Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kranburn #8

Well, I thought I'd finally get around to putting up something for Kranburn #8.  I've had it in digital for a few months, and I've even been stalling while I waited for #9 to come out (it's running a bit late according to  Mostly I'm just not in a hurry since the webcomic is falling so far behind the issues that it seems what I could actually review would be limited without spoiling it, not that I get into detail so much.

The webcomic is more than 3/4 into #7.  There's a bit more to go, but the main story of the Berrik slave trade is out, and the twist, that the slavers missed a victim, has been shown.  At this rate, #7 won't be done on the webcomic for a couple months.  #8 wouldn't complete for more than a year from now.  I've been trying to review the issues as they came out, and I guess my hesitation is since I try to write to the perspective of someone who has read it and wants to comment, as opposed to telling someone what I think they would like about it.  Maybe I could try to add a bit of fluffing ....

So, let's try #8. 

If you're reading this, you probably like Kranburn for its vicious portrayal of a post apocalyptic wasteland and the stories of the degeneration of humankind.  Years after nearly all humans are killed in a horrifying plague of disease and violence, bands of survivors struggle with bands of marauders.  Lead character Brand is one of the "good guys" who also uses murderous violence to inspire fear in his enemies. 

I really enjoy the black and white art with some graytones, and how it's so well suited to starkly portray the violence humans are capable to "other" humans.  I also enjoy the story's telling, it's pretty straightforward, with a few twists and turns, but not too much convolution or confusing sub-stories.

#8 has another rather detailed cover, this time with some color, some yellow, and lots of red.  Smears and splashes and puddles of blood, on the tiled walls, the floor, and an almost naked guy with another enormous knife.  Looks like break time in the torture chamber.  This may or not be part of any of the story we're told, but it does fit in with the world it's created.

Inside, the story departs from the Berrik slave trade, to the Nong.  The Nong leader Lord is annoyed at Brand killing his troops.  Along the way we see examples of Lord's brutality but not so much about why he got that way, besides Brand having taken his leg and nose already.

We see back at Kranburn, the Nong deliver another message of body parts.  Sylvia is overcome with grief.  And that's all.  Maybe we'll see more of her in another issue.

Brand re-enters the story and sees (another) example of the Nong demonstrating how inhumane people can be.  A chance encounter leaves him overcome with grief.  And that's all.

This issue is at once superficial in its portrayal of the horrible violence people can do to their fellow humans, and obtuse in how it tries to show introspection.  Enticing gratuitous violence, and morose despair, don't mix as well here as I might like. 

I still like it.  I like what BMB does with this B&W style, and how the story explores the darker reaches of man's desperation.  In general I try to be optimistic about humankind's achievement and potential, but also be aware of our frailties and shortcomings, and how our life of webcomics and blogs, and food and shelter and safety even, can disintegrate rapidly.  We're our own worst enemies.

I recommend getting Kranburn, all of them.  I might even order the print #8 and #9 soon.