Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
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  • There is a running gag pertaining to his problem with body odour that is well maintained throughout the issue without ever becoming tiresome or predictable


by James Roberts

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    Arctic Nation is the second volume in the Blacksad series written by Juan Diaz Canales and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido. Originally penned for the French market by the Spanish duo, all five chapters of this still continuing saga have been translated for all of us English speaking comic fans.
  • Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
  • The very first thing that drew me towards these comics was the quality of the artwork, which is simply stunning. The level of detail in each and every panel is astounding, with almost as much attention given to the characters in the background, or making up a crowd, as those up in front. And if that hadn’t piqued my interest I’ve always been a sucker for film noir stylised stories anyway. Blacksad was an almost guaranteed hit with me - provided it could deliver some quality in the writing department.

  • Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
  • It must be said that Blacksad does reply on many of the cliches associated with its genre, but just to say something is not entirely original does not mean that it doesn’t have anything to offer. The writing, or at the very least the English translation, is clever and witty as well as capable of delivering some powerful emotional punches. There were many occasions when some of the one liners had me smiling widely, but there were also as many times where I felt moved to sadness by the words of the characters.

    The stories are not breaking any new ground but they are intelligently put together and manage to create a great sense of tension despite their familiarity.

  • Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
  • Arctic Nation deals with some fairly adult themes. Within this volume the subjects of racial segregation and discrimination provide the background for a story about revenge and abandonment, whilst issues concerning paedophilia and adultery are also touched upon. Not only are these themes very relevant to the 1950s New York setting of Blacksad, they also resonate with the fears and concerns of this comic’s contemporary readers. There are actually very few things that I felt have done more to illustrate the ludicrousness of racism than to have a cast of already diverse animals starting to differentiate themselves by the colour of their fur. I’m not entirely sure that this was a goal of Diaz Canales and Guarnido when they began writing Blacksad but it is accomplished very effectively in this story.

  • Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
  • For those who have not read the first Blacksad comic there really isn’t any barrier to enjoying this volume. Although it continues to explore the many facets of its protagonist’s personality it does not require any prior knowledge. This is in part because of the genre but also because of the way the story has been written to stand on its own.

    Artic Nation does see the debut of Weekly; a genuinely entertaining source of comic relief to compliment the stoicalness of Jon Blacksad. There is a running gag pertaining to his problem with body odour that is well maintained throughout the issue without ever becoming tiresome or predictable.

  • Blacksad: Arctic Nation, Comic
  • It really can not be understated how good the artwork is in this series. Guarnido, who used to work as an animator with Disney, is clearly at home drawing the anthropomorphic animals that exclusively cast Blacksad’s universe. He manages to capture an incredible range of emotions on the faces of his characters - to such an extent that their voices can be vividly heard in your mind as you read each page.

    The use of our subconscious associations with each animal to further characterise each player in the story also helps to create some uniquely memorable personalities. Some of the animal stereotypes are a little bit old fashioned perhaps, but I felt that was slightly appropriate considering the 1950s setting.

    If there was one more thing about Guarnido’s artwork that I would be remiss not to mention it would be how fantastically he draws his action sequences. Each panel seems to be alive with movement.

    Arctic Nation is a brilliant continuation of the Blacksad franchise and comes highly recommended from me to you. This will appeal to casual as well as hardcore comic fans thanks to its close resemblance in tone and pacing to classic detective movies.

    This volume has a slightly more melancholic note than its predecessor although the cast feels a little bit more balanced this time around thanks to a few new additions.



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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in February, 2015. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 172021641450128/k2311a022/2.2.15
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