Overview

Fell #3

Review

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Fell #3

Credits

  • Words: Warren Ellis
  • Art: Ben Templesmith
  • Inks: Ben Templesmith
  • Colors: Ben Templesmith
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $1.99
  • Release Date: Nov 30, 2005

Detective Richard Fell goes out to buy a new suit and finds that nothing is easy in Snowtown.

After two weeks in the broken city of Snowtown, Richard Fell takes a personal day to find a new suit (since his last two were ruined when he was stabbed while he investigated his first two cases). His search takes him through the city and he learns more about this bizarre place and its inhabitants. He finally reaches a thrift shop and seems to find a kindred soul of sorts in the kindly, elderly owner, Ellen. Which is precisely when Richard finds a suicide bomber in the thrift store dressing room. Things are not what they seem– not with the store, not with the bomber, and not with Ellen. Unfortunately for Fell, he is literally right in the middle of it all and he must carefully find the path out if any of them are to survive.

Warren Ellis is arguably at the top of his game with this series. Fell is delicately balanced between characterization, action, and drama and with this third issue a pattern is beginning to emerge. Although this series revolves around Detective Richard Fell, he is really primarily a lynchpin. While the audience learns a little more about him with each issue, we learn far more about the other people he encounters. These stories are truly about the characters that inhabit Snowtown. Or perhaps, how Snowtown inhabits the characters. In this city right and wrong are always a shade of gunmetal gray. Despite this, however, the reader continues to meet people who are, somehow, ‘good’ and in some odd way give hope for the future of this delirium city.

Ben Templesmith is also on a roll with his art for this series. Here he gives us even more of his moody, atmospheric work. Despite Templesmith’s unique style, the faces on his figures are incredibly expressive of emotions. For example, Richard’s face is the picture of boyish happiness as he explores the thrift shop.

The color palette Templesmith uses for this series is another balancing act with a wonderful combination of bold strokes mixed with subtleties. Color and mood feed one another here. The fact that Templesmith handles his own inks and colors allows him to exactly control the visuals and lead to a great strength from the art.

Fell is an unqualified success on multiple levels. It is, as Ellis promised at the outset, an "affordable" reader-friendly comic that anyone can jump into at any time. Despite the 16-page limitation, the stories continue to be as densely packed as the best 22-page story. It also continues to take elements from real life and twist them to satirical ends. For example, the brazen drug dealer and the battered prostitute are elements one could find in any major metropolitan area, but the dealer’s attitude toward cops and the prostitute’s fierce, almost feral expression, transform them into warped mirrors of reality. Although, I am still trying to figure out what the story is on the person dressed like a nun and wearing a Richard Nixon Halloween mask.

In other hands a series such as this might not work but with Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith Fell seems on track for a long life. Issue #3 is as good a place to start as any; although you might find it difficult to leave once you cross over into Snowtown.

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