Bagged & Boarded: The Last Musketeer

thelastmusketeer
The Last Musketeer
by Jason (story & art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 48 pages
Release date: January 17, 2008
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Rating: 5/5 stars

I was intrigued enough by Jason’s Athos in America, his collection of shorts, to start reading his back catalog. I am not even remotely disappointed: Martians, duels, strong women, romance, space travel, and much much more. The Last Musketeer may be terse in page size, but it packs a wallop of a story. This is storytelling done right, to the point, entertaining, good character development, and not in the least superfluous in the art. I love how stark and monochromatic the art feels, which does not detect from the story but actually enhances it.

This is highly recommended.

Bagged & Boarded: Bad Houses

badhousesBad Houses
by Sara Ryan (story) and Carla Speed McNeil (art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 156 pages
Release date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

tl;dr: An engrossing tale of two people who fall in love, but it’s also a story of healing the past and moving towards the future. So while the book is great, it’s not amazing and that is perhaps its failing. It could have been amazing but it simply did not live up to its potential.

ReviewBad Houses is marketed by Dark House as juvenile fiction but I don’t think that’s accurate. The story contains adult situations that are reads far too sophisticated for juvenilia.

The story is on point and the side stories are fill in the edges. The flashbacks hint at things that are not fleshed out, but that’s okay — the end doesn’t need a pretty bow to necessarily feel complete. You know, feel, and love the characters as if they are a part of your own existing circle of friends. Character development is exquisite and the art is gorgeous. Ryan’s ability to capture the essence of a person in succinct form is a brilliant trait coupled with McNeil’s art makes this a joyous book to hold.

But the more I sit with this story, the more I feel as if something is missing from the tale.  I don’t’ feel satiated when I closed the cover. Sure, I want more of  Anne/Lewis, but there is an element in their story that is missing. If Ryan had explored that more with her writing, let McNeil fill in the art bits, the story would have been perfect. But as such, it isn’t and rates only 3.5/5 stars.

Bagged & Boarded: Athos in America

athos Athos in America by Jason
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Rating: 4/5 stars

tl;dr summary: Six thinly connected short stories by the master of minimalism. A must read.

Review: This is my first Jason book and it won’t be my last. You would be hard pressed to find another engrossing, and quickly read, collection wrapped up in 200 pages but here we are.

Beautifully drawn, complexly connected, and raw, Jason’s stories illustrate the underbelly of human condition dressed up in anthropomorphic animals. This does not (surprisingly) detract from the stories but make them more strongly felt. The last story, Athos in America (which also names the book), is the prequel of sorts to Jason’s The Last Musketeer, which is also heavily recommended and reviewed.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 1999