Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sky Doll #3 Review

Written by Barbara Canepa & Alessandro Barbucci
Art by Alessandro Barbucci
Translation by C.B. Cebulski

Sky Doll #3 wraps up the first Sky Doll storyarc with a bang as the Agape religious faction begins rioting in the streets of the Holy City after the events of last issue.

Meanwhile, our conquering "heroes" return from Aqua after effectively putting an end to the Aquarian people's only means of reproduction, ending any future for their people and Agape-worshipping religion.

After the events on Aqua, Roy has become bitter and disenfranchised after being betrayed by his best friend, Jahu, and the very religion he worshiped and represented. While it looked as if Roy was becoming the generic dark and brooding ex-idealist, it actually built to the eventual confrontation with Noa and the two's budding romance would have taken a step forward if not for being interrupted just before their first kiss. However, it the brief interlude served its purpose and snapped Roy out of his funk and was a great character moment between the two.

One of the things I loved about this issue was the way Canepa and Barbucci play up the media aspect, moreso than in previous issues, of the Lodovica faction and the portrayal of Papess Lodovica and the gradual breaking down of her character as everything she's built crumbles around her and, by issue's end, her reaction to the betrayal of her most trusted advisor and would-be lover, the Miracolatore, who we've seen actually despises Lodovica and her distorted view of religion.

The conflict between the Lodovica and Agape factions comes to a head in this issue with the Agape faction adopting a terrorist-like focus and attacking the Lodovica television show, which Noa, Jahu and Roy were being celebrated for their actions on Aqua. This leads to the shocking death of Roy, who is shot on camera by the extremist faction. In the chaos and confusion, Noa takes the fallen Roy and performs a miracle on live television, reviving the fallen Roy to the shock of everyone.

It's a powerful scene that means different things to different people and is a testament to this series.  
It is revealed that Noa was created by the Miracolatore and he has one of his Agape followers at the studio put Noa on the line and he tells Noa he is her father and that he wants to come see him. This leads to an interesting internal struggle on Noa's part that is voiced for the readers by the Cleopatra character and it details the desire of people to please their creators, which I can be taken as a religious or familial connotation, and how it is juxtaposed against people's desire to explore the unknown and make connections with people and the pursuit of your own happiness, which can relate to any number of things, such as love, science or the general lack of faith in the religious system. It's a powerful scene that means different things to different people and is a testament to this series.

In the end, Noa has the decision made for her as Roy "saves" her from her predicament and he, Jahu and Cleopatra all take off for the stars, ending this chapter of the story on a high note with the promise of more to come.

However, this leads into my only complaint about Sky Doll and Marvel's adaptation of the work for North America (although, Heavy Metal technically already did this, but I believe those counted as imports instead of licensed NA translations) - the fact that the story isn't completed. Yes, you can get a fully satisfying story from these first three issues with a beginning, middle and end, but it would be like reading all the way up to the death of Captain America or Bucky taking over - you got a complete story, but you know it's only act one or two of a major story and you won't be able to read the rest of it anytime soon. This isn't the fault of Marvel and I applaud them for taking the initiative and bringing over such an ambitious product like the Soleil titles, but it doesn't change the fact there is literally no more Sky Doll, outside of a character sketchbook, available, here or in Europe. It's just not done. Maybe this project will inspire Canepa and Barbucci to finish up Volume 4 and to work on future volumes after that, but that doesn't lessen my disappointment that I won't be able to read anymore Sky Doll for a long, long time.

Verdict - Must Read. If you haven't picked up any issues yet, wait for the eventual trade. While I want this book to be as successful as possible to help spur the production of more volumes and to ensure the success of the Soleil North American line, you would be best served,at this point, holding off on a beautiful oversized hardover if you haven't bought any issues of this yet. Again, this is an amazing title with beautiful art and a story that will make you question your own beliefs in regards to religion, science, politics and everything in between.

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