Suspended Animation Review
The Outlaw Prince, published by Dark Horse Comics, 80 pages, $12.99.
As in all media, there are works in comics which seem to elevate the potential of the form. These are the stories that you read and then think, "Why can't MORE comicbooks be like this?" Here's another occasion to ask yourself that question: a four-color tale called The Outlaw Prince.
The first of a set of four volumes planned, Prince begins a retelling of The Outlaw of Torn, a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. If you have never read the novel, however, this graphic "cousin" will seem quite fresh to you, and that much more entertaining.
As one who never read the source material, I cannot comment on the loyalty of writer Rob Hughes' adaption. However, I can say that the work does not "feel" like an abridged version, but rather boasts a sense of completeness, and a well-paced course of events. It reads nothing like an adaption, and enjoys a feeling of originality. That, along with engaging characters, possessing believable motivations, are all credit to Mr. Hughes' talent as a writer.
The visuals are provided by two men whose talents are known in and beyond the world of sequential art, and for good reason. Michael Kaluta provides layouts, over which Thomas Yeates lavishes gorgeous pencil completions and ink work, turning out a product not unlike those considered the cream of the adventure strip era. These facts alone would convince me that this is one of the best graphic works produced in 2011. The colors provided by Yeates, Lori Almeida, Steve Oliff, and Gloria Vasquez make that opinion a conviction.
No work produced in the last year is more complimentary to the art form. Find it at your local comics shop, online retailers or auctions, or the next convention you attend. But, try your local comics shop, first.
The Outlaw Prince is highly recommended for fans of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, enthusiasts of stories from the Middle Ages, or readers who just like a rip-roarin' good yarn!
Review by Mark Allen