“Good night Espere. And please don’t burn anything.”
I used to be a fan of the Valiant comic series Shadowman, well let me clarify, I was a fan of the idea of Shadowman. A bi-racial man of African American descent inheriting power from an African spiritual system and delving into the history of that system as the series went on. That’s what I’d hoped for, what I got was something different and not at all satisfying, which is why when The Gentleman comic, written by Greg Anderson Elysée and published by Evoluzione, came out I was overjoyed to read it. I’m not sure what took me so long to do a review for it, but here it is. First…
Our story begins with a friend in need, as our main character Oliver shows his latest client and friend Clemens proof of his(Clemens’) wife’s infidelity and he is not taking it well, the pain is palpable, so much so that Clemens tries to self medicate with a 9mm pain killer after Oliver leaves. Ollie uses astral travel to stop his friend from taking his own life, he should have reminded him to listen to Chris Brown’s Loyal and not stress over it. Later that night Oliver has a nightmare about Lucy one of his ex-lovers, that could be a commercial for planned parenthood, and awakens to another former lover, Ralph, attempting to break-in to his apartment with a captivating young woman named Espere, who needs his help. They chat and she reveals that something explicitly not human broke into her apartment and she fled. This event is connected to the string of deaths surrounding Ralph and Oliver’s old cohorts and a deeper more disturbing mystery.
The first issue of this highlights why Elysée is one of my favorite comic book writers, he always makes a story feel like its scope and scale is vast and unknowable. This sort of writing works perfectly on a cosmic horror story such as The Gentleman, there is an air of foreboding hanging over this issue like death is around the corner, a death that seems to be coming for Oliver. I would be very surprised if Ollie lived through this and that will be sad since he seems like John Constantine without the "sad bastard streak" about him so if I’m right it will be sad to see him go. I wish there was a little more to this issue. Since it was a little short I was left wanting a little more, but I guess that’s a good thing isn’t it?
Artists Massimilano Veltri and Marco Pagnotta remind me of R. M. Guéra, from Scalped. Their art is a heavy part of the tone in the comic, from the somewhat haggard lines of the pencils and inks to the dark and sometimes muddy colors. There is also a little bit of Mike Mignola in this comic as well, the cosmic horror we see on the bed at the end of this issue, looks like something that H.P. Lovecraft implanted in the Hellboy artists head. Evoluzione has a very good eye for artistic talent and this book just makes that point even more apparent.
If you love cosmic horror or any kind of horror, buy this book!
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This review was written by Ra'Chaun Rogers on behalf of Concept Moon Studios. If you enjoy his comic reviews click here or more!