STORY: Bob Salley
ART/LETTERS: Shawn Daley
After the runaway success of OGRE (VOL 1 review here), Bob Salley and Shawn Daley have returned to the universe that brought us the surprise hit. A wholesome, heartfelt treat awaited us within those pages and now we’re getting an expansion on the mythos from which it came. I’m here for this. I know I wasn’t the only one caught off guard (in a good way) with OGRE. This time around I came in expecting more than what the solicitation was telling me. I got it. While you don’t have to have read OGRE (though I suggest it simply because it is great) in order to understand what’s going on here, it lends to appreciating it more. With an experience with this world to draw from before hand this opening issue works much more effectively and reads more poignantly. That said there is no need to do so. Salley does an excellent job of giving us everything we need to get what’s going on. Based on what we do know from the earlier series this could be a prequel, but maybe it isn’t. (more in this in just a sec). Thrust straight into conflict and with the world on fire Bob immediately causes you to feel. You aren’t MADE to feel with a deliberate point for reaction bit mind you, but the opening scenes bring the emotion out of you.
I’m not sure if this is a prequel because it is also possible that this takes place during, or is the very start of, the story we get in OGRE. It’s at the start of man’s intrusion on this world but exactly when that is in relation to the original book isn’t clear and isn’t addressed. What I did clearly take from the pages is that the message about war that sat within OGRE has been expanded upon. The concept of war and what it brings loomed before. Now we’re getting the personal level of the effects of war and what individuals can be forced to do … or more aptly, what they FEEL they are forced to do. Going from the macro of the effects of war to the micro is a fantastic juxtaposition with the books themselves going from a micro tale of a singular ogre to the macro of the races involved. Whatever this book ends up being in relation to the first (prequel, within the same time, or something else) the expertise in laying out the messages they tell is evident. That there is connection to the first book is clear but the individualism of this title is unmistakable.
The outlook is bleak from the get go. The world has essentially been destroyed and the plague of man is marching across the land. Though other races of beings face the same doom scenario they cannot see past the very human issue of conflict in the wake of dwindling resources. Using these other outlets to relate the human condition and all that is wrong with it is yet another beautiful device employed by Salley and Daley. Taking cues from the script, Daley’s art pulls an incredible double duty. Presenting the fantasy of the land and characters this tale employs takes a very specific aesthetic. I don’t know that there’s a better fit for it than Shawn. How something can be simultaneously beautiful and evoke feelings of such hopelessness is beyond me. The fact that both the wonder of the fairy tale land and the harsh reality of the human plague exist in the same pictures in such an effortless way takes this story to another level.
The only thing dragging on me is not being able place the story in its proper context chronologically in regards to the original book. In the timeline of the overall events of this universe we’ve got a solid line on when this takes place. Nuance is the secret ingredient of this tale though and not having the proper placement keeps some of the connection from fully forming. I feel like there is some inner weaving and think that I see some strings tying the original to this tale. As this book develops more the fleshing out of how this follow up relates to the original tale will surely happen. Having to wonder about what I think I’m seeing keeps the debut from knocking it out of the park. However, when the biggest thing holding a book back is an uncertainty of just how well it has been woven into the existing tapestry … well you’re looking at a great book. As OGRES unfolds we’ll undoubtedly find the parallels.
IN SHOPS NCBD NOV 27th!
DrivingCreators grade for OGRES #1: 9.4
Expanding on the cult hit universe of OGRE was always going to be risky. Sometimes you strike gold and a book just works. That doesn’t mean it’ll work beyond the original. No worry here. OGRES feels exactly like it should and is right at home in the universe in which it resides.