Point Pleasant #2 - Eyes of the Beholder
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
By: Steve Saville
Creator(s): Chad Lambert
Publishers: Twisted Gate (Self Published)
Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing Chad Lambert’s interpretation of the Mothman story “Point Pleasant” #1, and a wonderful task it was too. Therefore I opened Point Pleasant #2 Eyes of the Beholder with a good deal of tingling anticipation. Appropriate really when one takes into account the tension and mystery that dominates this dark and ultimately unsettling narrative.
Essentially this comic is a revisiting and reworking of the Mothman story. We have the references made to bridge collapse as well as characters such as Chief Cornstalk and the men in black exploring the space /time continuum. We are on familiar ground and anyone who has seen the Mothman Prophecies movie or read Lambert’s earlier comic will find themselves instantly ‘at home.’ It is, for those new to the story, an intriguing tale that explores that shadowy space between this world and other realities and what happens when the veneer between the two tears a little.
The problem with all of this is that Lambert, in revisiting previously charted waters, runs the risk of becoming repetitive or open to accusations of being fixated. I am pleased to report that he skilfully avoids and negates these potential criticisms and it is full credit to him for the way that he manages to ensure that his latest work has vital and important points of difference from his earlier outing.
The most obvious difference is in the art work. The earlier comic was often visually experimental this latest edition is far more orthodox in its appearance. This is by no means a criticism since each and every page is meticulously planned and beautifully executed. The opening page providing an excellent example of this. The variety of angles used in the five frames successfully builds tension, the movement from the opening frame establishing shot through to the extreme close up that ends the page draws us into the story and ensures that we can hardly wait to turn the page to see just what is about to happen. The skilful use of black just adds to the sense of foreboding. The rest of the comic shows just as much awareness of the need to engage the reader’s emotions through slow and careful revelation. And just in case we were about to mourn the less experimental feel of the comic then the cover should be enough to keep us satisfied.
Lambert matches the visual with his well controlled and edgy narrative. Bits of the puzzle are carefully revealed and the reader is able to piece together the mystery in such a way that the ending does not really come as a surprise. Hints are dropped and clues left to guide the reader towards the inevitable conclusion just before the climatic event in the comic takes place.
It is worth mentioning that this is a tense and gruesome story but there is an almost total absence of graphic violence. Even the one act of violence that we do witness on the page mostly takes place just out of the frame. The tense atmosphere is created through the portrayal of the trauma felt by the characters, Lambert’s writing plays a major part here as does Pun’s careful selection of expression and masterly use of shading and contrast.
It is only after we have closed the covers that we realise that despite solving the mystery we are still no nearer to figuring out whether or not the Mothman actually exists and so Lambert leaves us satisfied but still desperate for more. Variations on a theme, yes, boring, never.
In a Word: Variegated.
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