Story by: Margaret Atwood and Ken Stacey
Art by: Ken Stacey
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Jumping ahead a bit from the first issue, this second book of War Bears continues the story of Alain and his crime fighting creation, now getting near to the top of the charts of Canadian comics during World War II. Here we are exposed to more sides of some of the main characters, each scene adding some new layers of dimension, and we also get a double dose of Oursonette, the comic within the comic.
I’m still super pumped that Atwood is writing in this medium again, and I marvel at her ability to display meticulous attention to historical accuracy, that is also enhanced and exaggerated, in a true nod to the comics of yesteryear. The plot is pretty straightforward: a slice of life look at a struggling artist, like some we’ve seen before, sure. But it also invites a lot of interest, at least for me. The characters are all quite flawed, and none of them, Alain included, seem super likable, but that’s probably because we don’t want to recognize many similar flaws in ourselves.
I was happy to read the black and white depictions of Oursonette. These stories are very reminiscent of their inspirations. The dialogue and narration in these comics are straight out of a past time. The main story is a little less active, but still drives home a lot of points that I am not always expecting. My biggest gripe was the ending of this issue, which left me feeling a little lost. It didn’t feel like any sort of ending, just a “well, we’ve come to the last page” sort of thing. Could just be me, too.
The art, as in the previous issue, is great. I love Ken Steacy’s style, and his storytelling is superb. Vivid colors add to the lifelike feel that he gives all of the characters, even the anthropomorphic ones. This book is a joy to look at and I want to see more, and read more. I hope you do, too.