Jul 12, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix
Crater XV revisits the "Arctic Pirate" Army Shanks, who is still drowning his sorrows in misery after the events of Kevin Cannon's 2009 graphic novel Far Arden—a very fine graphic novel in its own right. But Cannon somehow manages to one-up himself in this latest effort. Crater XV represents one of the finest examples of storytelling via cartooning available.
The basic engines driving the storyline are a young girl's dream of space travel, a plot by a Siberian group that pits Canada against them in a race to the moon, and the apparent reunion of Army Shanks with his long lost crush from his orphanage days. The story is fun and inventive, full of twists and turns and moments of surprising honesty. But it's the interwoven humor that stands out most of all. From spot-on satire of government bureaucracy to the rubbery nature of the sharp cartooning and character designs, to the liberties Cannon takes with sound effects, to sight gags, to silly stuff such as pirate-themed pornography-the types of humor are myriad, and Cannon hits on all cylinders. As in Far Arden, this makes the story particularly poignant when more serious moments occur.
While Crater XV is a sequel, it's fine as a standalone too. Nothing in the comics canon (pardon the pun) currently merits a higher recommendation in this reviewer's opinion. (www.topshelfcomix.com)
Author rating: 9.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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