Sunday, August 14, 2011

Demo Review

AiT/Planet Lar
Softcover Trade Paperback
328 pages
$19.95 (2005) $24.99 (2008)
ISBN 9781932051421

Contributors: Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, and Ryan Yount

Reprints: Demo #1-12 (of 12)

Synopsis: Twelve stories about unusual young people.  They include:

  1. NYC - A girl and her boyfriend dream of escaping to New York, but she takes medication to hold back dangerous psychic powers
  2. Emmy - A young girl works a terrible job at a gas station.  She is an outcast and deathly afraid of talking - people do whatever she says with potentially tragic, catastrophic results
  3. Bad Blood - A girl attends her father's funeral and is reunited with her half brother.  He wants to share a family secret which will change her life forever
  4. Stand Strong - A young man grew up in a rough, industrial town.  He got in trouble with the law, but now works at his father's factory.  His friends are still up to no good and need his special ability to pull off their latest theft
  5. Girl You Want - A girl is perceived as the physical manifestation of what those around her desire.  She feels lost amidst the gaze of others, but finally meets someone who 'sees' the real her
  6. What You Wish For - A boy growing up in the suburbs feels like an outcast because he's the only Asian kid.  One day he snaps and unleashes an unholy fury
  7. One Shot, Don't Miss - A soldier has the ability to never miss a target, but doesn't want to kill.  What does he do when his family back home is counting on him
  8. Mixtape - A boyfriend finds his girlfriend dead and a mixtape with "For You" on it next to her body.  He plays it and her spirit comes back to spend the day with him.  They rehash their relationship and what led up to her death
  9. Breaking Up - A couple meet over coffee to finally break up and review their relationship through the good times and bad
  10. Damaged - A successful young businessman meets a homeless girl on the street who knows all about his life.  He investigates further to see if she's for real and tragedy strikes
  11. Midnight to Six - Three friends made a childhood vow to remain slackers for life.  Now they are young adults working the midnight shift cleaning a department store.  Two of the three have grown up, but the third can't let go of the past.  Their friendship is about to end
  12. Mon Dernier Jour Avec Toi (My Last Day with You) - Two lovers spend their last night together before jumping off a roof + a story written by Becky Cloonan with art by Brian Wood
Pros: Done-in-one short stories allow almost instantaneous access from any point within the series, Cloonan's art is interesting and she experiments with different styles, Wood gives us simple themes and messages for each story, nominated for an Eisner award - best limited series

Cons: Black and white, somewhat amateurish (most likely on purpose = indie), art is a bit simple/crude at times

Mike Tells It Straight: Wood and Cloonan give us a set of simple stories focusing mostly on teens with extraordinary powers, but also a few with common young adult situations playing out.  The book is pure indie in black and white with all the angsty teen stuff you would expect.  It received a lot of praise and spawned a second series published by DC.  If you're curious to check out an indie book and dig young adult themes then this series is perfect.

TO BUY and Recommendations:

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