Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Territory

Written by Jamie Delano
Art by David Lloyd

I've finally worked my way through my huge pile of trades and graphic novels to the stuff I picked up on sale at Free Comic Book Day.  In the heated sale atmosphere, seeing a hardcover by Delano and Lloyd seemed like a sure bet, never mind that I'd never heard of the comic.  I just assumed it was something that had been published in England, and tossed it on my pile.  Had I investigated a little more, and realized that this was a limited series that Dark Horse put out a few years ago that I'd never heard of, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

Where would that leave me?  This is not a bad comic, but it's definitely not a great one.  The book opens with some guy abandoned on an island, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there.  He is 'rescued' by pirates, who sell him into slavery in a luxury community, where he instantly and implausibly falls in love with the overlord's main slave girl (Scarlet).  Our man, called Ishmael, becomes a gladiator, before working his way up to the big house, where he tries to rescue his love.  It's around that point that things get weird, as Ishmael ends up separated from her, and in a jungle where he is poisoned by slug venom, hallucinates, and ends up in the clutches of rich cannibals, before being rescued by rebels led by Scarlet, except now her name is Ruby.  And more weird shit happens after that.

Many of the themes of the book were addressed (better) be Delano in his more recent Avatar series Narcopolis.  Picture that title, wedded to The Matrix, but with narration by Raymond Chandler, and you start to get an idea of what this book is like.  You need to toss in some hallucinogenic drugs though to really make it all work.

I like Lloyd's art, but I always find it a little stodgy.  That works for him here, although it does make the book feel like it really was first printed in England back in the early 80s.

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