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Klarion #2 Review: Nocenti Shows Readers the Ropes

Written by  Published November 19, 2014 11:21
When I heard about the new Klarion ongoing from DC Comics I immediately thought of the character’s creator Jack Kirby. I wondered how Kirby’s original characterizations of a mischievous nearly omnipotent teenager who leaned toward the darkest of natures would be translated into modern continuity and how dark and bleak the character might become. Would it kill the elements of fun? I believed it might. However, when I heard Ann Nocenti was writing it I put it on my pull list and was intrigued enough by issue #1 to stay around another month. So after getting the second issue I read it first. What I discovered on a second read through was that this book has a lot of really good things going for it.  

With Convergence on the rise and so many non-bat title being whacked when sales are low it is easy to become jaded. No one wants to start a new book if it’s going to get whacked in a few months. Not to mention there are more new ones than any one man or woman can handle. Then there is the cost and the buyer’s remorse. How is a person to choose? Never fear.

I have a hot-off-the-fingertips review for you.

So let’s get this monkey smoking….

Synopsis from eXpertcomics.com: Klarion just cant help himself d 1when he battles the friend he made on his first day on Earth. The War of the Witches escalates when Tech-Wizard Coal releases a robot without a killswitch, Klarion has to learn how to control his rampaging powers, and a kiss changes everything.

The Breakdown:

Nocenti’s work since the release of the 1988 Graphic Novel from Marvel called Inhumans has been one of note and many have followed her work faithfully for years (for instance her Daredevil run in ’88 and 2013 Katana run are excellent examples).

Klarion is a perfect fit for Nocenti because her knack for finding the character’s heart is so impeccable.

She, of course, nails Kirby’s Klarion.

d 2In speech, deed and attitude she has found the witch boy of old and managed to make him relevant in DC’s NU52 (however long it lasts with Convergence looming). With seeming ease she sets up a powerful new arm of the DC magic world while using classic comic book tropes to re-invent the new realm of magic. What is perhaps a greater feat is that this feels like it would mesh well in a world with Dr.Fate, Zatanna, Constantine and The Demon. It is a nice piece to a well-developed magical universe.

The adversarial nature of everyone and everything in the book makes simple romance priceless and intrigue more meaningful. While elements like the witches war and the buddy bots appeal to action lovers, the intense subtexts and inferences of “kill or be killed” ring hauntingly through the quieter parts.

Pacing I felt however was an issue and I felt perhaps Nocenti could haved 3 slowed it some for the sake of clarity. However with the bold and ambitious direction of the art in this book it is quite possible pacing will take some time because aligning Nocenti’s words with Trevor McCarthy’s unique acid trip style by its very nature disrupts flow some.

McCarthy’s work in Klarion is captivating. With an abstract eye he obliterates the dimensions of panel to illustrate the vast oddity of magic while keeping traditional paneling in just the right moments to retain the Kirby-esque feel of the book (for example when Noah is drinking and spell casting or when Rasp gets a new friend). His lines are straight clean and bold in character and storytelling panels but haphazardly brilliant and fluid when depicting magic in use.

From a hairball to Klarion’s hair it is distinctive and steals the eye to the heart of the story. It is well done. However there is some clunky moments where the art lets the story down just a bit. More clarity in in-panel motions or a more emotive look into the eyes of a lover would have driven the plot home with more gravitas.

d 5The color palette for Klarion is an acquired taste. It started it off a tad over the top (especially the greens) but after getting the gist of the story it seemed to me to be a calculated style decision for the sake of immersion.

The colors do a fine job of making you believe the magic in the story (and unconventional art that conveys it) are both cohesive and plausible to the readers eye.

The Verdict:

Klarion #2 furthers the world building in the magical wing of the DCNU. It is an action packed anti-hero book full of light in the tone and dialogue that both satisfies the Kirby characterization and the modern comic audience’s appetite for magical heroes. Nocenti’s skillful strokes of pen have made Klarion likable and McCarthy’s art has made great art.

However the experimental nature of the art, the chosen color palette and the intricate world and story cause flow and pacing issue more than once this issue.

5 out of 7 X’s   XXXXX

Steve DAMM

DAMM is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. As one of ENR's founders and passionate comics' lover, he is committed to bringing you fair but passionate reviews as well as breaking news without the overreaction. A Colorado born curmudgeon, comic purist and pop culture crusader, he's on a mission to make new readers aware of the legends who came before in an in-depth way, how they changed comics and why the Silver Age is the most important era to modern American art (comic, commercial & fine). His opinionated style and audacious boldness making him a must read. As a reviewer, opinion columnist and con reporter his objective is the acquisition of truth, justice and the American comic book way, though he's been known to pursue foreign comics voraciously too. A champion for the creator-owned, a proponent for Indies and intolerant of towing corporate lines DAMM brings praise to those who deserve it and lays out the bad news without pretention.

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