The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 66 | “Blue Estate” Vol. 2 reviewed

Leaving Proof 66 | “Blue Estate” Vol. 2 reviewed
Published on Saturday, January 21, 2012 by
Blue Estate Vol. 2
  • (Image Comics, 2011; 120 pages, collects Blue Estate #5–8 originally published in single magazine form)
  • Original Story by: Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev
  • Script by: Andrew Osborne
  • Art by: Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Paul Maybury, Marley Zarcone, Tomm Coker, Andrew Robinson, and Peter Nguyen
  • Art Direction by: Viktor Kalvachev
  • Cover, Colours, and Design by: Viktor Kalvachev
  • List Price: $12.99 (US)/$16.25 (CDN)
  • Full Disclosure: This is a review of a digital copy of the book provided by the creative team

From the Back Cover: BLUE ESTATE is a twisted, darkly comic tale of ruthless gangsters, falling starlets and not-so-innocent bystanders on the mean streets of Hollywood. In Volume #2, the stakes increase and the body count rises when a pair of underachieving sons on opposite sides of the law betray their fathers, triggering paranoia, chaos, and a deadly case of Dexter-obsession. See killers battle, schemes unravel, assassins deployed and garden gnomes destroyed as the critically acclaimed, 100% cool underworld saga reloads in a bonus-packed new trade paperback edition from Image Comics.

What Worked: The first volume of Blue Estate, in my mind, was one of the most entertaining and beautifully illustrated trade paperbacks of 2011 and Viktor Kalvachev and his crew continue to impress with the crime-thriller saga’s second volume.

The conceit behind the art for the book, that of it being something of a “jam session” featuring different artists utilizing disparate styles, is fraught with potential pitfalls. As with any collaborative piece of sequential art, there is the risk that the individualized approaches may clash, or that the artists might get caught up in a game of one-upmanship, with each illustrator trying to top his peers with gratuitous displays of panel art virtuosity that hamper the storytelling. I’m happy to write that this does not happen here. As in the previous volume, characters look surprisingly on-model despite being rendered by each artist in his own personalized fashion. I concede that some readers might find the abrupt shifts in style jarring to some degree, but to me, when the technical quality of the art is this good, it just makes the reading experience all the more engaging and exciting.

My one real misgiving (if it could be called that) about the prior volume, plot- and pacing-wise, was that it was devoted mostly to introduction and set-up. Volume 2 has much more narrative substance to it, as we see various plot threads come together and some subplots from the previous volume resolved. I don’t know how many volumes Blue Estate is supposed to run, but it does feel like we’re at the midpoint of your standard three-part story structure.

The book’s “bonus features” go beyond the usual perfunctory offerings: besides individual issue cover reproductions and a sketch gallery, also included are pictures of the sculpted models that the artists use for reference and a collection of humourous “tweets” from various Blue Estate characters.

What Didn’t: Not a thing.

The Verdict: Blue Estate is one of the best comic books out there right now. It features great art, a wildly entertaining story laced with snappy dialogue, and the trade paperbacks offer very good value for your money. Very highly recommended.


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