Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 126 (6/9) -- Super Spy: The Lost Dossiers by Matt Kindt

Super Spy: The Lost Dossiers is explicitly a companion piece to Kindt's 2007 graphic novel Super Spy (which I reviewed for ComicMix), and really doesn't stand alone -- it's a collection of experimental stories (told in panels meant to be cut out and rearranged, or viewed steroscopically), annotations, associated drawings and art, and other odder bits of string associated with Super Spy and with Kindt's previous, related graphic novel 2 Sisters.

It feels more like DVD bonus material, honestly -- like an appendix to some future, larger edition of Super Spy -- than it does like a book that stands on its own. There are a few pieces in here that have a basically story-like shape, but they're short, vignette-like pieces -- yes, Super Spy was also made up of similar pieces, but they were arranged and grouped in the earlier book to form a larger story; what's here are like some jigsaw puzzles pieces left in the box after the picture has been completely formed.

Kindt's atmospheric, color-washed art still sets the perfect mood for his dark, shadowy tales of spycraft and casual betrayals in WWII Europe, and his writing is still excellent on the level of dialogue and panel and page. But with the stubby, uncompleted feeling of Lost Dossiers, the reader might begin to wonder why Kindt specifically set these stories so long ago, in that particular historical moment, in the middle of "the good war." (It's not as if the long Cold War afterward didn't provide ample possibilities for spy stories,nor does the modern world lack agents quietly carrying out dangerous plans and double-crossing each other whenever necessary.) It's not clear what the Super Spy stories gain from their haze of historicity -- perhaps a sense of inevitability, or the patina of the dead past. The Lost Dossiers is an interesting sidebar to Super Spy, but I can't recommend it even slightly to readers not familiar with the original.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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