Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday March 21: Perpetual Flux

Roll Up Ladies and Gents, Roll Up!

Come Be Amazed by The Macabre, The Magical, The Mad And Madcap

When a story begins with an execution and gets more exciting from there, you KNOW it's going to be good. Especially when said execution doesn't end in oblivion, but in our protagonist dropped into an entirely different world....
Full of bloodshed a la League of Incredible Gentlemen (though far better plotted), plenty of creative intrigue, beautiful art and rapier wit, Perpetual Flux is the creation of Julie Olson and Kat Haynes. It can be found at this link
Whether you like a good yarn, action, mystery or strange and supernatural secrets, you're in for a treat when you read Perpetual Flux. This rollicking story focuses on a fraternity of Purgers and their newest and possibly strangest recruit as they do their best to destroy vampires, djinns, and all manner of things that go bump in the night.

The Rating

Perpetual Flux grabs you by the throat from page one, and never lets go.

The Raves

Lit as if by gas lamps and gorgeously drawn in a digital style than manages to keep all the best qualities of Copix markers, Perpetual Flux starts out by catching your eyes. 
The art draws you in, but the characters and their world keep you fascinated. The creators do a wonderful job of informing the reader through situational details, walking the fine line between information overload and information deprivation with effortless grace. As the reader, you're left with just enough information to keep you constantly immersed in the evolving world, constantly curious and avidly reading to find out what twist the tale will take next. 
Perpetual Flux is definitely steam punk, and I mean that in the best sense of the title. Some great research was done to get the clothes, coiffures, architecture and ambiance of the 1870's right, and every technological addition feels not only natural to the environment, but in fact quite plausible and sensible. The focus also stays solidly on the characters and their purpose rather than getting derailed into an excuse to show off steam punk tech as so often happens in this genre. Instead, Perpetual Flux is kept grounded by good dialogue and intelligent characters. 

This story manages to get a surprising amount of characterization crammed into a very fast paced plot that's mostly action; despite the focus on blood, guts and dying vampires, each character is a distinct individual with their own strengths and weaknesses and a strong sense that motivations and fascinating histories await inside every single one, ready to unfold like Chinese box puzzles into wonderful complexity. Throughout the action, strong streaks of honor and of humor run like connecting threads pulling the weave together. The humor is deliciously dark, by the way, and nicely adds to the action.

Speaking of action, I should mention that I was really impressed by the way in which the action sequences were displayed. The creators have a wonderful grasp of pose, timing, framing and sequential layouts, as well as the capturing of the expressions of body and of face. There was also a nice use of sound signifiers, added well but not obtrusively. The sound signifiers really captured the textures of the sounds that accompany disembowelings, explosions, whistles, even a dog's bark.

The Razzes

At the moment, I really have only one bone to pick with Perpetual flux, and that bone is speech bubbles. Color coded speech bubbles, interlocking speech bubbles, overlapping speech bubbles, speech bubbles with the longest tails you'll ever see. On certain pages, the eye boggles. Now, that's not to say they're unreadable, far from it, and they can be sorted out with concentration, but some pages do get awfully busy linguistically. It's not a serious issue, but it does get a bit overwhelming every once in a while, as below.

The Revue

A definite must read, and a delight. Ladies, I tip my hat to you.

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