Stories like Polar are the reason the comic book medium exists. Victor Santos, the writer and artist behind this book, shows himself as a master craftsman in the medium of graphic novels, telling a story in black, white, and red.
Originally a web comic, this story shows the tale of a retired assassin and the corporate killers hunting him. From a young age my dad started showing me James Bond films. My love of spy movies transitioned into hit man films and Polar satisfies this itch.
The design in this book creates an experience like no other, telling the story in unique ways while still forwarding the narrative. I absolutely love the simplicity of this book. Santos shows the story instead of expressing it through character dialog like so many other books today. When reading Polar I came to the conclusion this was an art book with a narrative. Santos keeps the arc of the book moving while still providing an interesting artistic perspective.
However, this book is a quick read compared to how many pages there are. Each page keeps you moving through the book fluidly, a definite one sitting book. The PDF sent to me is 169 pages with over 140 of actual story pages. Reading this as a review at midnight, reading the while book took around 30-40 minutes. I attribute this to not a lack of story but a majority of the story being told through art instead of dialog.
Each page is beautiful, showing off Santos’ talent for page layout. The black and white nature with the overtones of red forms each page as almost a painting with intention and narrative within. The book may be a short read but it carries an impact, giving the reader a truly interesting narrative to follow while still keeping attention.
Our mysterious main character, Black Kaiser, gives off the air of a hard ass assassin. The book is full of stylized violence, sex, and overall beautiful pages. The comparison between Polar and Sin City can be drawn quickly with similar ideas behind color design, featuring scantily clad women, guns, and eye patches. Santos doesn’t rip off Sin City though, not necessarily creating homage to Frank Miller’s work either. He takes the idea of color used before and molds it for his own use, showing how pre-existing ideas can still be recreated in surprisingly refreshing ways.
The cover price of this book is $17.99 and it’s a fair price for what you’re getting, especially considering the book is hard cover. If you’re a fan of non-super hero comic books or love simple yet stylized art then you’ll want to head down to your local comic book shop and get this booked pulled for you on November 27
GNN Comic Grade: 8.7 Near Mint