Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kranburn #7

I got the digital copy of Kranburn #7 a couple weeks ago, and I just ordered paper copies of #5, #6, and #7 too, so I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Since the comic releases are now almost a full issue ahead of the webcomic, I was concerned about writing a review that would spoil too much for webcomic readers, so I'll be even more vague than usual.  I will say that the story embarks in such a new direction that it makes me think Kranburn will be going on for a long time, instead of wrapping the story up in a couple more issues.  Now I sure could be wrong about that, but so much is added to the story that could be built on, it could go on for many more months.  I hope that's a good thing, we'll see.

The cover is another scene of a heavily geared-up post-apoc warrior, more straps and studs and buckles, and giant knives.  I'm odd in that it makes me think it must take forever to get dressed to go out in the wasteland, and it's funny to me that there's an "Alright, let's gear up and be on our way." in the story.

The story starts with a neat overhead view of a barricaded compound, noted as "Berrik, nine days ago."  Interesting way to start, and it was my first clue that this was not the last issue.  It's a nicely detailed scene that's actually rotated for the landscape page view.

From webcomic comments this is apparently based on an actual place in an actual town (Berwick?).  There are some things in the depiction of the town that get me thinking about how they could do that in the barbarous time of civilization's end in this story, like put up reinforced concrete wall panels for the barricades.  I shouldn't worry so much about this, or where they get fuel or ammunition, and giant knives, and just enjoy the story.

Brand is just leaving Berrick after some trading, apparently part of his travels prior to the eventful return to Kranburn that started Kranburn #1.  On the way out of the compound he meets John, who's a scout for Berrik just returning on his motorcycle, with giant face scars.  As they part company, and the story moves beyond the webcomic postings, I'll just say that there's quite little of Brand in this story, and much of characters we just meet, or hardly know.  The story proceeds with some of these people showing us yet another sleazy underworld market in this miserable future, and explores yet another way to show humans' capacity for cruelty to other humans.

The time shift to before the series' beginning was surprising but it makes me think there's potential to enrich the story overall (also potential to muck it up).  There are interesting ties to previous issues, that present some answers and even more questions about the story and where it may go.  I liked this issue a great deal for its usually nice aspects of stark art and brutal storytelling, and for the expanded scope of what it's trying to tell.

The unfolding of this expansion of the story could be excellent, or it could confuse and complicate things such that it may be impossible to write an ending.  Maybe even both.  I'm leaning towards excellent, hope I'm right.