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Indie Comic Review: Broadleaf

One thing a story has to have is a clear vision. It needs to not only know what it is but effectively be able to communicate that to the audience. Audiences do love surprises and twists in the story. They don't want to have things be predictable, but they also want to know what they are in for. The reading experience needs to be on solid ground, even if that solid ground can lead them in unexpected territory. While there are many things about Broadleaf to admire, it just doesn't have that solid ground that I'm looking for in a story. 

 

It starts off as a father and son venture into the forest to do some hunting. The relationship is firmly established from the beginning. The son is not all that enthused at the prospect of killing animals while his father understands it is a necessary part of life. Things take a turn when they try to shoot a deer, only for that deer to run away and get sucked into a spiritual world. The other deer it was with talk about leaving him behind and ultimately try to escape the hunter. Meanwhile, the hunter is approached by a wolf he can communicate with, much to his son's surprise. The issue ends as the son takes his first shot.

 

On the plus side, Broadleaf has some interesting characters and a plot that I was eager to see unfold. Also, the art is fairly solid, even if I couldn't pin down who exactly it was meant to appeal to. The intended audience for the story seems a little murky, but that's not my biggest complaint. For the most part, I just couldn't understand what the story was trying to accomplish. It creates tension between the father and son that is unexpectedly subverted by the father's connection to the forest animals. Also, the spiritual aspect of the story adds an unforeseen element that leaves more questions than answers. That doesn't mean the story doesn't know where it's going or won't tie it up nicely in the end. But as an isolated issue one, it left me scratching my head and wondering if perhaps it would have been a better experience if the entire story was told in one sitting as part of a graphic novel rather than a single issue.

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