IT’S HERE. IT’S FINALLY HERE.
My most anticipated release of the year has arrived and let me tell you, it’s exactly what I wanted. Legendary creators Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson have begun the third volume of their musical, magical saga. This story focuses on Emily Aster, a character from the previous volumes of Phonogram, who is revealed to have some sort of ability to travel into music videos. Or something. Whatever is happening in this book is very mysterious at the moment, but trust me, it’s very entertaining. As entertaining as the music videos that are gonna be featured in the comic! Zing!
Speaking of music, I could not be happier with the references in this comic. The two most obvious references being the cover, which is a take on the cover for Duran Duran’s album Rio (featuring such hits as Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio!), and the plot point of Emily being transported into the video for A-Ha’s Take On Me (which is one of my many selections for songs to play when I enter a room). Keeping with the traditions set by the past volumes of Phonogram, the book features a glossary of references. This is incredibly handy for the references that are lost on a reader, and for those who want to discover new music. On the musical front, it goes without saying that Phonogram never fails to impress.
As for the storytelling, Gillen writes a mysterious, strange, and clever story, weaving in some more eerie elements than the past volumes of Phonogram. The dialogue is on point, and even has elements of the creative team’s other Image book, the Wicked + the Divine (which I adore as well, and highly recommend). I would even go so far as to call Phonogram WicDiv’s angry cousin. Each of my favourite characters show up, including my beloved Seth Bingo, the most pretentious DJ around. Konichiwa, bitches. Overall, the writing helps greatly to make this book what it is, and I wouldn’t want anyone but Kieron Gillen doing it.
The art is a step above the last volume, especially in Matt Wilson’s colours. There is far more depth and shadowing in his colours on this book, and it makes the last volume look very flat by comparison. It’s extremely interesting to see how much a colourist can grow in talent over the span of half a decade. McKelvie’s pencils, of course, are as top notch as ever, and the man continues to prove himself as one of my favourite artists working today.
I highly recommend picking up Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl if you are at all into music. Like, if you’ve ever heard a song in your life at some point. I think that has everyone covered.
PS: The first backup story marks the return of one of my favourite characters from the second volume, and it’s one of the most soul crushing things I’ve read all year. Bravo, honestly.