Sunday 4 October 2009

The Compleat Next Men, Vol. 1, by John Byrne

Interesting to read Byrne working on his own characters. There’s some wonderfully dynamic, rough-hewn art in here, but the story is very slow. Some pages (especially in the M4 backup strip) look a lot like Frank Miller, as if to say, I can do that style too, you know, but it only points up the crucial difference between them – Miller’s an artist in every sense of the word; much as I enjoy his work, Byrne is an artist in a much narrower sense: he creates the art for comics.

Unlike the other artists that worked under the Legend banner for Dark Horse (Mignola, Miller, Aragones), there’s no sense here of a vision being expressed; it feels workmanlike. That’s not to say it isn’t very entertaining, but it explains why Byrne returned to working on other people’s properties, rather than continuing to develop this one.

The Compleat Next Men, Vol. 1, by John Byrne, IDW Publishing, tpb, 432pp.

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