Guest Review

Berlin #15 (D&Q)
Review by Jason Crowe
Contributing Writer

This is the penultimate chapter in the six-part “City Of Smoke” storyline, and it displays the storytelling techniques of a master. Writer/artist Jason Lutes is weaving an intricate tale of Berlin and its inhabitants living in the shadow between World War One and World War Two.

The finely rendered black and white art is adorned with subtle details. The start of the issue is crowded with people and words; the National Socialist party stages a boisterous march through a park, and the Communist party whips a mob into a frenzy with promises of a better future.

These crowds of people surging forward to a violent destiny give way to quieter moments of introspection. The inner monologues of a street-weary prostitute are presented in a stream of thought balloons, while the wistful reverie of a pacifist reporter is reduced to a tiny pair of nude figures floating above his head.

By the end of the issue, Lutes’ focus is on the desperate flight of a lone wounded beggar to escape Berlin in the middle of the night.

Lutes efforts on “City of Smoke” capture the ephemeral nature of the lives of ordinary citizens caught in extraordinary times. Even though the characters are living through events 75 years in the past, their problems are as fresh as today’s newspaper. Issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, political philosophy and love are reflected in the well-developed characters.

While I do have some concerns about the book’s frequency, the quality is consistently strong. I strongly recommend Berlin to the patient reader who is looking for one of the finest historical comics published today. Grade A.


At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a nice review of Berlin, thanks!


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