Comics Anonymous


GLADSTONE’S SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS #1-4 by Craig
September 6, 2011, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: , , , ,

I must admit – I knew nothing of this book until I saw it on the stand of my Local Comic Book Shop some month’s ago – which wasn’t difficult as it was the brightest one on the stand. It must have passed me by in Previews, but standing in the shop there were a few things that grabbed my attention enough for me to take a “punt”. The cover art reminded me a little of Gabriel Ba’s wonderful Umbrella Academy (one of my all time favourite books) with it’s thick black outlines and cartoony style, and the concept (making some pretty big assumptions on the title) – “A school for super-villains”. Sounded pretty unique.

I’m now four issues in and still loving this book, it’s a breath of fresh air from your standard superhero (or villain) book. It’s always nice to step into a world where there’s no existing continuity (except some little nods to other Image books) and you can enjoy reading the story without wondering what else you need to read for it to make sense. The writing manages to strike a good balance for it’s audience – this isn’t a Rated M for Mature kind of book, but at the same time there’s lots here for both young and old. The colours and characters are going to appeal to a younger audience, but some of the themes covered can be pretty thought provoking (see issue four for an excellent discussion on the importance of comic books – how meta!).

The stunning cover art visuals continue inside too – you’ve never seen a comic like this, using every possible colour you can imagine to fill it’s pages. Every turn of the page provides something new and unexpected each time, sometimes feeling like stills that have been pulled straight from an animated feature.

And then there’s the lettering! I imagine there won’t be many reviews I’ll write in my lifetime that talks about the lettering, but this is an exception. Every character get’s their own specialised font and stylized speech bubble to go with it, meaning you know exactly who’s talking and how they are saying (or thinking) it. There’s definitely none of those awkward moments where you’re reading lots of dialogue between two people and have to following the flow of speech bubbles to find who is saying it in the panel.

The book manages to move nicely between school day antics (à la Buffy/Veronica Mars style) to a very interesting subplot about the kid’s Super Hero/Villain parents, mixing in plenty of action packed panels. These might be kids at school, but when a schoolyard fight breaks out, it’s like none you’ve seen before with when the super powers kick in!

A nice little book that’s a good distraction in-between waiting for some more DC New 52 to come along. Has definitely piqued my interest to go find some more from Mark Andrew Smith (@MarkAndrewSmith), Armand Villavert (@ArmandArtist) and definitely Carlos Carrasco.

Craig @hastiecraig


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