Double-Review Thursday!

By | Thursday, April 26, 2007 Leave a Comment
It's Double-Review Thursday! (He says as if it's an ongoing feature.)

I picked up God Save the Queen yesterday largely on the basis of one line in the solicitation copy: "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN tells the story of a rebellious teenager who falls in with a group of slacker faeries." Now I don't know about you but I, for one, am really curious to see what a 'slacker faery' is! And since I only spent about ten bucks on pamphlet books this week, I had just enough of my comic allowance left over to get this.

I've only got a handful of books by Mike Carey, and none of them particularly stood out for any reason. Nothing wrong with any of them, either, but he's not an author I've been particularly inclined to follow. John Bolton I was almost wholly unfamiliar with, but his skill and style as an illustrator at least seemed pretty self-evident on the cover. So I really was sold on the book because of the 'slacker faery' bit.

Indeed, the heroine does indeed fall in with what you might call 'slacker faeries' -- I'd be more inclined to call them 'faery punks', but that might just be my American upbringing. And indeed the Queen of the fairies ultimately enlists her help to regain her throne. And everyone lives happily ever after. Sort of. (I could go into more detail, but I don't want to spoil the book for anyone.)

A few things struck me in particular. First, the storytelling was quite interesting because it was continually presented as a small chapter of a larger story. So, as I was reading, I kept coming to scenes that seemed like I should know a lot more backstory and/or explanations than I did. And just as I started thinking that, the next page would slyly catch me up to speed. The timing was excellent across the board. I had all my questions answered just as I began to realize that I needed to ask questions. And, in taking that approach, the story seems much larger than it is by making it appear as if it's part of a larger canon.

The next aspect of storytelling that I liked was how the book was presented as two separate storylines at first -- one with this teenaged girl, the other in the faery realm -- and they began slowly weaving together, so that at the end, we had one resolution for both stories. I was rather impressed with how masterfully that was done.

Bolton's artwork was well-done overall. He seemed to know how to handle Carey's story from a layout/structural perspective, and his illustration skills are quite good, as noted above. There was a consistency to the characters, even though some of them went through some substantial physical changes throughout the story. It was also an interesting blend of realistic and emotive artwork -- somewhere strangely between Alex Ross and David Mack. A difficult place to try to sit, but Bolton pulled it off well, I thought.

That said, I would NOT recommend this book to everyone. It definitely feels like it comes from the Vertigo line (which it indeed is from) and, as such, probably isn't the type of thing your average comic book fan is going to latch onto. But it IS good book, and worth picking up if you're looking for a good story and to see good comic book art. If you like Sandman, you'll probably enjoy this... though, if you like Sandman, you probably got this already anyway.
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