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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.


REVIEW: FELL VOLUME 1: FERAL CITY
Written by Jonathan Ellis

FELL VOLUME 1: FERAL CITY
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Ben Templesmith
Published by Image Comics
$ 14.99 U.S. Ė 128 Pages
ISBN 978-1-58240-693-0


FELL is the story of Detective Richard Fell, a cop from across the bridge sent to Snowtown, a feral city, collectively mad and dying where everyone has something to hide. Even him. Imagined by Warren Ellis as only Warren could imagine a 16page pop comic series from Image for a buck ninety-nine a shot. FELL is the sort of title that reinforces Warrenís role as an important creator within the fields of sequential literature.

Warren Ellis subjects himself to all the horrible truths about the world, constantly reading, watching, learning so that his mind becomes the equivalent of a receptacle quagmire where all these things come together and are laid out on the page so that we may have something interesting to read. In a way detective Fell is a lot like Warren because he never stops learning. Learning how to read people, learning to pay attention to the details and learning that all the craziest shit youíd think was impossible is really just around the corner.

That attention to detail is important. I had a screenwriting teacher who once pointed out the importance of accuracy. If youíve got an actor on the screen playing the role of a plumber he better goddamn know to snake a toilet because the audience will catch on if its fake. If they canít maintain that suspension of belief. Thatís why sets have people whose sole job is too watch for continuity, making sure that in the hours it takes to shoot just a few minutes of film that the water glasses are filled probably, the candles are burned to a consistent length, the actors are wearing their clothes properly and every other small thing you could think of. Thatís why I find it important that Warren gets small details correct like using the term CSU instead of the more popular CSI.

The inclusion of NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] is also a great spot of brilliance, we see a book in the first chapter with NLP on the cover and see the practice in action in chapter 5. NLP of course is the science/art/bullshit of reading people.

When it comes to Ben Templesmith on artÖ bloody nice. Iíve known Benís work for a long time so Iím biased and used to recommend him whenever Warren used to ask ďWhat artists would you like to see me work with?Ē back in the olde Warren Ellis Forum days but FELL certainly raises the game for Ben. Forcing him to work within the grid structure and tightening up his line work [as opposed to say SINGULARITY 7, Benís IDW mini-series which was more about fantastic action and had looser lines and more blacks throughout], the colours also tend to reflect the environment of Snowtown. Lots of greys and blues, like a city constantly in the midst of twilight, always chasing the sunrise but never quite catching up.

I bought the FELL series as it came out and bought the trade for my brother and will get myself a copy next time out, or maybe Iíll look for the hardcover. And I know that you all are planning on picking up a copy of the trade yourself if you havenít already got one so it should come as no surprise that FELL VOLUME 1: FERAL CITY comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 


Jonathan Ellis is Co-Editor in Chief of PopImage


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