Revolver by Matt Kindt

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Revolver by Matt Kindt

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The dilemma of choosing between apocalyptic amorality or mundane boredom writ large and vivid, despite being in just two colours.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Vertigo
ISBN: 9781401222413

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Meet Sam. He has a rather dull life, with a materialistic girlfriend, and a job in the arse-end of celebrity journalism and a boss he can't stand. All of which is preferential to waking up and finding his home city under attack - munitions going off, skyscrapers burning and people falling from them. He ends up fleeing with said editor, only to wake the next day back in this world. He will indeed fall to being snatched from each reality in turn, at set times of day, forced to suffer consumerism in one, looting in another, basic pay raises here, producing Samizdat bare-bones journalism for survivors there. But always with enough time to ask the important questions - how, and why?

And, of course, how it might end, if at all, which may or may not be in here - my unsubtle sign that this graphic novel has a plot you really need to discover. It also has superlative artistry. One world is blue and brown ink, the other is brown and blue, but we know exactly where we are. That's mostly because the worlds are both so different, even when the locations and characters are the same. However apocalyptic or mundane Sam's existences, both are measured and realistic, and Kindt combines the familiar in a unique way.

There's even another story in the page footers, where the page numbers are embedded as data in the sort of scrolling ticker-tape seen on news channels. Good business data clash with a hidden narrative about the world of the attack, until both blur. Revolver then is about our response to being inundated with sales figures, and tragedies reduced to numbers, as well as a powerful, dramatic story about one man (ie us) and his (ie our) ability or otherwise to shape the world around him (us).

Ever since comics first showed us being with super-powers they have also turned to look at what we ourselves might become, or what we might have to settle with. The buffoon in Kick-Ass by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr and the climax of the same author's WANTED have heralded it in vivid genre colours. Here, though, in vivid blue and brown is the apex to that - and done in a way most friendly to those not regularly reading graphic novels. Juxtaposing two horrors in cleverly designed ways yet remaining eminently readable, this is one book well worth exploring. I won't say it will change your life - but it's brilliant to see than attempted in these pages.

A different man in a new world can be seen in the brilliant The Arrival by Shaun Tan, which is even more artistic.

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