Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Shrapnel is a science fiction comic in a dystopian future created by Mark Long and Nick Sagan. The story is in a future where humans have colonized the Solar System. The Solar Alliance, a powerful government is trying to conquest the different colonies (Mars, Jupiter, Venus) and in this story we get to see what happens when the Alliance goes against Venus.

The story is entertaining. I like it but I don't love it. The story doesn't have a strong ending which is probably because they are planning three stories.

The art, while very beautiful, doesn't do a very good job of telling us what's going on. The main problem with the art, might not be the artists fault as the people fight in some high technology suits and it is very hard to tell which character is which due to this. The painted art many times gets in the way of the story with images that look blurry. I usually love painted art, but in a book where there's a lot of war scenes, I would have preferred sleeker, cleaner art.

The thing I liked about this book was the price. It says 5 issues, but two of them are double sized, so you get 7 issues for the price of 5 which is a pretty good deal.
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on May 24, 2013
Purchased this in the strength of the marketing: great sci-fi action, plot, dialog, artwork... but I have to say I'm disappointed. As a graphic novel, it has bucket-loads of potential, but the narrative is muddied by random transitions, weak character differentiation and frenetic, unexplained POV-jumps. I think the creators' reach went beyond their artistic and storytelling grasp. It's pretty alright, but like broken glass, it just doesn't fit together like it should.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 3, 2012
Shrapnel ended up being a problematic 'read' for me. I cut my tooth on military sci fi (Cherryh especially) and was hoping for something literary in this graphic novel. However, the story really could have been told in any setting and didn't need the sci fi trappings. It was fairly basic, overly wordy, and didn't really go anywhere interesting.

With a generic story, I look for the art to carry and expound upon the story. That didn't happen here. The art was very murky and somewhere through the middle of the book I gave up trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Honestly, I think things blew up and people said things. I have a "reader's digest' cursory summary but I don't have any idea what was going on thanks to the dark, featureless art.

I don't think the art or the story was bad. But what clearly happened here is a complete and utter lack of synergy between a good artist and a good storyteller. As such, the art didn't further the story and the story couldn't depend on the art to tell the details. The dialogue rarely pushed the story further and the art never further the story graphically. I can honestly say that I had no clue what was happening for 3/4 of the book. And well, aren't we through with 1-dimensional evil military types who kill innocents for their own glory (There are several 'moustach twirler' eeeevil military types in this story).

I think there was a love story somewhere in there - he may have been killed, not sure. And there's a story of conflict between natural borns (helots in the story) and the genetically enhanced (Slicers). Not sure that was really important to the story either.

The quality of the book itself was, like it's story and art, conflicted. The pages are beautiful and full color but the binding was terrible. Pages immediately began to become loose and some were bound so tight as to make it difficult to read and fully open the book.

In all, I'm as ambivalent on how to review this as the book is itself. On the plus side, you do get a lot for your money since there are a lot of pages.
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on February 16, 2015
The art is great and I've enjoyed the story. The art style, however, does not lend itself well to graphic novel format. Some scenes are nearly impossible to decipher, others are like portraits. It didn't bother me too much, it gave me reason to stare at a panel for 5 minutes and drink it all in.
My main problem is the binding. The binding is awful. The cover fell off within 15 minutes of light reading, the contents separating into two chunks soon after. I haven't finished it yet as it is difficult to hang on to all the pieces, not to mention avoid damaging it further. Binding aside, 4/5, but it's so bad that I recommend skipping it and trying to find it in a digital format.
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on August 2, 2014
This Comic is quite interesting to read with a good Sci-Fi storyline and artwork.
As one previous reviewer noted, the Point-of-View changes quickly during battle scenes which makes it really difficult to decipher what the picture is all about.

I usually use Comixology for viewing digital comics but purchased the Kindl version due the lower price.
No, Kindl on iOS will treat every page as an image. You go to the next image, you have one big image with 1cm of border around it. Then you zoom in, pan to the right spot and then continue reading. Very annoying.

Worst part, the quality is really not that good. The moment you zoom in, you can see the heavy compression that was applied to the image. This is nowhere near the quality of what you can get on Comixology.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 28, 2011
Yep, this one scratches that itch, if you're a hard core military sci-fi fan. SHRAPNEL: ARISTEIA RISING is a blistering, good old-fashioned war story set in the far-flung future. Centuries from now, man will have expanded its territories across the solar system. You'd think with more breathing room, people would be more apt to give each other space, respect each other's privacy, be more tolerant, yada, yada, yada. It's a pipe dream. Because in the future, according to SHRAPNEL: ARISTEIA RISING, man is as much of an asshat. In the future, the war drums beat on.

The expansionist Solar Alliance of Planets has been systematically conquering the solar system, and now it's gotten around to the final holdout: the independent mining colonies of Venus. The Solar Alliance's representative tells the President of Venus: "Please don't consider this an occupation, Mr. President. We're simply here to make sure the Alliance's democracy and its way of life are spread across the system uniformly." The defiant President of Venus pretty much gives him the finger. War, on.

Except that it bodes to be a hell of an uneven contest. The mighty Solar Alliance of Planets deploys its highly trained United Space Marine Corps. The mining colonies of Venus have had one year of half-arsed militia training. But, unknowingly, these mining colonies happen to be home to the most notorious soldier in recent years, come to Venus to escape her past.

No one figured on Sam, mysterious and distant. Sam is one of them reluctant heroines, someone world-weary and guilt-ridden and who just wants to blend into the background. In private Sam often converses with her personal holographic psychologist in the shape of her dead kid sister Ria. When war breaks out on Venus, Sam packs her bags, fully intending to amscray the uckfay out of town. And yet when the Marine troops launch their assault and begin to pick off the colonists, I wasn't - and you shouldn't be, either - surprised that Sam steps in at the last second and serves the space jarheads a plate of assswhoopin'. You know that adage about how good work gets rewarded with even more work? Sam is promptly promoted to the rank of battlefield commander, suddenly Venus's best hope.

Radical Publishing, y'all need to look into it. Radical has been coming out with some really good stuff (FVZA, LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED, CALIBER: FIRST CANON OF JUSTICE, HOTWIRE: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD - just to name four series off the top of my head). As much as I appreciate SHRAPNEL: ARISTEIA RISING, I would put it slightly behind the other titles just mentioned. And it's not because of the story's set-up, which happens to be pretty intriguing. M. Zachary Sherman crafts a story that draws you in. Even the political undercurrents are interesting. And it's not the heroine. Sam makes for a compelling central character, no-nonsense and very capable and privately angsty. What undercuts the storytelling is the art. You can admire Bagus Hutomo's visuals for the awesome impressionistic paintings that they are. Some of those spectacular two-paged layouts are very much worthy of gracing an art fan's wall. But in terms of storytelling, the art lacks clarity. The images are so murky, it makes it hard to follow what's going on. And it really, really doesn't help that the combatants are often in full battle armor. My having had to work hard to interpret the artwork compels me to take away half a star, leaving my rating as 3.5 out of 5 stars. This volume is certainly worth a look for its aesthetics, even its visual aesthetics. But, dang, my eyes were straining like a mother. Still, count me in for volume 2 (SHRAPNEL: HUBRIS). I think I'm crushing on Sam.
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on August 29, 2011
I was inspired in reading the graphic novel when I read online that a movie is in pre-production. So I purchased this and gave the graphic novel a try.

I thought the story was well written. It kept my interest throughout and I am interested in reading the next.

The art was well done. Lots of colors and inked very well. There were a few instances where the images were a bit of a challenge to follow. Which made the story a bit more difficult. Thankfully the dialogue was easy enough that it made up for some of the arts confusing sections.

Don't get me wrong, the occasionally hard to follow panel or image is not a major issue. At best it is a minor issue. The previous reviews are pretty accurate and on target with their assessments. But I wrote this review because I wanted to emphasize a particular point.

What is a major issue with the book is the binding of the graphic novel itself. It's garbage. The glue on the binding is worthless and the whole thing came apart in one sitting. And it's not like I was being rough with it or anything. It is bad enough that rating wise, it's at least a 1 star detraction. What good is it buying paper over digital, if the paper does not hold up from one reading?

I would rate overall the story and art 4.5 stars (I would probably round up when actually rating it). But because of the binding issue alone, that immediately makes this a 3.5 star book.
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