Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Red Star Volume 1 The Battle of Kar Dathras Gate

Cover (almost)
Red Star takes place in a world were Magic as been militarized and old Soviet WW II technology.

Maya Antares recalls the battle of Kar Dathra. A battle where she lost her husband. Nine years after that battle she still doesn't know what really happened.

Red Star will take you through the personal tragedy of Maya and Marcus Antares, the plight that war can inflict on the people and the mystic embodiment of the conflict that is devastating the Red Star World.

How is it?

When Maya Antares visits her husband's grave on a military cemetery,  she reminisces on the battle of Kar Dathra. This was the battle where she lost her husband and that changed her forever. The retelling of the battle is a somewhat simple war story. The story focuses on the effect the war has on its participants and less on the battle. There is no glorification of war. This is a very Apocalypse Now approach on the subject.

Military Cemetery
In the last act of the book things take a turn for the mystic and spiritual with the introduction of Troika and Pravda. The first is a dark figure that embodies lies and iron and the latter freedom and justice. There is little ambiguity in this first volume. Personally I like my stories to not be so clear cut in the moral department, but that is a minor issue with the overall story.

I absolutely love the art. You can almost feel the steel under you feet, the heat from the furnaces and the taste of Soviet Communism on your lips.  You shiver in the presence of Troika and rejoice in the company of Pravda (The Red Woman). The ambiance that the art in Red Star creates is one of the reason this book has remained on of my favorites over the years. And the coloring is a big part of that. I especially like the color palette used when the story takes place in the Sky Furnaces (big battleships). The red, orange and yellow colors combined with the geometrical structures accentuate the feel of raw Soviet WW II era technology.

Marcus Charges
The one point I didn't like is the lettering. There are way to many different types of lettering to keep track of. Also there are some issues with the placement of the text. This happens in text heavy panels when the text overlaps the action of the panel.


Verdict?

I like this book a lot. Like I told on my Top 10 Sci-Fi books on My Shelves article, this was the first book I read after a 10 or so year hiatus I took from comics. The art is the strongest aspect in Red Star Volume 1 The Battle of Kar Dathras Gate. It is truly amazing. The plot might turn some off. If you don't like themes with that Soviet WW II feel then you probably won't enjoy this as much as I did.

I first read this book in Portuguese, published by Devir. Sadly the following volumes were not published by Devir. Most Red Star books are still available for purchase. If you're interested I recommend the oversize editions. The art deserves them.


In Portuguese


Publisher: Archangel Studios
Year: 2003
Authors: Christian Gossett
ISBN9728631480



In English

Publisher: Archangel Studios
Year: 2001
Pages: 144
Authors: Christian Gossett
ISBN1582401977

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