Dean Motter’s newest dive into the underbelly of Radiant City concludes this month. Sadly the story ends with something more like a mild whimper than a bang. The character continues to elude the reader. Mister X works in the shadows, in a shadowy city. Stories with his name attached are not necessarily about him, but other inhabitants of his city.
WRITTEN BY: Dean Motter
ART BY: Dean Motter
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: July 3, 2013
The joy of a short miniseries is to explore a character in various contained stories in a number of different ways. Over the course of this year I’ve read several of Motter’s tales involving Mister X. After the first couple of trips to Radiant City I noticed a trend. The stories tend to be more about the character of the city rather than the title character.
The character of Radiant City hits the same beat rather often. A retro futuristic city shrouded in darkness and full of intrigue. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis meets Chinatown. This should be a winning combo, but sadly this beat never goes anywhere new.
Eviction is about the nature of madness and the city succumbing under its own weight. It’s also about the nature of artificial intelligence and what it means to be human. However Motter hardly spends enough time focusing on any of theses themes to truly answer any of these arguments throughout the span of the narrative.
Motter’s art is fantastic. Radiant City is aptly named, as the art causes the place to jump off of the page. The hard lines and jagged edges of Russian Futurism seem to characterize every frame. To great effect: the art is distinct, and refreshing. The cars are a unique mixture of classic and futuristic. The neo noir story hits with every panel. Darkness shrouds each character, and fills a seedy bar with enough intrigue to sustain any lesser book. The characters are drawn with a great sense of confidence and style that would just look wrong in any other artist’s hands. Motter has created a unique and distinct world that evokes so much on the page.
The incredibly strong art gives the rest of the issue an easier time with the plotting. While the plot does reach a somewhat satisfying conclusion, the most action packed parts of the climax seem to happen off panel. What results is an undercooked sense of victory that ends the series on a questionable note.
Without any exception, the reason to pick this book up is the art. Even the most text heavy pages are digestible when accompanied by such crisp drawings.
Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ