A Review of Virgin Comics GAMEKEEPER #1

Hey guy’s here’s a review I did regarding Virgin Comics’ GAMEKEEPER #1. I think you’ll dig.


By HeroicTimes
Copyright 2007 HeroicTimes

Virgin has been one of those companies that for whatever reason has not been on my radar. Write it off to bias, or previous such projects of big name types fronting books written by other creators. The whole thing typically rubs me as hacks trying to cash in on a fad, or sell to Hollywood.

So for the record that was my prejudice going into reading Guy Ritchie’s GAMEKEEPER. Off the bat, I have to tell you the LOSER style covers (An earlier series done by Andy Diggle)… are a really good start.

I feel my prejudice waning.

That said, I am not a fan of multiple covers, especially when they hike the price up on some covers. I don’t pay more for a cover, or believe in buying multiple copies to get different covers.

However, to my surprise the best cover is not one of the variants done by the legendary John Cassaday and Greg Horn respectively(shown below), the best cover is the regular one done by Neelakash K.

An Amazing cover, that I believe shows Andy Diggle’s art direction in its effective simlicity. Gorgeous cover.

Here are the runnerups:

Now onto the interior.

The story is written by Andy Diggle, drawn and colored by Mukesh Singh, letters by Ravikiran B.S. and Nilesh S. Mahadik (If I spelled that wrong I’m reviewing this from a PDF, and some things are hard to make out), edited by Mackenzie Cadenhead.

From page one, I’m really liking the pacing and the art of the story. Both parts doing a good job of pulling me into the world of the comic, right till I hit the first ad.

Virgin should take a hint from IMAGE and APE ENTERTAINMENT, and similar companies, and place the ads in the back of the book.

This type of story break, is why I gave up on MARVEL COMICS in serial format. Too much of a bad thing.

Okay back to GAMEKEEPER…

I’m struck by the wonderful loose linework, and lush colors of Mukesh’s artwork. Very watercolor like presentation, with a bit of oil vibrancy thrown in. Good job for what is more than likely computer coloring.

There’s a wonderful pacing, a nice rhythm between the words and images, that begins to build, to draw the reader in. I can tell you the exact page, the book drew me in, the exact page when I started digging it.

The exact moment I knew this book was more than jut a vanity project. It was this scene:

o The gamekeeper has come across a runaway in his domain.

o He asks the boy (who refuses to go home):

o “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

o “Of course I am” The boy answers “But there’s worse than you out there.”

Diggle has a reputation as a good writer.

He’s living up to it.

There’s a YOUNG GUNS / “regulators lets ride” (totally 80s reference to one of my fave westerns of the Brat Pack era) vibe, to the story of the old man who gives misfits/runaways a place on his ranch, a place in the world.

But that idyllic moment comes and goes quickly, as the story veers down decidedly darker roads.

I need to say a word about Mukesh’s coloring here. I love the use of primary colors in this book. It’s like Argento’s SUSPIRIA, the colors are a great storytelling device in this book, the colors are houses, and woe onto you if you enter the wrong one.

Needless to say all the characters find themselves by issues end, in houses the color of blood, and the issue ends on a cliffhanger… where you get the distinct impression that all the death you have seen so far… is just the calm.

I’ve got to tell you. I really liked this issue. So much so I want to pick up the next one. The writing by Diggle is layered and involving and addictive, and the art by Mukesh Singh is lush, and beautiful and compelling.

Mukesh’s use of color, really elevates and highlights the storytelling.

And you know what? Forget all those other variant artists. If Neelakash K. can continue to produce covers of the quality of this one, you’ve got the best cover artist you’re going to find.

If these guys are representative of the talent pool that VIRGIN has to draw from, I think MARVEL and DC might want to start worrying. I see a day when everyone’s going to be outsourcing their artchores to VIRGIN COMICS. J

So in summation, I was not intending to pick up a VIRGIN comic, but Andy Diggle’s GAME KEEPER (And no offense to Guy Ritchie, I dug his LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, but this appears to be all Diggle. And I’ve got to tell you, that’s not a bad thing) has me sold.

If future issues build on this strong start, and they keep the ads out of the middle of the book, I see GAMEKEEPER being a keeper for a lot of people. I give it a solid B.

On a scale of pass, read, or Buy. This is a Buy. Recommended.



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