Eleanor And The Egret #5 Review: Fear The Bird

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Having sent Mr. Ives packing, Eleanor and Ellis the egret take the fight to Anastasia Rue herself. It is a fight between the art thief and the artist. Who will make it out on top?

Eleanor and the Egret #5 cover by Sam Kieth
Eleanor and the Egret #5 cover by Sam Kieth

I'd be remiss not to bring up the bizarre framing of this tale. Beyond the talking and size-changing egret what eats art, it's interesting that the art thief is the protagonist of the piece and the artist herself the villain. Racking my brain with the premise, the best idea I could come to something on the nature of corporatization of art and how it steals identities from people. It's a pretty anti-capitalist idea, and I can groove on that.

Of course, I regularly buy and read comics from two large publishing companies owned by two corporate entertainment monoliths which use work from many long-dead writers and artists, so I am definitely a part of the problem.

To Aftershock's credit, the comics are creator-owned, so they are fighting against that problem. However, I'm circling the drain of a lengthy and complex discussion which would certainly draw this review away from the subject matter, so I'll stop there.

Anyway, this is a difficult book to evaluate. It's quite surreal, and it works on a near dreamlike logic. Plot beats just pop out of nowhere, and it just makes complete sense to the characters.

Ellis the talking egret is great for sure, and he is very enjoyable. Eleanor is charming for sure.

The problem with working something this surreal is that tension tends to evaporate as the plot tends to just work itself out at its own time, leaving you not entirely sure whether the conflict is ramping up. To its credit, Eleanor and the Egret does try to keep the tension high with this showdown set-up between Eleanor and Rue. However, it never feels like there is any danger, and the stakes don't show themselves until the very end.

However, there is certainly fun to be had, and it wasn't a bad experience.

Sam Kieth's artwork definitely adds a lot to the experience, and he plays with the style and set-dressings to emphasize certain ideas in an effective manner. The characters are quite expressive both in facial movements and stance. Ronda Pattison's faded color work adds to the dreamlike aesthetic, making the proceedings seem like they have just barely blinked into existence.

While not exactly my thing, Eleanor and the Egret #5 is a fun ride with some interesting ideas. The artwork is quite effective, and the story is unique if nothing else with some likable characters mixed in. If you're not receptive to surrealism and odd structuring, then you may want to skip this one. However, if what I explained to you sounds like a fun ride, then you should definitely pick it up.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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