Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie w/ Laurenn McCubbin and Marc Ellerby
From: Image Comics
Well hey, that was unexpected! I am an oft-proclaimed McKelvie fan, but I came a little late to the party and have not yet read the original Phonogram series. So, I came into this fresh, not having a clue what the story was going to be about. I may be lucky, because from a fresh point of view, this was a damn cool comic.
Cool really is the best word for it. This isn’t the most thought-provoking piece of fiction ever, though it does sometimes make you think. It isn’t going to make you cry, but in the limited time you’re with the main character, you will feel for her. The problem this kind of story, the kind that’s ingrained in pop culture, can run into is trying too hard to be cool. This story dodges that bullet gracefully, and leaves you wanting more.
In the world of Phonogram, phonomancers, sound-based magic users, are the norm. So much so that the general public, or at least those into the club scene, accept this power as an everyday occurrence. This second volume will feature seven one-shot stories, each based around a single and taking place in the same nightclub.
Penny B is the first phonomancer to take us to a club night that is “epic covered in sparklers and win-flakes.” That’s just a small taste of the hilariously pop-y dialogue that guides the book along. As much life as there is in Penny, there’s a lack of it in the supporting characters. Their more bland dialogue serves to quickly enamor the reader to Penny. While there’s a light tone to the majority of the story, there is a deeper undertone of how magic works, and how to access it within yourself that may require more than one reading to really get. Thankfully, the art is so gorgeous, it makes re-reading easy.
For those familiar with McKelvie’s art, you’re going to enjoy this more than ever. The characters this time are a bit more mainstream than those in his last effort, Suburban Glamour. The focus here is character, character, character, so the backgrounds are a bit sparse, but the looks on character faces are so expressive, they almost tell a story on their own. I felt the magic in the music, and it’s not even an auditory medium.
The backups in this first issue contrast each other about as much as two stories appearing in the same book can. The Ellerby drawn story is cutesy and pretty funny. You will believe in the power of love. McCubbin’s is an eerie-looking tale full of metaphor that coins the term “emosogynist,” which will instantaneously enter my vocabulary.
Three varied stories, three incredible artists, loads of metaphor and room for interpretation, cool outer stories with cooler underlying themes all make one great comic book. This is good comics, and a must buy today.