An Army of Lovers Will Be Beaten Volume Two
Color! If only it was possible to use it in more small press books. Bernie makes good use of it this time around, and things slip more into dreams in this second book. We get to see a lot more of Lichi (the villain of the story? I’m starting to think that nothing in here is as simple as all that), a dream conversation that Buckeley has with his dead children that will break your heart, a bar battle between Lichi and an outmatched dog (that turns into a battle between the dog and an even more outmatched dog), Buckeley’s old house and the current inhabitant, Lichi trying to prod a sentient mountain into assisting him in his vendetta against Buckeley, Lichi interacting in a dream with his younger self, the cows mourning the parts of themselves that never gets used and shines on the hills, and the return of the llama from the first issue and his desperate search for tits. I guess if you wanted to nitpick you could say that not much changed on the real world end of things, but this book was perfect in really fleshing out everybody involved in all of this. Except maybe for Skunk and Beverly, but we did get to see a bit from the early years and I’m sure there’s still plenty more to come on those two. Colors were rarely used, granted, but when they were used I couldn’t picture it being done any other way. The llama in all his battle gear glory, a quiet moment with the stars, seeing Lichi through the eyes of a family that he’s killing, everything was damned near perfect. I don’t want to jinx the guy by saying that this might end up being one of those rare comic series that we end up showing our friends to prove that it is too a real artistic medium, but it sure has that potential. It’s bizarre while making total sense and riveting even though so much is still to be uncovered. I can only hope that his financial support holds out and he’s able to finish this as he wants to, and hey, your buying copies of these two volumes sure wouldn’t hurt. $10
An Army of Lovers Will Be Beaten Volume One
I reviewed the first issue of this series years ago, and Bernie was recently nice enough to send me the first two collected editions, making up the first six issues of the comic (that’s assuming he’s even putting them out in single issues any more, as he may have decided to just put out the collected editions for financial reasons). In my first review I mentioned that it’s projected to be 12 issues, which may or may not still be true, but these two books should give a solid impression of the series regardless. Right away I have to warn you: if that title strikes you as whimsical, that you might get a lot of chuckles out of a series with that title, that will not be the case. Unless you’re a remarkably morbid human being, I guess. Things start off with our hero Buckeley trying to get some distance from the war he’s fighting. The journey is told in grim but exacting detail, and we see him immediately being sickened by the town he’s arrived in. Bernie didn’t skimp on the level of detail at all here, as even the individual people in the crowd scenes are distinctly individual people (unlike lots of people who draw a few faces in the crowd and leave the rest of it an indistinct mess). Buckeley eventually makes his way to what he thinks is a peaceful place, only to discover that bombs are landing in his resting area. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as this series should be read by any person with an interest in the quiet moments of a pointless war, but from there we get to meet some of the nastier (and nicer, and sadder) inhabitants of this town, Buckeley’s wife (and what she is now doing for a living, not to mention who she’s living with), and various other residents of this town. The third issue is set entirely in a bar (outside of a few flashbacks) and it’s absolutely riveting. We get to see how this war affects people and creatures from a few different walks of life, including the reason why everybody thinks Buckeley is a war hero (and the real story behind the heroism). The details of this universe are laid out bit by bit, with plenty of things still left to be uncovered. I apparently wasn’t fully convinced just from reading the first issue of this series, but reading the first three issues in this collection washes those doubts away. The quiet, deliberate nature of the revelations draws you right in and keeps you there, and I think I’m going to break my unwritten rule about not posting reviews about the same person on consecutive days and will read and review the second book tomorrow. So for long time readers, that should give you a better indication of how much I liked the first book than anything I could say here. $10
An Army of Lovers Will Be Beaten Book One Now Available! $6
As always, three cheers for an absolutely wonderful title. This is the story Lieutenant Buckeley, a hero in the ongoing war between blue people and constellations in the night sky. Yep, not a typo. This is also one of the major limitations of the small press comics movement as a whole, as whenever there’s a story like this (where it would go a long way to show all those blue people) it would be wonderful to see it in color, it’s just that there’s no financial way to make it possible. Unless the artists were independently wealthy, I guess. Anyway, this first book (of a projected twelve) introduces us to the Lieutenant as he goes on furlough, wandering around a town and trying to avoid all the seamier places, like the local tavern and “El Lay”. He wanders off into an open field to get some rest… which also happens to be where most of those bombs aimed at the stars are landing. It’s a dreamy, surreal tale, punctuated by the relentless naivete of the main character and the fact that a llama ends up saving his life. It’s an interesting first book. I’m not completely sold on the whole thing yet, but I am curious to see what happens next, and that’s all you can ask for out of a first issue.