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Iron: Or, the War After Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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About the Author
Shane-Michael Vidaurri received a BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and publications, including WIN magazine, The Indypendent, and Powerpop Comics. He currently lives and works in New Jersey. His apartment is filled with many animals.
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Top Customer Reviews
I mean, I don't want to reveal anything about it, but I just really didn't like the story. trying to evade the cliches, it transformed itself in a very big one.
The illustrations are very good, though although there are a few lines there that are supposed to be the wind that sometimes ruin it a little bit (you'll see it when you read it).
I don't regret buying this book because I am an illustrator and a collector, but I have a very hard time finishing the book.
First off, the reference to "a world of constant winter". The delicate pastel drawings perfectly establish an atmosphere of cold, damp, wintry despair. There is a feeling of desolation - physical and emotional. Everything creates a sense of repression, failed revolution and hopelessness. I'm not quite sure how mere drawings establish such a grim and chilly feeling, but there it is.
Next, the characters are brilliantly realized. These aren't Beatrix Potter heads on carelessly drawn human bodies. Each character is a complete, although bipedal, animal form. There is one drawing in particular that encapsulates this. It's of the rabbit character. He is lying in his underwear on a cold cot talking to someone. Every detail of his form is expressive of his despair, but he is clearly an exhausted six foot tall rabbit who also looks like a person and who has a completely humanoid identity. The effect is stunning.
The plot is very "Spy Who Came in From the Cold", and that's fine. It doesn't exactly break any new ground in the world of cold war fiction, but of course that doesn't really seem to be the point of the project. The story is compelling enough, and the characters are finely realized enough to keep you engaged.
The upshot is that I found this to be a spare, chilly, evocative and admirable work, and wholly distinct from anything else I've encountered in the world of graphic novels. Of all of the books I've read and reviewed recently this is one of the ones that keeps slipping back in to my thoughts. I don't see how it gets much better than that.
Please note that I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a frank review.
A rabbit steals a document. A bird in a suit and a tiger (?) in a suit go after him. They quarrel about the wisdom of continuing to fight a war that has ended. A goat is supposed to blow up a train but he's kind of a drunken old goat so his trustworthiness is questionable. The rabbit's son picks up where the rabbit left off (a chip off the old hare?). The boy rabbit and his rabbit sister get sent to an orphanage, then the rabbit's son is threatened so he won't testify against the bird in the suit. The rabbit's son needs to search within himself for the courage to tell the truth about this father's fate. There's never much doubt about the outcome, in part because the characters are underdeveloped. When characters aren't multifaceted, it's pretty clear that they'll follow the obvious path.
The text-heavy story overshadows the subtle artwork. With all that text, the story should less confusing, and more compelling, than it turns out to be. A melodramatic courtroom scene doesn't work very well, in part because the conspirator-prosecutor is so obviously manipulating the witness that the judges would have to be blind not to see it. The frosty art is nice -- each panel looks like it belongs on a Norwegian Christmas plate -- but the point of populating this world with talking animals eludes me. Even if the story were about humans, I wouldn't believe it.
And much of my enjoyment was due to the stunning graphics - what a feast for the eyes!. They are done mainly in light washes of blue and gray which makes it even more eye-popping when a bird appears done in a beautiful scarlet. I must admit I kept thinking that I would love to have some of these pictures on my walls, I was that impressed.
As I said, this is not an easy story to follow. I suspect it would take two or three readings to start to get a real grasp on this complicated story. But, trust me, it would be worth it if only as an excuse to look at the graphics.