Thursday, March 1, 2007

D'Airain Adventure #1 Review

Ashley Wood's new comic series' first issue is something completely different, extremely unusual, and surprisingly excellent.

I picked up the first issue to Ashley Wood's D'Airain Adventure completely blind to what I was going to find inside. I had heard a few things about it on the net leading up to the IDW Publishing release, and I knew I was going to buy it, but I hadn't really taken to time to investigate what the series was really about. When I sat down to read the issue I was pleasantly surprised but a bit taken back; the format found in this book is something most comic fans probably haven't seen before.

Instead of the usual one linear story told over the course of 32 pages, the D'Airain Adventure series features four or five overlapping stories and vignettes per issue, ad free. Basically, you get a new story every few pages, some lasting for almost half the issue while others are only two pages long. This is an ongoing series though, so while one story might only be three pages in the first issue, it will continue in the next installment of the series.

I think that this format really fits the type of book Wood and his co-writer wife T.P. Louise are doing. Keeping the stories as short little samples per issue keeps them fresh and interesting. While a boring story found in a book with more popular characters (Batman, Spider-Man, etc.) will retain most readers, IDW knows that a bad issue of D'Airain Adventure could kill off a large chunk of their fan base. This is why the multi-story issue works; If you run into a sequence you don't like then it's no big deal, it's only a page or two.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what kind of art Ashley Wood will pump out in this series. His work in the first issue is spectacular and diverse as he uses different techniques and styles throughout while retaining the unique style that defines him. Some pages are rough and quick, but interesting, while others are vividly fleshed out. No matter the style he chooses to use, all of his panels are very well composed.

Another thing to point out with this issue is the quality of the paper it's printed on. D'Airain Adventure is published on extremely thick and smooth stock, something even thicker than what's found in most current graphic novels. It also features a nice and solid matte cover with cover flaps on the front and back which display even more of Wood's art.

The first issue of D'Airain Adventure is a great read and I can't wait to see where this series is going to go. Hopefully the second issue doesn't miss a beat and that the stories are able to progress smoothly with only a few pages devoted to each on per issue.

Did any of you guys pick up this book this week? If you did, what did you think of it?


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