Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Black Summer by Warren Ellis Review
Warren Ellis... sometimes you have to remember that one cool scene or nifty idea isn't enough for an entire story. I was hooked by the opening scene of a superhero killing the president, justifying it in his own twisted way. However, from there it goes down the standard path of, "Team of special soldiers were created, they've gone off the rails, now they need to be taken out." We've seen this plot played out in hundreds of different ways and this isn't that much different.
The majority of the book is spent not so much on plot but on allowing Juan José Ryp to meticulously illustrate huge panels of massive carnage. Gore has never been so eloquently depicted! Despite this attention to detail, it is not an excuse to shortchange plot and character development.
I will spare you from diving into spoiler territory since this isn't an altogether bad read if you're an Ellis fan, but the final plot "twist" is telegraphed so strongly early in the story that you are completely aware that everything you'll read will simply be getting you to that point. And once you reach the climax... if you're like me, you'll feel slightly let down. Yes, it's the only logical conclusion to the story, but it lacks the grand scale that Ellis I felt was trying for throughout the book.
Black Summer could have easily been improved by taking a few of the giant splash pages of violence and using them to develop the characters a bit further, dig into their psychological state, and explore some of the moral topic touched upon briefly throughout. That, and don't telegraph the ending so much!
View all my reviews at Goodreads