Saturday, February 6, 2010

Demo Vol. 2 #1

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Becky Cloonan

The news that Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan were returning to Demo, their early collaboration, had me very excited. I read the collection of the AIT/PlanetLar series a few years ago (having totally missed the boat on the original issues), and was blown away by the duo's use of the 'done in one' story format to create strong characters and tell interesting stories. Originally, the comics were supposed to be about young people with super-powers, but that conceit seemed to melt away as the series progressed, turning instead into singularly strong individual stories.

Now the series has returned at Vertigo, for a six-issue run. This first issue features Joan, a young woman from San Francisco who has a dream about a woman falling in a church or cathedral. The dream has such power for her that she is unable to sleep for days, obsessing over finding its location and meaning. When she realizes that the dream takes place in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, she books a flight and rushes off to rescue the person she dreamt about.

The story is quite straight-forward, and Wood leaves Cloonan with a lot of space to tell the story visually. Her art looks very different here from what I've come to expect. Her figures and faces are not immediately recognizable as her's (especially when compared to the preview pages for next issue included in the back of the book). That Cloonan experiments with her style and approach for different types of stories in Demo is exactly what I appreciated most about the original series, and I'm glad to see that continue here. As always though, her work is gorgeous.

I'm pleased that Vertigo has chosen to publish this book in black and white, and in a style very similar to the original series, including ample space for backmatter from Wood and Cloonan. That was something I enjoyed as much as the comic when I read Local, and I am always interested in hearing about how these two artists approach their craft. This should be a lure for anyone considering waiting for the trade on this series.

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