A Review of Nottingham #1 from Mad Cave Studios
The rooftops have been chanting “Nottingham, Nottingham!” ever since this 1st issue came out and I’m always interested in a dark re-visioning of a classic!
Nottingham is Robin Hood but with a major twist- Robin Hood and his Merry Men aren’t as “good” as we think they are. Could they be as dark and twisted and the men they fight against?
I really enjoyed just HOW dark this issue was. There were no coy gestures towards possible good deeds- it was ALL brutal and cruel. I mean, the art was even cruel in its own right, and not just in the amount of blood spilled. I mean, look at this panel (on right)- each line is very straight, diagonal, like the slicing of a blade. There are very few curves to soothe your eyes. It’s like an attack on the eyes, in a great way. It’s exactly the vibe this book needs.
That said, I hate how the faces and bodies of the characters are drawn in this book- but I’m okay with hating it because again, the design goes with the vibe of this book. I understand why Shane Connery Volk drew the characters this way, so I can look past my own personal likes/dislikes because this works. Volk does a great job making up for this by using shadow incredibly well here to accent what is needed about characters-
particularly on the Sheriff. The shadow that surrounds his back and his face often truly shows how he is consumed by darkness and how easy it is for all other characters in the story to see that in him. What’s even more clever is how Maid Marian is drawn in clear light, very little darkness at the beginning, and then in her last scene of the issue, she’s surrounded by more darkness. Well done Volk, well done. Truly, as much as this style of art isn’t my favorite, Volk has done such clever work in terms of interpreting the art that I can’t complain- this stuff rocks!
On the note of Maid Marian- I love how she’s written here and I love that she seems to have a much larger role in this version of the tale we all - thought- we knew. Without giving too much away, she’s definitely got her own agenda, and even Hood can barely keep her on the leash that he tries to keep everyone on. Yeah, Hood is definitely a masochist…. Regardless, I’m very excited to see what SHE does. Heck, if she ends up battling someone herself and killing someone savagely, I’ll be pretty hype.
I thoroughly enjoy stories that delve into the “grey areas” of society; there aren’t just “evil”
vs “good”, but far more happening in between. The general concept of this tale, to me, serves as an allegory for our ever-changing culture and political landscape. It delves into the idea that while Hood and his Merry Men say they are “the cure” and claim they are helping England, they are still doing many unforgivable deeds as they attempt to achieve their goal. Hood and his Merry Men believe all involved in what they deem are unacceptable must be expunged- and anyone that gets in the way is also an acceptable sacrifice. If one even supports someone that they find unacceptable, then they are "canceled", as we would say today, too, and therefore must be expunged- and that’s exactly what Hood and his Merry Men do here- expunge anyone they need to, and anyone that supports them or could strain their cause. I definitely see some parallels here with cancel culture, whether intentional or not. Are Hood and His Merry Men much better than the King and Sheriff? Is their extreme okay because their "intentions" are better? Are they really helping? There are problems with BOTH sides, it’s not as easy as good and bad, and I think it’s just fascinating that a fantasy story like this can have so much built-in commentary and open up the floor to discussions like these.
Overall, I see why people like this comic so much. When I first started it, I thought “eh, this is just gonna be some brutal, macho, man-fighting sh*t” but I actually got something out of it- and I enjoyed the brutal fighting! I can’t believe how much I enjoyed the art in this issue and how many layers it added to it! I’m excited to see where this goes and will have to add this to my pull list!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives this:
4 out of 5 Finger Guns
(because I'm bi)
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