Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: "Demo: The Collected Edition"

Demo: The Collected Edition by Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan
3 out of 5 stars

I think I should have liked this more than I did. Brian Wood did New York Four & Five, which I enjoyed a lot, and Demo has a similar feel to that. All the stories are connected to New York City and center around young people (late teens/early twenties) going thru identity crises in some way or another. So it has all the right ingredients for me to love it...but. But, I just didn't connect to the stories. I've never had a problem reading an anthology or trade paperback edition of graphic novels, in fact I prefer it so I don't have to wait. Demo is the first one that I've come across where that is a negative thing. The stories are not connected to each other, which I was expecting, so reading them one after the other didn't let them sink in. I would have done much better reading one a night, so that is my advice to you! And now let's look at a few of my favorite stories in particular.

All the teens have super powers of some sort or another. Some of them are very subtle or never fully explained. In my opinion, several of the stories would have done great as full length graphic novels. For example, Emmy is a young girl who stops speaking after she realizes her words have power...real power. People listen when she speaks and sometimes there are deadly consequences. And in "Bad Blood", Samantha not only has to deal with her estranged dad's sudden death, but she finds herself strangely attracted to her half-brother and must deal with a surprising family secret.

"Girl You Want" confronts the stereotypical images that people (mainly men in the story) see in a youngish, seemingly single girl. The heart of this story, that people see what they want to see, really gets to you when you start thinking about it. As does "Mixtape", about a man who must come to terms with his girlfriend's suicide thru a mixtape last note she made him.

And finally there's my personal favorite, "Midnight to Six", or better named "The Slacker Pledge". Who hasn't had that feeling of utter slacker-dom in their twenties (thirties...) where they just want to do enough of their job to squeak by and get it over with? Three teens sign a pledge to always do the bare minimum, so as to live life to its fullest. Ten years later, they're still doing the exact same thing, but for two of the friends, that's not enough anymore.  

"If wanting a better life for myself makes me a fascist, whatever. I'll accept that."

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