Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!
Today I am featuring Desmond Miller and Jon Spencer’s Hansel and Gretel: Agents of the Coven #0-1
Hansel and Gretel: Agents of the Coven works under the basic “high concept” of the two siblings (now seemingly magically stunted, growth-wise, although it appears as though it is more of a SLOWED aging than not aging at all), famous for killing a witch, now work for an agency where they, well, kill witches! Or at least polices witches.
They also have a giant talking magic book that hangs around with them. He is a fun character – he is bound to Gretel somehow, so he’s stuck with the pair, even though he seems to hate them. He’s constantly complaining and insulting them. He is sort of like KITT from Knight Rider. I bet William Daniels would play him in a movie version of this comic (William Daniels is awesome – he may have done the best portrayal of John Adams EVER!).
Jon Spencer’s art is nice – he gives the book a fun look. He keeps it light, which is definitely the tone of the book, but he doesn’t skimp on the action scenes, either. The comic package is strong, too. Comixpress did a nice job with the design of the comic. Looks good.
Miller gives Hansel a pretty interesting rival/love interest named Maggie.
The basic set-up for the plot is strong enough – the siblings are given a mission to hunt down a group of sorcerers (in the ash-can-y #0 issue, we see them take down one of said group of sorcerers).
Otherwise, though, the book is a fairly slight text. For instance, there’s really no particular reason for why these characters are Hansel and Gretel. That’s a drawback of the fact that Hansel and Gretel are not exactly paragons of characterization (does anyone know anything ABOUT the characterizations of Hansel and Gretel?), so what, really, do you have to work with, personality-wise? Besides the “kids who killed witch working to hunt witches” connection, what about Hansel and Gretel is really all that interesting? Miller basically has to invent personalities out of whole cloth, and while he does a decent enough job giving Hansel a bit of a “tough guy” streak (oddly enough, that’s basically the same route that Bill Willingham went with the character in Fables – Willingham, though, did more with developing a unique tough guy personality for Hansel – here, it is more of a stereotypical tough guy). Gretel really lacks in any noticeable characterization.
And if you’re not going to really develop her character, what you basically have is a couple of non-descript characters with famous names in your story, and it’s not like the plot of the book is so darn involved that you don’t miss characters with more depth.
The Book character is an important figure in this regard, as he adds some personality to the book.
The books are not bad, by any means. It’s a fun enough action story. It’s all just a pretty slight story, that’s all. I hope to see more character development in future issues!
Desmond sent me copies of Hansel and Gretel: Agents of the Coven #0-1. If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there probably is not enough time to be featured this month, but if you mail them, I’ll review them eventually! Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.