Story: Dan Watters
Art: Kishore Mohan
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
What They Say:
Marcel has abandoned painting for the glamorous world of criticism. But a monster has returned to Paris with a Faustian offer he cannot refuse. Old wounds will be opened. New wounds will be formed with paintbrush and gun smoke.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Picture of Everything Else was one of those books where it doens’t feel like a lot of anything you generally read in comics. There are similar titles to be over the years but they’re few and far between which makes Dan Watters’ entry in it welcome. With the time and place, the characters involved, and the larger mystery of it all, it was a brutal first issue. One that Kishore Mohan put together beautifully in bringing to life (and death), particularly with the color palette used that made it all the more distinctive. While part of me would like to see a rich and vibrant world as it was at the time in reality, something like this fits far better for the story itself.
The second issue feels like a new recalibration of things as we see Marcel dealing with the events that unfolded previously. He’s seen a lot and he lost his friend Alphonse to the darkness as their partnership broke up, leaving him in an uncertain place. For Marcel, he finds himself unable to paint at the moment and instead throws himself into art criticism and his new fling with Antonio. The art criticism is problematic in itself because he knows what he wants to see and he gets rough in some of the criticism, which really pisses off the upcoming talent that is Picasso. At the same time, his relationship with Antonio does feel like a fling that he’s enjoying and playing with but is just passing the time with. It’s enjoyable but the base fears of the past are there. When he does try to paint a little it seems like he’s able to bring forth the splitting headache into Antonio, which sends Marcel spiraling even more.
There’s a lot of interesting subplots playing out with this and movements in general while not digging too deeply. Marcel gets some pushback from his ladyfriend over the way he handles his criticism and you can definitely feel for that when Picasso almost guns him down – twice! – over said criticism. I really liked the bits that we get from Alphonse over this even though it’s really him saying it to himself in that he needs to shut up and do the work instead of complaining to everyone. I like the turns that we get into with this along the way and more the explorations that come up with the darker side of the story, but it’s in that slow build phase where you’re waiting for things to materialize more. Which does happen in the final pages as it seems like Marcel begins to really make a choice in what his path will be and that’s definitely going to make an impact.
This is a series that’s going to spread things out a bit and definitely keep its focus on the characters. Marcel is definitely engaging to watch here as he navigates Paris at this point in time with all that’s going on. I do like that his shift to art criticism isn’t going easy for him – though Picasso takes it a lot further than he should – as it puts him in a different world for the moment. Watter’s script is definitely really good here to make it fully realized, though I suspect reading the series in full will make it even better, and Mohan’s artwork brings the time and people alive in a really great way, especially with its color palette.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vault Comics
Release Date: February 17th, 2021