Shrapnel: Hubris #1


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Shrapnel: Hubris #1


  • Words: Nick Sagan & Clinnette Minnis
  • Art: Concept Art House
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Jun 9, 2010

Have you ever listened to a conversation where the events being talked about are interesting, but you don’t know any of the people so it doesn’t really mean anything to you?  Shrapnel: Hubris is a lot like that if you’re a new reader.  It’s the sequel to Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising, and is a bit of a mixed bag. 

Shrapnel: Hubris #1 starts with a recap, which sets up a protagonist by running through his life story.  It feels forced, like the opening scene of a video game, without the wild action scenes and promise of exciting gameplay.  The panels were a series of posed snapshots from the male character’s life with captions that set him up as a tragic hero.   There’s a decent amount of information in this opening sequence, but it was presented blandly.  Strangely enough, the character that appears here isn’t even the focus of the story.

It picks up after this, though.  The dialogue is a lot more casual, which makes the story flow better.  There’s a decent amount of back and forth in the military meeting scenes, which gives the story a good flow.  The personal dialogue, however, was different.  Usually, political and strategic meetings are stiff and verbose, with characters speaking for long stretches each turn, while conversations between friends or enemies are more casual and organic.  Nick Sagan and Clinnette Minnis’ writing flips that around.  The man Captain Narayan reports to, one of the highest authorities in the book, speaks the most casually and naturally, while Narayan’s dialogue with her friends and associates is very monologue-y.  It seems like too much "telling," where the characters are just giving speeches with the intent of giving the reader information. The dialogue is not only too long on each person’s part, it’s lacking in personality, as most characters have the same voice.

The more I read, the more I realized that while the story is good and the art itself is really pleasant, the writer didn’t write this for a comic book.  In fact, save for a few wordless panels, the pictures don’t enhance the story at all.  The writers did a very thorough job describing the scenes with dialogue, so much so that the art didn’t have much of a role in the reading experience. 

The good thing about this book is that you get a lot out of your money.  Even more if you’ve read Aristeia Rising.  It’s 64 pages with a lot of story at a cover price that usually gets you far less.  Also, the writing, while very dense throughout this issue, seems to be opening up.  With the introductions and recaps out of the way, I have a feeling that issue two will be a much more enjoyable read.

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