Mza's Reviews > Dungeon: Monstres � Vol. 4: Night of the Ladykiller

Dungeon by Joann Sfar
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Jul 18, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from July 12 to 15, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Either I'm a bit burnt out on Dungeon 's cynicism, or Sfar and Trondheim are running low on fresh ways to spin their characters. In terms of humour and emotional range, the two adventure stories contained in this volume still fly miles above most of their counterparts in North American comix -- in America, Hellboy comes closest (but can't touch Dungeon's best) -- but the wonder and surprise of earlier installments are missing here, replaced by horror and magickal dei ex machina. Although Dungeon has always been bloody, violence has generally been subordinated to other themes -- friendship, lust, political chess, etc. In "Night of the Ladykiller" and "Ruckus at the Brewers", violent acts are both the main course and primary means of conflict resolution. Jean-Emmanuel Vermot-Desroches renders the gore in "Ladykiller" with the delicate, finely-hatched lines and earthy tones I've come to think of as the Christophe Blain Style, which fits Dungeon well because it can capture the series' darker moods while still being cartoony. Yoann's stiff, painted work on "Ruckus" fares less well -- his panels are murky, cluttered, and static. (The latter quality especially kills action comix.) (Has anyone done great painted comix?) Ultimately, though, Dungeon floats or sinks with Sfar's and Trondheim's imaginations. I like that their comix are explicitly about something, that a theme inevitably suggests itself through the boom-boom and the ha-ha -- familial disappointment for "Ladykiller", career ambition for "Ruckus" -- but their ideas work better when they're not treated as afterthoughts.
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