I have to admit that I bought this comic book because of a surprisingly good salesperson at a local comic shop. I went in looking for a copy of “I Kill Giants”, but they were out of stock, so the cashier directed me to “Four Eyes” instead. He made sure to inform me that it was only the first couple issues, but I bought it anyway and read most of it standing right there in the store. The rest I read sitting in my car, with the A/C going full blast, sniffing and gulping back tears.
Joe Kelly’s modus operandi seems to be, “tell gut-wrenching stories about little kids that make adults (even childless ones) cry profusely”. He has a talent for using his character development and plotlines to reach right into your heart. It’s almost effortless-I’ve read some stories where you feel compelled to have pity for a character. Joe Kelly panders to no one, and instead offers up just the right combination of action, fantasy, and the instinctive emotional overtones of the human heart.
“Four Eyes” takes place during a fantasy version of our world during the Great Depression. The protagonist is a young man named Enrico, whose Italian father instills in him an unbending commitment to honor. Throughout the book you see him faced with choices no child should have to make, with a tenacity that many adults would do well to learn from. As an only child he is often alone, yet Joe’s writing is so fast-paced that Enrico rarely has a chance to be lonely. Like many other children his age, Enrico is forced to grow up very quickly, but Joe manages to bring forth the bitterness locked away inside Enrico without totally compromising the character. Enrico is still a child, and acts with a child’s intentions.
Max Fiumara’s fantastic artwork brings out the gritty underside to this story. His use of bleak, faded colors brings the reality of the situation to the forefront of the reader’s mind, but the art itself never compromises. I particularly enjoyed the exaggeration he gave some of the characters’ forms, in order to bring certain aspects of the story to light.
I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t read it, but if you like revenge dramas, rooting for the underdog, or historical fiction, pick up a copy of this comic! Joe Kelly reportedly has plans to write more issues, but there’s no release date in sight yet. However, even if you’re only able to read half of this wonderful series, I’d say there are far worse things you could spend your time and money on. This comic is worth it.
~ Shiera Carter ~
Letter From The Editor: The first collection of Four Eyes issues, “Forged in Flame” is available at Instocktrades.com for only $5.99. Please be aware that this is the first of what looks to be a blockbuster series, but the subsequent parts have not been created, nor are they even scheduled to be created. It’s not that I don’t champion the series, I just don’t want to get your hopes up too much.