All three I liked immensely…I just don’t know how to properly say it.
Noisy Blood (Dodo Dayao / Bong Leal) — A beautifully haunting tale of how life turns full circle, it relates the rise and fall of boxer Diego Brillantes, in pages of tightly-controlled dialogue but highly expressive rectangular panels of illustration. As a full-color release, it is even more haunting, since it shifts from grays to sharp colors gradually to great impact. It is beautiful, just beautiful, and totally deserves a wider audience.
Askals (Dodo Dayao / Bong Leal) [Moryon] — Initially released in 2005, this is quite the masterpiece of the indie age even before those football guys made the name famous. This is the story of the Manila underbelly, the one man who wants out, the people after him due to personal interests, and his last chance at salvation. At times dizzying, often disconcerting. Always paneled masterfully, and always taking advantage of the nuances of tone possible with a full-color release, even if they just utilized black, white, green, and sepia. It’s just jaw-dropping incredible, and Pao Chikiamco said it better a few years back at how incredible this is.
Horsemen (Sere Cruz) — Sisenando is a Fil-am who reluctantly finds himself in the middle of the fighting between America and Germany in World War II as a soldier and a gunner. It basically follows him as the fighting goes on around him, as he takes it all in with a mixture of terror and bravery. From the pacing and presentation it’s definite that the author was able to talk to a relative or friend about the war, as this has an honesty to it that is hard to ignore. The amount of detail going into each page is also quite impressive, without creating messy and confusing panels. I’m not sure if the border panels in the second issue were necessary, though, causing a distraction for the eyes. But on the whole, quite a remarkable piece.