Not sure what genre you want your comic book to be? No problem. With issue #8 of Vescell, Image offers a rubik’s-cube of disjointed possibilities — and some work better than others. Too bad they’re all part of the same story.
Here’s the official description from Image:
The International Company known as Vescell specializes in what is commonly known as ‘Vtrans’, the transferring of a person’s mind and spirit from one body into another. Former Icarus City Detective, Mauricio ‘Moo’ Barrino is now Vescell’s best agent, handling the most high profile and dangerous cases. In the seedy world of a high end corporate espionage, where mysticism and guns clash, and money is tainted with sin, Agent Mauricio Barrino fights against the demons of fate while trying to reach the heaven of his destiny.
Issue #8 advertises itself as the “season finale” of Vescell. As such, it tries to present a multifaceted narrative that brings back earlier plot-points, while still offering a new mission for our hero Moo to tackle. And the story starts off pretty good.
Writer Enrique Carrion opens with a standard (but always enjoyable) Sci-Fi quest: a robot in search of a soul. While such a feat is possible in Vescell, Moo is initially resists to the mission, believing that artificial intelligence is encroaching too deeply into that messy stuff that makes humans, well…human. Issue #8 is trying to be a lot of things: a reflection on humanity, a sorta fairytale, a kinda love story, and finally, a western where the cowboys pack lasers instead of six-shooters. These elements aren’t interwoven though, and we jump hastily from one to the other.
Issue #8 is illustrated by three artists, which is cool, but also adds to the disjointed feel. Jon Upchurch, Lorenzo Nuti and Dave Acosta all take turns with the pen, and its fun to watch the characters slowly shift as a result. Carrion’s tendency to overwrite ultimately hurts the artists, however. Carrion literally writes dialogue for everything. Everything. If someone drops a shoe, Carrion drops a paragraph of dialogue to explain it and the characters rarely get a chance to act — just talk. And since acting is where illustrators shine, we never see the full potential of these artists.
Carrion deserves a lot of credit for conceiving of such an imaginative project. Vescell is definitely unique. But it could benefit from not trying so hard.