Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Strange Attractors

By Reboot

Strange Attractors is a graphic novel put out through Archaia Entertainment that is one of the many recent endeavors of writer Charles Soule and also features art by Greg Scott, and Complexity Maps by Robert Saywitz. You might be saying to yourself, what the hell is a complexity map and why does someone get such a specific credit like that in a graphic novel? I promise you'll at least have a vague idea of what that is by the end of this review.

Full disclosure before I dive right in, myself and Wilderowens did attend the book release party for this graphic novel a few weeks ago. There we got to talk to Charles Soule briefly as well as Robert Saywitz. I was already familiar with Charles' work on Strongman so going into this I had an idea of the kind of quality story telling I should expect, but this book honestly surpassed any expectations that I could have possibly had. I was first impressed by the quality of the printed book itself. Archaia has always produced beautiful looking books. This particular hardcover holds true to the high benchmark that Archaia has for its products in terms of binding, paper quality, etc. And for 128 pages of goodness at a $19.95 price point, we're already looking good before I even start reading it.

Upon reading, you'll see that 
Strange Attractors is a loving tribute to New York City. From Charles' intro, to all the different kinds of people we meet along the way, you can tell that there is a deep level of sincerity and sentiment for this city that never wavers even for a moment. I understand many of you might want to know what the plot is here, and I get that. It's almost impossible to describe this very intricate story without spoiling something so I will try to be as vague as possible. A mathematics student, Heller Wilson, is working on his thesis. In order to do so, he needs to find a Dr. Spencer Brownfield who can give him the insight he needs to put everything together. However, once he meets Dr. Spencer Brownfield, Henry gets dragged into a world of uncertainty. Henry will have to fight not only for his thesis, but for his lover, his sanity, and for the fate of all of New York City. 

Charles does an exceptional job of keeping you interested every panel of every page. This, of course, would not have been possible without Greg Scott's brilliant eye catching art and the ingenious idea of incorporating these gorgeous complexity maps from Robert Saywitz. These maps that we see sprinkled through the story are key to helping Henry and Dr. Spencer Brownfield keep New York City going. It might not make a great deal of sense now, but if I could tell you exactly what they do without spoiling anything then it just wouldn't be that layered of a story, now would it?

Complexity Map by Robert Saywitz
I personally cannot recommend this book enough. I started reading the book leaving the book release party and finished it on the train to work in the morning despite being thoroughly exhausted and being able to use a good mass transit nap. If I wasn't the type of person to hold back from using words like "perfect" to describe a book, then I would be using it right now. Editor's Note: I would totally be comfortable with using the word perfect for this book.  - Wilderowens   

I implore you all to go pick this up at your local comic shops, to ask them to bring it in if they haven't yet or are sold out, and to tell other people you know that want a graphic novel that pushes the medium to new heights to do the same. If you have no other way to get this book, order it on Amazon which it is available through as of May 28th. Do whatever you have to to own this.

Charles Soule is an absolute fantastic writer that is worth every moment of your time. He's currently working on Swamp Thing starting from issue 19 and will be starting on Red Lanterns next month with issue 21. Pick up Strange Attractors so you can say you knew about him before he got big, because I'm telling you right now, he's going to be. You know how you didn't know who Scott Snyder was until Batman came out and by then everyone was all over his stuff? Don't make the same mistake with Charles Soule. He signed my copy of Strange Attractors with this phrase and I'd like to end with that here; "Stay complicated. You excel at it and we need it."

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