First Look: A Review of @DarkHorseComics AngelCatBird Volume 1 HC by @MargaretAtwood and artist Johnny Christmas ( @j_xmas )

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200px-Dark_Horse_Comics_logo_svg.pngIt’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a cat, it’s… amazing! Angel Catbird is a deliciously entangled natural comic book story fused with a spectacular  fevered dream. This past Wednesday, Dark Horse Comics released a book that has garnered a lot of attention from comic readers who love ridiculous romps.

This amalgam of humanization and fantasy takes activism to a very creative place. Atwood has developed this story in tandem with Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives (www.catsandbirds.ca), a conservatory charity. Various interactions between characters as well as a naturally progressing story provide a healthy way to raise awareness for this cause while providing an extremely fun romp through a fantastic world.

Be warned… Mild spoilers ahead


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So let’s get down to business, and please be warned, spoilers are ahead.

A scientist is corporately headhunted for his research on gene splicing. And with this mild premise, we are led down the rabbit hole into an absolutely delicious comic book adventure.

This scientist is hired by a company that is secretly run by a half-man, half-rat villain intent on ridding the world of half-cats. These half creatures have existed for centuries under the noses of society, and none of these facts are known by the hero until after his unfortunate accident with his formula, an owl, and his pet cat.

The fun of this Comic adventure stems from the interaction between the main character and the variously odd cast of cohorts among the cat people.

A duality is struck in the Angel Catbird as he must decide between letting a few alley cats eat a baby bird. The Cat side of him even wants to eat the bird! The Alley Cats turn out to be Cat people and think of the Angel as a weak predator.

His love interest in volume one is another cat person named Cat Leone, a marketing employee of the scientific firm being run by the Rat-Man. The animalistic instincts, and intrigue at the Angel’s transformation influence her to let our hero into the fold of cat people (To her danger if the Rat-Man has anything to say about it).

All of this does lead to an intense sequence, but little is resolved as of yet. The major story arc seems to be paced for a 5 issue run, so resolution may be four chapters out.

The negatives:

If your boat is natural dialog, this may be the wrong ship for you. Reminiscent of Kirby, this tale is built on an extremely pure comic style dialog. For fans of “Dial H” or “Infinity Man and the forever people”, or for those who read X-Men in the late 80’s, you will be ecstatic to find a writer who can capture vast concepts in a timely manner, but for fans of Frank Miller’s Subtleties, or of Scott Snyder’s expositions, something may feel too artificial in this book.

What this dialog style boils down to is a seamless quick read. This is a book that times itself. Moments that are intended to be spectacular take a moment or two to take in, yet dialog that could take two pages to accomplish are done in a reductionist fashion. The book is amazing for those of us who put an emphasis on how a book reads, or “breathes”.

Conclusion:

It is of it’s own world. Angel Catbird takes leaps, yet keeps a healthy focus on the interaction between characters. The relationship between the hero and main female lead is explained through animal attraction, but has an anime hesitancy to it. This results in an artificial expression of attraction, but is somewhat expected in the style of dialog.

Overall, it is worth the read. The story has massive potential, and was a wild ride through an amazing world. I am losing sleep over the fact that I have to wait till February to read more though!

This volume came out Wednesday, and keep an eye open for the next chapter coming February 2017!

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Dark Horse Comics provides an early copy and preview instructions to Constant Collectible.com in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts and opinions are the reflections of the author and do not reflect the marketing guides of Dark Horse or its affiliates.


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