Read Hinges, Book 3: Mechanical Men by Meredith McClaren Free Online
Book Title: Hinges, Book 3: Mechanical Men|
The author of the book: Meredith McClaren
Edition: Image Comics
Date of issue: February 8th 2017
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1137 times
Reader ratings: 7.7
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.36 MB
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Well here we are, the final volume of Hinges and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I really really want more of this world. Meredith has crafted a truly intriguing world, populated by mysterious paper tigers that roam the ruins of other cities, marionettes that patrol the streets, and dolls who all are as real and lively as us. It is a fantasy unbound from Tolkien or C. S. Lewis and instead rooted more in the trappings and ideas of The Wizard of Oz. The art, once again, is spectacular, highlighting the subtle (and not so subtle) emotions of the characters. Meredith has a talent for posing characters and drawing faces that can convey such complicated emotions, something many artists are unable to do. One fine example of this is the four panel sequence where Orio realizes the purpose of the watch. In the two panels she is in, (the watch is in the other two), she is still partially hunched from feeling defeated, but then a memory flies across her eyes, and even though her face only shifts a tiny amount, it's enough to tell us that she's thought of something and it's a good thing. A big thing.
The paneling in this issue, though, is a bit more rocky. Splash pages are used to convey big moments but it's used so often that it loses its impact. There is one point, where bauble is with one of the tigers, where within 7 pages there are 3 splash pages and 2 pages with just one or two medium sized panels on them. The effect, slowing our eyes down and giving a claustrophobia to the action, works well, but the events don't support the paneling choices. The action is fairly minimal and the stakes aren't that high.
Speaking of the action, this is another area where the art really lets the story down. As great as Meredith is at drawing emotion, her action isn't as coherent. It's hard to tell what is happening at any given time when large amount of action is happening. The best equivalent I can give is that the panels feel like they were shot in shaky cam. Positioning of characters in relation to events is difficult to visualize and how the action moves is hard to discern through the blurs. But when the book slows down, the art once again shines with a clarity that reminds me why I love seeing Meredith's art. Although the coloring issue refunds. The colors are beautiful and nicely varied but they, and the lack of hard, defining edges and more heavy shading, make separating details and what is part of the background difficult. But, again it is the quiet moments, the silent ones, that she crafts best and I wish that she had given this project more time.
What I mean by this is that I wish she had done two things, given the story a longer run so as to flesh out the world and the many, many questions left unanswered (what is a bauble, why was this bauble special, who is Orio, where do the people come from, what were the other cities, what's up with the clock and what is this place, is it a fantasy world or something different), and given herself more time to write and plot the story before beginning it. The plotting, now that we have reached the end, is wildly inconsistent in terms of pacing and what is seems to want to be. In fact, the entire plot of this volume feels out of place, like it should have been happening much later, after we got to know more about the town, the villain and the world. The first volume is very much concerned with setting up the world and how Orio fits (or, doesn't fit) into it. The second volume is more adventuring, teasing out clues as to the lore of the world and its inhabitants. But then, out of nowhere (well not totally out of nowhere, it was being set up before), we get a McCarthy/soviet style shutdown of the city and a villainous plot whose reasons are never explained. The entire book is also rushed through, with events that should be expanded upon and dramatized more being truncated, and entire plots seemingly magic-ed into existence with no prior set up or explanation of importance afterwards.
And it's not the dialogue that is the issue. The dialogue, while prominent, is written well and feels natural to the characters. It's just that the actual events don't give the story enough time to breathe. The whole villain plot throws our characters motivations into whack and sidelines the questions of vol. 1&2 in favor of a, look at the evil guy doing evil things let's stop him, motivation. It's selling her characters and the story short. Although these questions may be unimportant to actually answer, more examples and world building around why things such as being stringless is shocking and how being stringless works would have greatly helped me to understand the stakes of the decisions people were making. As it stands, this work was too short for its own good. It rushed to a conclusion that should have been split across twice as many chapters and justify the first two volumes' great but slow pace. There were no reveals that clarified anything here, which is a shame because while the reveals were bad at clarifying, I did always have the sense that they had a larger purpose and history that I wish could have been explained.
The pace I just mentioned is the reason I seem harsh on the events of this volume, which were this to have been the closing volume of any other work, would have been great. But because the first two volumes were so slow in their reveal of information, this one feels way too rushed. Motivations weren't fully established and changes to the status quo weren't given enough time to set in and develop. I was truly expecting, based on the pace, at least 2 more volumes. (Although I'm always appreciative of any series that sets itself an end date).
All that being said though, I'm very glad I read this series. It is a world unlike that of any others and I hope that in the future, we can see more of it. Maybe this project is one that can be revisited down the line with a tighter script, a bit more clarity to the details and a longer time to spend immersed in such a unique and great story. Here's to whatever project is next for Meredith!
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Read information about the authorMeredith McClaren is an illustrator and cartoonist who has no business doing either.
She sometimes entertains the idea of drawing the fourth book in Jen Van Meter’s Hopeless Savages series. And her journal comic Scraps indulges her closeted narcissism.
Supposedly she has a postal code in Arizona, but really, she could be anywhere.
And don’t touch her stuff.
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