Pick of the Week

June 11, 2008 – Local #12


Size: pages
Price: 2.99

This sure has been a long time coming. Written by Brian Wood and drawn by Ryan Kelly, Local has been slowly published by Oni Press for the better part of 2 years. While usually there is a negative opinion towards late books, every once in a while, there is a book that defies this complaint because what is being created pays off when you finally get the issue you in your hand. And once again, Local paid off, for the last time.

For those unfamiliar with Local, allow me to share the background. Local #12 is the last issue of a 12 issue series following a girl, Megan, through her life and her travels around the country. Each issue told a stand alone tale about her experience in a particular city, highlighted by some sort of relationship that she found herself involved in, highlighting however it was she dealt with that situation. Throughout the series, we saw glimmers of the bigger picture of her life and were provided insight to some of her past and the issues that surround that. It was the perfect way to bring together the first 11 issues and tie them into the story being spun about Megan and her life and brought closure to the character, as well as hope for the future. I’m a big fan of classy finales, and this one definitely is up there with some of the best.

What made Local unique as a series was that, as I mentioned above, despite the lateness, each issue felt special because it was self contained, like a simple story of a girl in a city. But when put together across all 12 issues, you get a tapestry of a life that is engaging and scarily real. I’m completely loving this brand of storytelling that is being used more and more in ongoing comics, where a single issue stands on its own, but put together you can see the threads of the greater story and see how each individual story relates and adds to the greater scheme of the story.

The gimmick of Local is the locations of each story. Early on in the series, this was something that I marveled at. Wood and Kelly were able to capture the spirit of the cities they portrayed in a way that both set the tone of the book but also existed as character in and of itself. This issue was no exception, with the finale occurring at Megan’s original home in Vermont, inherited from her mother, she comes to terms with her life and is able to settle, face her demons and be happy.

What impressed me about this book is the degree of which Wood and Kelly complimented each other in the storytelling. Brian Wood is one of those writers about whom I believe people have preconceived notions after his early work like Channel Zero and Couscous Express and even his current work in DMZ, as a certain type of writer who tells dystopian-esque stories often with some sort of “edgy” element to them. But after I read the great Demo (written by Wood and Becky Cloonan) I realized that there was another side of Wood – an emotional side. I took note that when Demo ended and then Local began, this wonderfully subtle manner of storytelling was one that I liked very much and hoped for in this series. Lucky for me, that is exactly what I got and then some.

If you ask me, this could very well be the most culturally significant work Brian Wood has done. Even more so than DMZ. In a manner of 12 issues, he’s painted a picture of Generation X in the 21st century. Our generation is an interesting one, with such promise and possibility, and yet, at least amongst my contemporaries, a host of challenges and obstacles that have been completely unforeseen and that many were not prepared for. Between dealing with expectations of family, or pressure of career advancement, or difficulty in personal relationships, the adventures of Megan in Local, in some small way and shape, capture these challenges and when this is collected, will stand as a testament to this generation, living in our world.

I would be remiss if I didn’t sing the praises of Ryan Kelly. I had never seen his work before Local, and now I will, hands down, buy everything he does. His clean style told the story at natural pace, all the while carrying across the emotional resonance in each story. Facial expressions, body language and making characters connect physically is one of the hardest things to do in comics, and he nailed it with each and every issue, leading up to this finale of issue #12. There’s some heavy emotional stuff going on in this issue and Kelly’s art is able to deliver the message with even more power than the words alone.

Every once in a while, we get a series that is special and worth waiting for and without hesitation I would say Local is one of my favorite books of the past few years. As evidenced by the back cover of this issue, there will be an hardcover collected edition of this that I know will become a must have for anyone who enjoys these type of personal stories, and I can guarantee that it will be enjoyed. The idea of Kelly’s detailed city locations oversized is one that I’m super excited about. Local is a triumph of a comic book, telling a type of story that isn’t told very often and can be difficult to be done well, but Wood and Kelly pulled it off. Even if they took their sweet time on it. But that’s ok, because it paid off, at least for me.

Ron Richards
Can’t wait for their Minx book!
ron@ifanboy.com

Did you read Local #12? Leave a comment and tell everyone what you thought of it as well as what your pick of the week was!

Comments

  1. Nice pick, Ron! I love this series, and I’m sad that it’s over, but glad that we finally have the whole story!

  2. love brian’s work. demo is a big fave.

     

    most definitely getting the hardcover to this. it’s going to be gorgeous.

     

    great pick! 

  3. Ron, Ron, Ron.  Of course. Anyway, haven’t read any of these Local issues– I’ll most likely pick it up in trade.

    My stack this week– some 10 or so books– was exceedingly average.  Action Comics had great art.  I really enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man.  And, Locke & Key was terrific as always.

    Invincible #50 was pretty disappointing.  Green Arrow Black Canary is real close to being dropped– it’s just going nowhere– is Winick even trying any more?  (Although I did love his Plastic Man, who stole every scene was in).

  4. I have pre-ordered the collected trade from my LCS.  I know that you boys give the warning about an ALL SPOILER review show but please be gentle with any big payoffs on this one.  I’m REALLY looking forward to the trade.  I know my request is selfish.

     

    the Tiki 

  5. Hey… didn’t you pick the end of Strangers in Paradise exactly one year ago this week? This is a pretty awesome coincidence

  6. I’m definitely looking forward to the collected edition of this.  Glad to see it get some POW love.

    Action Comics, hands down, was the best book this week.  I want to have Geoff John’s children…over for…sandwhiches?  Anyways, it was really, really ridiculously good.  Just look at the scene between Clark and Cat, and tell me that it’s not awesome comics.

  7. Yo, I just looked on Oni’s website and the HC is coming 9/17!  Awesome.

  8. Excellent — I loved ‘Demo’; I’m looking forward to reading this in a collection.

    My stack was pretty ‘meh’ this week.  ‘Eternals’ was better than I expected, Huntress is still strong, and the Beast-Wonder Man story in ‘Secret Invasion: Who do you Trust?" was a fun one.  I am pretty sure I understand less about Secret Invasion than I did before I read that issue, though.

  9. I’m definately on board for the hardcover.

     

    Action Comics was my pick of the week.  I am really excited for this arc. 

  10. Action Comics somehow featured everything I’ve ever loved about Superman in one issue. Astonishingly good. I want to kill Geoff Johns and feast on his still beating heart. But in a good way.

  11. i’m in the same boat as most- i’ve picked up an issue of this (or 2) and loved it. the hc’s on my dcbs order

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