Summer Vacation Reviews: Revolver by Matt Kindt

This summer I actually took a vacation.  It was my first one in years.  I brought a lot of comic books and graphic novels and read them all while sitting on the beach.  For the rest of the summer, I'd like to share with you what I thought of these comic books that I read. 


Revolver - Matt KindtRevolver
Written and Drawn by Matt Kindt
Lettered by Steve Wands

$24.99 / 192 Pages / Color / Hardcover

Vertigo/DC Comics


Before I begin talking about Revolver, it probably should be stated that like many of you out there, I am a huge Matt Kindt fan.  I adored his breakout work on Super Spy over at Top Shelf, and I thought that his next graphic novel 3 Story published by Dark Horse was hands down one of the best graphic novels of 2009.  So when the news broke that he was doing a graphic novel at Vertigo, I thought, "Excellent.  Not only is Vertigo the perfect place for Kindt, but it's great to see him so quickly the attention and work he deserves".  Now, many months later, I hold his Vertigo graphic novel, Revolver in my hands.

Like Kindt's previous work, Revolver was written and drawn by him.  So with each Matt Kindt book, we get a perfect picture of his artistic vision.  The quality of the book is wonderful.  The hardcover book has a textured cover that feels like cloth, with some wonderfully colored art of Kindt's depicting the duality of the story within and huge typography giving us the title of the book, REVOLVER.  When one hears the word, "Revolver" one may think of a gun, which is where my mind went.  But it's another meaning of the word that Kindt plays with so masterfully here.  Like a revolving door, the story goes in circles, revolving from world to another.

What's impressed me so much about Matt Kindt's work is the imagination of the worlds that he creates.  Normally that imagination would be enough to carry any comic creator's career.  In an industry that loves the "big idea," Kindt has now delivered 3 "big ideas" and executed them brilliantly.  It's that brilliant execution that makes Kindt such a talent. On top of already being imaginative, Kindt brings a level of detail and creativity to his craft.  If you've read either Super Spy or 3 Story, you know eactly what I'm talking about.

The story of Revolver is about a man named Sam, who we meet as he starts his day, late for work like any other day, when all of a sudden the world around him turns inside out. The books opening pages are filled with earth shaking action that leaves you disoriented and confused.  Even more so as that first day ends and the second day begins, and you realize something is different.  I'm purposely being vague here because I don't want to spoil the twist of the book, which is so wonderfully creative that I want you to enjoy it yourself.  But it's enough of a major tool for telling his story that it carries it's way throughout the entire book, never gets old and ultimately becomes the key to the plot's development.  It simply has to be seen to believed.

Kindt's art, as always, is a delight.  The sketchyness of the art is puncuated by the color tones uses to help illustrate the book.  This is not a full color book, but rather black and white art that is augmented by blues and browns, all serving a purpose at the time they're used.  I'm amazed at how simple Kindt's art can be and yet as the same time be so expressive.  This book has a lot of heavy moments amongst characters.  Moments of love and loss and anger and joy and confusion, and Kindt is able to capture each of these emotions and work with them with such finesse, that it's hard to believe that anyone could do this so well in the manner that he does.

Now I want to be clear that I really enjoyed Revolver.  I loved the world Kindt created, and the characters all interacted well, and ultimately it was a fulfilling and enjoyable story that had a clear and understandable ending.  But it lacked something.  It lacked that certain creativity that made me go head over heels for Super Spy and 3 StoryRevolver is very much a traditional comic book/graphic novel.  With each page utilizing panels (most often based off the 9 panel grid), Kindt shows that he can tell a story in a traditional manner, but I'm not sure that's what I want.  Maybe I was spoiled by the creativity and artistry of Super Spy and the mixed media storytelling used in 3 Story, but as I read Revolver, I couldn't help but to wonder where the magic was.  Sure, there is a clever device along the bottom using a scrolling news ticker to comunicate the page number (which to be honest, had me reading the book twice, once just to read the news ticker all the way through, uniterrupted), but ultimately I found myself longing for that over-creative, magic that was in Kindt's previous books.

I really don't want to come off as being too negative here, so let me be clear.  This is a positive review.  I liked the book and I think that you should read it.  But it fell a little short for me.  Perhaps this was an exercise in the 9 panel grid and telling a traditional comic book like story, and if so, then bravo, Kindt totally pulled it off.  But for me, I've come to expect something a bit more from Kindt and I hope that his future work goes back to that insane artistry and magic that he captured in his previous books.

But that said, if you've never experienced a Matt Kindt book, then Revolver could be the perfect place to begin.  You can get a feel for his storytelling style and his artwork, and a taste of that creativity and if it clicks for you, and I hope it does, then you know you've got some wonderful reads ahead of you.


Story: 5         Art: 4          Overall: 4


  1. "This summer I actually took a vacation.  It was my first one in years."

    Ron, you get paid to read comic books. Your whole life is a holiday.


    nb. read ‘3 Story’ a while ago & enjoyed it so I’ll definitly give this a go too.

  2. Totatlly wanted to pick this up today, but my store didn’t have any copies.  Mine’s on the way for next week though.  I’m totally excited to read it.