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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/12/2008 Archived Entry: "Graphic novel review: Lower Regions"

Lower Regions
by Alex Robinson
Top Shelf Productions

Review by Tom Good

This small book is a treat, a wordless comic in a fantasy RPG-style setting, in which a female warrior descends into a monster-filled subterranean realm to rescue a man who is trapped there. Though the main character's low-cut top and short skirt are, I suppose, standard for the genre, her face really sets her apart. She looks much more like a normal woman than a fashion model, and her expressive face reflects a wide range of feelings. Robinson doesn't insist on always drawing her as a pretty pinup, so right from the start her adventures have a kind of emotional credibility, and I wondered if she were based on a real person. Wordless comics must work a bit harder to convey the thoughts of their characters through action, facial expressions, and context. In Lower Regions the story is easy to follow and the results are very satisfying.

Robinson's panels have a very finished look to them, and the pages display a nice balance between solid black areas and white. If I flip through the pages upside down without trying to interpret the drawings, I can still feel this balance between light and dark flowing through the book. There's no "filler" material here: the front inside cover begins the tale, the back inside cover provides a kind of epilogue, and each panel in between moves the story along. Some panels taken out of context and viewed individually would still be interesting. Many, like a shot of a giant evil-looking cat asleep on a pile of bones, for example, suggest a whole story by themselves.

Lower Regions packs a lot of fun into its pages, and I recommend it.

See also:

Tricked, by Alex Robinson, review by Tom Good

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