DECISIONS: Tanya's Story & Saving Father - Indie Comics Review

In a recent Mini-Comic Book event in Miami I was given a variety of books to review by Cosmic Times Founder, artist, writer and Editor Martin T. Pierro. What I got was a treasure trove of Indie Comics. Hit the Jump for more.

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By E.F. "Manny" Camacho - 4/7/2014
Decisions1Cover

General Information
Released: Summer 2013 (Issue #1 Pilot May 2010)
Company Website: Cosmic Times


Editorial Biases

Gaining and reading Indie Comics is an interesting prospect. Because an Indie Comic has a variety of meanings to it. Sometimes those meanings are so left field that you have to wonder who the comic is for. Sometimes Indie creators follow their own artistic concepts to create something for themselves, regardless of what its implications will be for everyone else. That is the first set of thoughts I had run through my mind as I saw some of the beautiful cover and concept art of Decisions. I was expecting something very different from the norm. 


The Good

Decisions #1 is split into two specific stories with crossover characters, that have yet to be born, intervening like apparitions through time to help their would be parents 'make a decision' that will not only effect their lives but whether or not these future-children actually come into being. The concept is enthralling and almost feels like a particular exercise in critical thinking.

The initial, "Tanya's Story" is captivating even if it is mired in adolescent undertones with a hint of harshness that would (on its own) unsettle the most dauntless of readers. However works at tugging our heartstrings and emotionally unsettling the reader enough that a shouting match at the pages of the book, that don't shout back in the conventional manner, are going to be heard.

The second story, "Saving Father", followed an equally frustrated character through the possible future of his own death and facing the consequences of what will happen with or without the outcome but used a more poetic set of imagery to unsettle the reader into multiple outcomes.

The Bad

Art is subjective and usually good art is subjective to the observer. So arguing what I prefer for the art is essentially useless. I may love one aspect of the art and others may hate it and vice versa. 

In this case, originally, I wasn't a fan of the interior line art and how it was inked. If I am going to make a case for what was observed; the art in the second story was more succinct and poignant than the art in the first story, that felt much more chaotic and was hard to follow purely just on the art alone. 

The Ugly

The style of the line art and the method used for inking detail in this book was not my cup of tea, but I respected the use of facial emotion. I think that was carried out effectively. However, I didn't essentially like the overuses of cross-hatching, or relatively the lack there of. It was a simplistic use of straight and perpendicular lines that did not help with separating foreground from background and didn't rely heavily on uses of light to aid in foreground/background separation. The art felt different in the second story and made me wonder about the general consistency of the line art throughout. Possibly that it was done specifically to create some variation between both. However because both stories inevitably conclude together and both 'apparitions' journey together, it should not have been disparate in its inking. 

Consistency is a major key factor of any story, including serials or individual stories that eventually connect and come together. There were inconsistent uses of story telling tools. Perhaps I'm being overly harsh with this point, but I think perhaps the stories need to be looked at moving forward to compare how the art is flowing on the page, and how the imagery is affecting the reader. Especially with straight black and white art that leaves the imagination wandering in interpretation and abstraction. Unless, the chaotic thought pattern is what the artist is going for to avoid dealing with paradoxical thought than it is used beautifully. 

The Great

Even though it is slightly confusing at first, the art has some minor images of a tapestry that the story is building toward. A tapestry of the culmination of the decision that will eventually be made. In the first story its more of a nagging, rude, and disgusting set of comments that should cause a set of behaviors we normally might detest in most people. In the second story it's a set of images that are different from each other and slowly are placed completely in frame as the story comes to a close. where one image is intended for foreshadowing, while the other image conveys the possibility of hope or a possible future. An image that eventually reveals direct outcome in relation to the other. Beautifully done...
 
I admit at first I was thrown off by this, but as it became more apparent, I appreciated the end result. It wasn't the same delivery used in, "Tanya's Story", so naturally I believe it may confuse most readers. But if you dismiss it at first without meandering too much in the thought you'll arrive at the conclusion in a satisfying way.

…and, Amazing?

“...It seems neither of us exist anymore”

Decisions is a very solid existentialist concept about life, death, and the myriad choices made that affect the universe around us. Our two main characters (essentially) in these stories in my opinion are not the people making the choices but are the two people relatively pleading for their lives through contextual affirmation of events that may or may not happen. Only to come together at the end of their journey to realize they may actually not exist at all, yet are still there to make the observation of the static reality of their lives, such as they are. A wonderful image of possibilities lost, conveyed in conversation amidst a stroll down a street of a life that may no longer be lived if it ever was at all.

Overall Verdict?

I enjoyed the story and the conclusions to them in this issue. While I can be objective in saying this art is not my cup of tea, I am sure there are others that can appreciate the level of abstraction inherent in using this style of art without color and the specific black and white inking without grayscale. The story could be cleaned up a bit more, but I attest this problem to the grandiosity of the questions being asked. While the initial story can be relegated or likened to something as simple and contrite as the theme in "A Christmas Carol". This isn't essentially about becoming a better person, it is about existence and the ramifications of that existence. It is a great achievement at a serious and dramatic comic. But I think it has room to improve how its delivered in the future, I do look forward to reading more of it. The cover and concept art by Dan Mann is beautiful, Zach Bassetts art is very straight to the point but allows for abstraction to peer into your mind and Martin T. Pierro tells a tale that is haunting and clever. 

Decisions is on its 3rd Issue, which just released @ MEGA Convention in Orlando, FL. 

3.5 out of 5 Comic Book Movie Geeks

3_half_geeks

Have you read Decisions yet? Are you planning to? Did this review help you? Do you agree or disagree? I want to hear from you! Comment, share, tweet, pin, form your words out of Lego pieces, whatever tickles your fancy; as always click the big red thumbs-up glove

By @EmanuelFCamacho
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10 Comments
Brainiac13 - 4/7/2014, 1:04 PM
@Manny

When are you going to do a breakdown review of Cap 2 also what are your thoughts on BvS & A2?
efcamachopmp - 4/7/2014, 1:10 PM
Brainiac - amigo, compadre, fellow comic book lover...It's already up in the featured section on the homepage...

BvS I did a crazy set of editorials a while back (1, 2, & 3) but I have yet to write a followup update with all of the changes that have been announced. and A2 I was working toward writing an editorial on it. So much to write, so little time...

Brainiac13 - 4/7/2014, 1:13 PM
@Manny

Thanks.......I missed a lot of articles. I'll check them out.
efcamachopmp - 4/7/2014, 1:20 PM
Actually Brainiac, I also wrote this piece for another website that you might like to read through.

In the meanwhile, do give this Indie Comic a read...I know you have a ridiculously large collection, similar to mine. I'll be posting more reviews about the various books this Indie press puts out, so keep an eye out :)
Gusto - 4/7/2014, 1:21 PM
Good job, Manny!
No need to thank me...
you've earned this!


efcamachopmp - 4/7/2014, 1:30 PM
@Gusto Dude...I'm Cuban...we need a little more meat on the bone brother!
DEATHbyEXILE - 4/7/2014, 1:33 PM
Gusto...
Kyos - 4/7/2014, 1:42 PM
So, what I'm taking from this article is that Miley Cyrus is strategically placing messages to herself to remind her to stop with the ass-selfies.

Nah, seriously, I really like your indie comic reviews, Manny - thanks! :)
Gusto - 4/7/2014, 1:53 PM
Miley's muy caliente, you bastards!
Brainiac13 - 4/7/2014, 2:00 PM
@Manny

Will do. :)

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