REVIEW: A Train Called Love #1

writer: Garth Ennis
artist: Mark Dos Santos
publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite, taking a break from their licensed books, have corralled fan favourite writer Garth Ennis and artist Mark Dos Santos to create a rom-com-murder-drugs-scam-desperation type of book.

Featuring a cast of not quite thousands, we are introduced to the ensemble characters right in the middle of their various problems.  From there, situations quickly escalate for a number of them, particularly Mike, Valarie and Myles.  Equally important however, are the characters who appear to be not moving forward, creating a somewhat pedestrian foil.

With this being a Garth Ennis book, nothing is quite as straight forward as it first seems.  Within the Pulp Fiction like structure we see how to deal with dirty phone calls, the monotony of cover bands, the lack of recognition and racism told in both a loud and more insidious manner.  Through it all Ennis, populates his world with great dialogue across the board.  What makes the dialogue work is the real world element. I am sure that I am not the only person who has heard the same rationale that Mark has to endure from his students father.  This is just one part of a greater whole with easily recognisable situations, tweaked with a subversive twist.

Mark Dos Santos is the artist on the book whose style might not be for everyone, but it adds to the story, giving it a more comical look than the, at times, darker script allows.  This contrast works extremely well with the Valarie / Myles part and makes Marks confrontation a tad more surreal.  Andrew Elder is the colorist who uses a bright palate which suits Dos Santos  pencils.

Overall the book is a fun read.  With the cast of characters, there should be at least one character that grabs your attention.  With Ennis, you would think you would know what you are getting.  But the book, with its ubiquitous Ennis flourishes, does feel like a fresh book.  It will be interesting to see how long time Ennis fans will take to this book.

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