As a part of starting read more comics I have decided to write reviews of the comics I am reading. Mostly for my own sake of learning and analyzing the books I read.
Three Shadows is about two parents and their son. They are a happy family who suddenly are being haunted by three shadows. When the parents realize the three shadows’ purpose they run from them. This story is about fear and how far you would go to protect the ones you love. In a way it’s a race from the inevitable, the journey and sacrifices you go through to realize that some things are yours to control.
Apparently Pedrosa has been working in the animation industry for some time. Titles he’s been working on are Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules by Disney. This does not surprise me one bit since the gestures, contrasts and compositions in Three Shadows are very much alive. You read and never stop because the drawings and panels just blend together seamlessly. This is very unusual for me when I read comics – because way too often I stop to look at specific drawings because there are too many details or a weird composition that doesn’t go well with the previous panel. I did not have that problem when reading Three Shadows.
Here are some specific pages that I’d like to highlight and write about.
Slight spoiler warning on these!
CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH THE SHADOWS
There two pages are of the boy’s first close encounter of the shadows. What I like about these pages is that you don’t actually get to see what the boy sees. You just get to see the fear itself, not what they fear, mostly reflected in the mother who holds him. Very effective way to portray fear. You won’t see or feel what they are afraid of, just their emotions and actions.
INTRODUCING A NEW CHARACTER
There is this interesting character who is only on 4 pages of the comic. He is introduced through a dialog with the mother in parallel with establishing a new town and environment. I always wondered if you could actually do like this without confusing the reader with questions like: who is character x talking to? Is x talking to her/himself? But I didn’t have any problem with it. Really smart layout of the panels, speech bubbles and wise choice of words made it really easy to understand that she was talking to someone. Really lovely shot of the town too.
THE DEAL WITH THE SMALLER MAN
The father and the son encounter a greedy small man who the father is forced to make a bad deal with to continue their journey. The son clearly doesn’t like the small man. While dealing with the man the father hides his face, barely looks at him nor his son until the deal is made. When the situation is dealt with he looks up again from hiding in his hat and it’s not until then he notices his son’s reaction to it all. I think this is a very strong scene – and the father’s posture makes it very clear what position he feels like he’s in. The man he is dealing with looks very small and harmless – the father could easily take him down – but the way the father acts around him truly makes it clear what power the small man has of their journey. Anyway, I thought these pages where really strong. Esp. when the boy starts crying like that after the father looks so relieved. Something is clearly not alright even if their journey continues – and you want to know what by keep on reading.
PAGES THAT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
If you want to read a beautifully told story about fear, love and moving on, this book is def. worth your time. It only took me a few hours to read it thoroughly and weeks after I’ve been reading bits and parts of it now and then to look back at what I really liked about it. The art style is something I really like too. I’ve read/heard some people think it’s sloppy but I must disagree. It’s part of the visual storytelling. The artist is a professional and clearly knows what he’s doing. You will find pages that are super detailed because they need to be & some pages that are only silhouettes because that’s exactly what you need to see and leaving out what you don’t need to see.
My personal rating for this book is 9 out of 10.