thinking, "I am sure it is not real or true but why take the risk?" The tone of the story is pitch perfect, the passive aggressive hook that holds the reader and appears to let them go but still has a lingering touch. To say more would spoil a lovely treat.
"Bad Tooth" written by Jim Alexander, art by Eva Holder, letters by Jim Campbell and Edits by Eli Winter combines a very clever idea and a truly terrible joke in a surprisingly successful mix. Chris wakes up with a raging toothache and discovers that the zombie apocalypse has also arrived at the same time. After four days of fighting zombies Chris decides to ask one of his companions to do an extraction, the results are unexpected. The smart black humour of the story and the swift and effective character work is very enjoyable, the supremely lame joke that it leads to is groan worthy. It is a significant tribute to the overall craft of the creative team that the joke does not sink the story. Eva Holder's art is strongly expressive, zombie killing looks dangerous and exciting and the cast (living section) emerge clearly and strongly. The lettering as ever with Jim Campbell is quietly effective and supports the story.
"The Last Posse, Part 4" written by Jim Alexander continues the story of classic Western heroes caught in a mysterious town, the situation becomes a little clearer as the fight is started only to lead to the possibility of greater trouble to come. The mix of western and understated horror continues to work very well.
Any anthology carries the possibility of a range of quality, Amazing & Fantastic Tales 4 has a very high standard throughout with two stand outs.
Chief Wizard Note: This a review copy very kindly sent by Jim Alexander from Planet Jimbot, for more detail on how to get Amazing & Fantastic Tales #4 please contact planetjimbot@gmail.com

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