Comic Book Review: La Belle Dame Sans Merci #1

Normal life takes a completely frightening nose dive in LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI #1 and settles into the never-ending abyss.

Readers are thrown into a topsy-turvy world where monsters appear in plain sight. As he searches for a way out from his boring life, a young man’s slowly succumbs to his innermost desires. Readers will surely be engaged by the gripping plot and terrific artwork.

After being told he was something special many times before, Eddie sadly lives a bland and ordinary life. Accustomed to his regular routine, Eddie is already awake when his alarm clock rings at seven in the morning. He should be enjoying himself because he has an adoring wife and a happy son at home. But not even the news of a another child can satisfy his needs. Because his life has become utterly predictable, Eddie desperately wants to dig himself out of his rut.

  Eddie never expected to see stunning woman walking across the street. His mind has completely lost itself as he follows her into an enchanted forest.   Though Eddie doesn’t know her first name, he is eager to leave his wife and child for her. He helplessly falls into the arms of his mistress and becomes lost in a surreal romance.

     Inspired by the ballad by John Keats, author P.M. Buchan keeps his readers inside the mind of a cheating husband, who just happens to be a very likable protagonist. Eddie represents the everyman, who may have passed up on something special. Because readers are given glimpses into his daily life, we understand why he feels suffocated by married life. Buchan builds an incredibly suspenseful pace as the unfaithful husband faces the consequences of his cheating ways.

     Buchan represents the fear of growing up, the transition into adulthood, as a metaphor for Eddie’s character development. As Eddie becomes burdened with fatherhood, he realizes there is a point in your life where you just cannot go back anymore. Eddie blindly thinks he can escape being an adult, being a father, until his mistress reveals her true self.

     Artist Karen Yumi Lusted brings the atmosphere of foreboding doom and dismay in her excellent black and white tones. Even though the artwork feels Manga-inspired, the drawings do not share some of the style’s over-the-top characteristics. Instead of the random and exaggerated facial expressions, Lusted focuses on the restrained and keeps the drawings grounded in reality. Through tight close-ups and medium shots, Lusted captures the appeal and seduction of Eddie’s enchantress.

     Using Buchan’s running of theme conformity vs. individuality, Lusted depicts a society where many faces are blank and expressionless. Everything depends on the look of the unknown woman, to understand why Eddie is attracted to her. The enchantress has to look like the everyman’s fantasy, but Lusted provides subtle hints that something is wrong with her. Notice later on, how the seductress hides behind her hair when she is speaking.

     A promising beginning, LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI #1 is a successful and clever experimentation on surrealism. With the creative team-up of Buchan and Lusted, the pages reveal the loneliness of adulthood and the unsettling terror of obsession. Available Nov. 16th, readers can order themselves a copy at thoughtbubble and PMBuchan.com.

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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420 

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