Dragons, Angels, and a Hot Babe: Morea v1: “Angels’ Blood”

“Morea” is yet another Christophe Arleston series and, honestly, by far the worst.

It has potential.  There’s some nice action beats.  The chance to see flying cars working inside cities is always cool, even if “The Fifth Elements” and Jean-Claude Mezieres beat Arleston and artist Thierry Labrosse to it 20 years ago now.

I love the swirling smoke from the car leading the eye through the panel.

I love the swirling smoke from the car leading the eye through the panel.  The in-perspective sound effect works, too.

Knowing Your Audience

The problem is just that everything is so shallow and so unbelievably pandering to horny 16 year olds.

The really funny part of it is that Arleston builds in an excuse for that in the story.  You see, the events center around a conglomerate company with a big health care component.  So only healthy good looking people should work there.  That means lots of women spilling out of their two-sizes-too-small tops and looking uncomfortable in their micro-mini-skirts and walking tall in their heels.

The men, of course, are drawn in their 1920s Newsboys best.

Morea office attire

Whoops! Someone dropped their papers! Now they can bend over for the panel…  This must be Milo Manara’s favorite book.

Look, most comics and movies dabble in this to some degree.  Movies like to cast attractive people.  Comic artists like to draw attractive people looking their absolute best, and never have to worry about the practicality of it all.

It’s not good looking people I have a problem with; it’s the obviously titillating pandering crap that takes over this book.

Then mix in the brothel, the sword landing two inches from a woman’s crotch, the shower scene, the upskirt shot, and the wake-from-the-dead-topless scene, it all starts to feel like it’s trying too hard to pander to a specific comics-reading element.

Oh, and don’t forget the promiscuous head of security:

Morea security guard is particularly revved up

Not to pile on, but I see the crossbar-I in the wrong places here, too.

I think by this point in the story, that just made me laugh. That’s kind of when I realized that Arleston knew what he was doing.  He wasn’t being a perverted writer; he was just writing to his specific audience: perverts.

Look, even “Ekho” has its moments of unnecessary titillation, but there’s a larger story there that it doesn’t distract from. It has talking animals and beautiful locations and action and adventure and a sense of awe. Also, the characters have personalities.

I’m OK with including good-looking people in a comic and even using that to a certain degree.  With “Morea,” it just all feels forced and blatant. It distracts from what would otherwise be a decent albeit paint-by-numbers story.

 

The Coloring Is the Weirdest Part

The weirdest thing about the book, though, is its coloring.  It has an interesting style.  It looks like it was coloring with a marker tool in an iPad app or something.

There are times when you can clearly see the brush stroke from the digital pen.  But then it cuts out in odd ways.  They’re not necessarily in line with the bone under-structure on the body where these things happen, but they try to form flat planes on rounded body parts.

Everything looks shiny and super slick, from skin tones to jackets to buildings.  I’m not sure exactly what Christian Goussale is going for here.  It’s nice that he has a unique style and it works well in certain places, but it feels overdone in general.

Look, even Morea’s butt is shiny and well-sculpted in the coloring:

The butt of Morea

No, I’m not going to show you how well defined her breasts are….  (See the header image above for an idea from the cover to this volume.)

The coloring takes something that looks vaguely photo-referenced and turns it into an awkward cartoon.

The funny thing is that Lacrosse has moments of greatness in his art.  His style works well in action scenes, particularly in scenes were cars are racing around.  He imbues those vehicles with a life and bounce. Even when they crash, it looks exciting.

Thierry Lacrosse draws great car action sequences, like this crash

Here, also, Goussale tunes down his coloring style.  That car crash looks great.  Then you turn the page and here’s the first panel:

Color closeup in Morea

That’s a lot of coloring work.  It’s particularly distracting on his leading forearm and on his pointy right cheek.  I just don’t get it.

 

Recommended?

Nope.

I already bought volume 2, though.  I’ll read it to see if the story gets more interesting.  A third issue is due out in English next week, but it’ll take a miracle for me to put money down on it.

Morea v1 cover

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #40.)

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