The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 151 | Blue Estate, Vol. 3 trade paperback review

Leaving Proof 151 | Blue Estate, Vol. 3 trade paperback review
Published on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 by
Artist-writer Viktor Kalvachev and his motley band of talented illustrators close out the excellent Blue Estate with a bang in the caper comic series’ third and final trade paperback.

Key Review Points

Pros:

  • Brings a satisfying and hilarious conclusion to one of the best “caper comics” in recent memory.
  • Outstandingly executed, stylistically diverse art.
  • Bonus material featuring character sheets and shots of unfinished pages are a treat for comic art fans and students alike.

Cons:

  • None of significant note.

Publication Details

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Publication Date: October 2012
  • Original Story by: Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev
  • Script by: Andrew Osborne
  • Art by: Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robert Valley, Andy Kuhn, Rev. Dave Johnson, Kieran, Aleksi Briclot, Peter Nguyen
  • Art Direction by: Viktor Kalvachev
  • Cover, Colors, and Design: Viktor Kalvachev
  • Format: 120 page full-color trade paperback. Collects Blue Estate #s 9–12, originally published in single magazine format by Image Comics in 2012.
  • List Price: $12.99 (digital review copy provided free-of-charge by the publisher)
  • Availability: On sale on October 10, 2012

Page Previews (Click on images to view in larger size)


Suggested Background Reading

Get caught up on our Blue Estate coverage by reading our reviews of the first two volumes of the series:

We also reviewed the trade paperback collection of artist and writer Viktor Kalvachev’s excellent debut comics work, Pherone:

Full Review

At this point in the trade paperback series review cycle for Image Comics’ Blue Estate, there’s not a lot more I can write about the book that I haven’t written before in my reviews of the book’s prior two volumes.  The madcap crime caper plot is straight out of a Guy Ritchie heist film, and Andrew Osborne’s dialogue has all the snap and sizzle of something served up by a prime Quentin Tarantino. Despite a fairly effective recap page and a satisfying conclusion that wraps up all the loose ends while leaving some room for a potential sequel, readers returning to the series will likely have to dig out their copies of the preceding instalments of the story and reacquaint themselves with the tortuous plot threads running through this crime-themed action-comedy book—keeping track of who’s double-crossed whom in the lead-up to Vol. 3 and the various prizes at stake will require a little backtracking if one has been trade-waiting the series, but it’s a delightful chore given the beautifully rendered and diverse art from Blue Estate‘s elite squad of outstanding artists.

The many artists of Blue Estate, Vol. 3 (click to view in larger size)

Some readers might find the “jam session” philosophy grounding the book’s aesthetics can make for a somewhat uneven visual experience given the disparate styles employed by the artists—the artists’ influences reflect traditional comic book line art to magazine artwork from the Swinging Sixties and everything in between—and the fact that each artist draws only a few pages or even just a few panels in sequence at a time, but when read alongside the first two volumes, Blue Estate, Vol. 3 takes on more visual consistency thanks to Kalvachev’s unifying vision as the title’s overall art director.

Like the two trade paperback collections before it, Blue Estate, Vol. 3 has a number of “bonus features” such as a full-size reproductions of the comprised issues’ covers, concept art, and humorous messages from the book’s characters. The character sheets (which are actually photographs of reference models hand-sculpted by Kavalchev) and shots of the pages at various stages of completion provide some excellent insight into the creative process.

The Blue Estate series is a most unique beast: Fun and funny, sexy and violent but without a trace of genuine malice, visually indulgent but not at the cost of storytelling functionality. Definitely one of my favorite titles from the past few years, with a core creative team that deserves all the attention and good words they have received from fans and critics so far, and much, much more. Very Highly Recommended.

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