Willem van den Oever's Reviews > Arctic-Nation

Arctic-Nation by Juan Díaz Canales
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Nov 21, 11

bookshelves: in-dutch, comics, thriller-mystery
Read on November 21, 2011

With the first ‘Blacksad’ comic, writer Díaz Canalez and artist Guarnido amazed the reader with a detective-story, populated with animals, which contained enough edge to lift it above any kind of Disney rip-off. It was a layered, mature story, brilliantly executed and drawn.

With the series second chapter, ‘Arctic Nation’ – a kidnap story with its roots placed firmly in a 1950’s America when racism ruled its society – Guarnido’s art is as excellent as his previous work. Having been an animator, the guy has a great sense for expressions, poses and framing, making everything look extremely cinematic and visually attractive. There are wonderful little things happening in each frame, making it worthwhile to linger on each frame – or to simply reread the entire novel – just to discover all the information each panel contains.

Less fortunate perhaps, is writer Díaz Canalez. He has written an intricate, complex story that would make any Chandler-fan proud, setting up both character and background swiftly and precisely, without using a word too much on anything. Nevertheless, Canalez seems to be greatly limited by the boundaries of the 56 pages this book could contain. There’s hardly enough room to let the story breath. Doubling in pages would have given the story more space to develop in a more natural way. Though there’s nothing wrong with the plot itself, a slower pace would have been friendlier towards its reader.

That being said, the ‘Blacksad’-series seems to be on the way towards making a great series with this second episode. With powerful, straightforward and daring storylines and wonderful, mesmerizing artwork, it’s one worth paying attention to.
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