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Friday, May 1, 2015

Amazing & Fantastic Tales 5. Jim Alexander (Writer), Glen Fleming,Paulina Vasseliva, Jon Howard (Art), Jim Campbell (Letters) Planet Jimbot (2015)

This is the final instalment in the very engaging and enjoyable anthology series and the standard is maintained all the way.
Kroom 5 & 6, (Written by Jim Alexander , art & colours by Glenn B. Fleming)  shifts the story into high gear as a confrontation between Kroom, the dimension travelling alien, Ellie the human he picked up from Earth and some very hostile aliens leads to a revelation about Kroom. A second crisis brings a question of life or death and leads to the nicely open ended finale. A lot of story is packed into the pages, it never feels rushed or choppy, the connection between Kroom and Ellie has depth and strenght, the choices made feel natural .
Glen B. Fleming's art is stronhly expressive, in a panel that shows Kroom's face as he realises his decision is wonderful, the following panel is very nicely explosive and final. The art is very stripped down, it gives the clear centre stage to the cast, other than a short and intense burst of action the drama is in the connection between Kroom and Ellie. Glen B. Fleming brings out that connection and provides a rock solid context for it in the expressive body language and gestures of the cast.
The Last Posse 5 & 6. (Written by Jim Alexander , art by Paulina Vasseliva).  Jim Alexander shows the truth of the saying "It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of  the fight in the dog that counts" The posse are facing off against the whole town, they have found the epicentre of the trouble and they step right into it. The action splits over three separate locations and the depth of the horror in the town become finally clear. Jim Alexander uses classic Western set ups with the scenes, each has a very nice twist that maintains the essential mix of Western and horror without loosing the balance of either. The third set up very explicitly uses the mix as the reason for the Posse arriving in the town and the cause of the horror in the town become clear.The dry-as-dust humour of the ending is entirely fitting and satisfying.
Paulina Vasseliva's sketches capture the spirit of the posse, their sheer stubborn courage and finally the deep thirst that a desert trek can give a man.
Facts of Life (Written by Jim Alexander, art by Jon Howard, Letters by Jim Campbell) is a smart, unexpected and slyly funny story that very nicely subverts readers expectations. A fierce religious mother uses goldfish to explain the fact of life to her son, a set up that leads very entertainingly, if slightly unsurprisingly to a very awarded encounter and very surprisingly to a very clever conclusion.
Jon Howard's art is a gorgeous, detailed delight and a feast to read. The story works so well because the art embodies the shifting tone so completely, the reader is neatly and happily suckered. The art takes all the room that the slender story provides and uses it to fill it out completely, the drama is realised with a light touch that hides the craft and care that have been used is building it.
Any anthology runs the risk of variations in quality, tone or subject jarring the overall impact and intent of the book. Once again Amazing & Fantastic Tales shows that it is possible to have an astonishing variety that delivers an engaging and harmonious whole.
Chief Wizard Note:   This a review copy very kindly sent by Jim Alexander from Planet Jimbot. A&FT#5 will be officially launched in Glasgow on Thursday 7th May 2015. For more information or to order a copy, which you should do, please contact,  planetjimbot@gmail.com

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