Any Empire


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Succeeded the First Mexican Empire which was short lived — Nanjing — , Beijing — Largest contiguous land empire. The artwork is so good. The inks are so well done and in general everything is visually good. And then, the story begins.

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What I thought was I'd read about a bunch of kids having their own adventures and whatnot. I didn't mind the war part, I love war books and comics. I love everything about history, war, military and whatnot. So yeah, other than that, the story itself is a bunch of kids killing animals and also a bunch of grown ups the kids all grown up being soldiers and these two stories are getting in between each other and whatnot.

The story is ok at first and then it gets really boring really fast. The whole turtle thing kept it interesting but the outcome was meh It gets 2 stars because of the artwork alone the more I think about it, because honestly I had fun when I started reading this and I finished it bored as fuck.

Apr 11, Dov Zeller rated it liked it Shelves: Hi all, I am going to do a pastiche of excerpts from other gr reviews below. Personally, I found this book to be baffling and preachy, a strange combination. Some things that might have made the book more meaningful to me would be 1 to have understood the action 2 to have been able to form a better connection with the characters and to recognize who was doing what when 3 to have a better understanding of the chronology 4 to have known here captioning would have worked great that the end was Hi all, I am going to do a pastiche of excerpts from other gr reviews below.

Some things that might have made the book more meaningful to me would be 1 to have understood the action 2 to have been able to form a better connection with the characters and to recognize who was doing what when 3 to have a better understanding of the chronology 4 to have known here captioning would have worked great that the end was at least to a degree based on actual events. I thought in that last part the book was going back and forth in time to some fantastical but real-in-the-book apocalypse.

But according to Seth T's interesting and informative review, the U. Still, the ending was kind of a mess and whatever interest I had in the book was at that point unraveled. It is fair to say that sometimes a narrative has very good reasons for being opaque. Perhaps Powell had his reasons but it is hard for me to see what was gained by not offering a stronger more lucid connection to the characters and action here. Quotes from GR folks below I think I only linked to one of the reviews because there was more than one person with that name.

The rest are hopefully easy for you to find! Great visual storytelling, although sometimes the precise narrative thread is elusive and character relationships remain opaque. The storytelling was super disjointed and hard to follow. The characters felt undeveloped. I really really disliked the parts where in order to signify inaudible talking,the words were super small and unreadable.

If you've forgotten Swallow Me Whole, the male protagonist talks to a wizard the size of his fist and the female lead becomes the Queen of Insects. The art was luscious, and it totally captured the rhythms of how children interact with each other, which is annoyingly hard to do right. And for all that it was pretty heavy-handed, it still really put its finger on something particularly sad about the ways boys learn to engage with the concept of violence. The fantastical-realism was intriguing here.

The way Powell illustrates the unabashed violence and brutality of his characters in their younger years and the way that violence, both enacted and witnessed, influences their adulthood is gripping and tragic. I ended up not liking it very much. I felt like the characters were yelling at me the whole time, and the jump to adulthood in the end was too fast. The story was too disjointed for me to ever get to know or care about the characters… -Kim Herrington Nate Powell's artwork is incredible, but I never felt emotionally invested in this book.

I did not feel that I understood the characters or that I could get into their heads. This is partly due to the lack of narrative captions or thought balloons, as well as the inexpressivity of the facial expressions. Furthermore, the storytelling is often unclear. And I have no idea what all is going on at the end of the book, although here the lack of clarity is probably on purpose. Sep 09, Dani Shuping rated it really liked it Shelves: Also entering their world is Sarah who struggles to find out whose mutilating local turtles and…making the villains suffer.

Together they grow up, apart, and back together and have to answer questions about choice, war, hope, and belonging.

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In many places there are long stretches where the panels tell an evocative story of growing up and attempting to make friends. The main protagonist in this story, Lee, really resonates with me. Not because I would day dream about soldiers and war all of the time, but because I would day dream.

And I also had friends like Purdy. Who would dream of being a solider and who would exaggerate the accomplishments of their father to fit in. Nate has accurately captured the feeling and mentality of real life with his story telling. I can relate to each and every character that Nate has crafted and feel like I really know them. And his illustrations are pitch perfect and his ability accurately capture the expressions of the human face is amazing.

The biggest issue I had with really understanding this work is right at the end of the book. And part of my problem is that I expected the reality to consider yes the characters day dreamed so it was fantasy, but it was still reality. My expectations diverged and I had to read the book a couple of times to fully appreciate and understand what was going on.

I also found help in reading an interview that Nate did with Graphic Novel Reporter about the book and the insight he offered about what he was thinking with the ending. I do wish that there was an afterward or perhaps a foreword that these types of events that Nate depicts in the last part of the book…are real. It would have gone a long way to clearing up some of the confusion I had. Nate Powell is a master illustrator and a fantastic storyteller.

I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. Jun 19, Robert rated it liked it. Perhaps I need to give this title some more time to mature, like allowing a wine to breath to truly appreciate the nuances and sublime subtleties. But with that said, I'm sure the sparse details are deliberate story-telling but are they effective? This is my struggle.

With a lack of details come the ambiguity or guess work that conclude choices and like many choices, we won't truly appreciate the effect that these choices will have on our lives until some time later. This is part of Nate Powell's Perhaps I need to give this title some more time to mature, like allowing a wine to breath to truly appreciate the nuances and sublime subtleties. This is part of Nate Powell's point, and this much I gather. But is this effective story-telling and how does an artist convey this type of message within the confines of a graphic novel? An ambitious venture, to be sure, and for that Nate Powell deserves high praise.

Did I just read something that was completely brilliant tale or was this merely an exercise in random thought exercised to paper and pen? Maybe, if there is such a thing. Because after everything, I don't think I should feel quite as apathetic as I do. Nov 12, Vim rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Top Shelf Productions Received Via: A kid holding a gun. Well, this book is definitely not for kids.

I'm not very familiar with militarism unlike other people so I couldn't relate to some parts of this book. The plot is a bit confusing because of the flash forward scenes wherein the character's past experiences tried to merge with that of the present.

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The illustrations are superb. The party scene kinda reminded me of Craig Thompson's illustrati Received from: The party scene kinda reminded me of Craig Thompson's illustrations. I just hoped that the characters doesn't look a like much or they should've have more distinct features so that I can easily identify them in the black and white output. All in all, the story is quite confusing but still an interesting read. This is the first time I read a work by Nate Powell I would like to read some more.

Feb 15, Devann rated it it was ok Shelves: Un guazzabuglio di scene banali che tra l'altro non sono nemmeno nascoste bene da disegni spesso talmente approssimativi da ricordare Jeff Lemire. Oct 27, Hillary rated it liked it Shelves: The art was great, but I was a lot less lost after I read Seth's review that clarified that the American military really did use small-town America as a training ground.

Way to be creepy, military. The comic could really benefit from a foreword or afterward about that. Aug 28, Rory Sheridan rated it it was amazing. Lacking a definable message it is more an exploration into violence and our exposure to it, and it's fantasy in youth. I love the surreal storytelling and the aspects of magic realism written into it. It improves with multiple reads. Aug 05, Joshua rated it it was ok. Wth did I just read? Jul 25, Brad T. Jun 30, Vi rated it liked it. May 06, P D rated it really liked it. Powell is fantastic with inks.

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I was introduced to his work in Swallow Me Whole , and the combination of tight lines outlines and shading interspersed with large areas of black and white is brilliant. He's also good at little subtleties; for instance, this one contains stylized panels from G. Joe which you don't need to be super familiar with here, but I suspect it's more fun if you do and the lady in them is posed so her breasts and bum are simultaneously visible, even when her torso Art: Joe which you don't need to be super familiar with here, but I suspect it's more fun if you do and the lady in them is posed so her breasts and bum are simultaneously visible, even when her torso is elongated.

Considering that no one else is blatantly sexualized and this is a story that includes implied sex , I'm guessing it's a little spot of commentary. Overall, there isn't a lot of dialogue, so the facial expressions and body language have to be reasonably precise, which they are. The one thing I had some trouble with was that it switches between the past and present technically not this present, it's somewhat of an alternate reality , and unlike manga the black borders don't consistently mean one or the other.

A reread cleared this up nicely, though. The chronology in the two halves isn't totally consistent, either—the adults do have a couple of flashbacks to earlier adult times, instead of skipping completely back to childhood—but again, a reread will fix it. Like 'Swallow Me Whole' there are some surreal elements, in part related to the switch between past and present, but you'll have to read the the book to see where that is: The blurbs for this graphic novel are a bit ambitious.

You could probably read that far into what's there, but overall this is pretty sparing with words. The dialogue does more to round out the characters than drive the story, and while it works brilliantly with the strength of his visuals, I don't think incorporating all of the thematic stuff is as successful. I read this twice, I suppose I could keep reading it to tease out every nuance, but I don't think that should be a requisite. But read it twice for sure. It does, though, give a good sense of how kids see war when it's glamorized for them. I mean, it's less so the case now what with journalists bringing back the less positive images some of which we see here; Abu Ghraib, anyone?

Any Empire

Joe and all that. Ignoring the blurbs, what story is more easily found is well done. It does make the determination of the girl come across more strongly as a comparison, and then some of the choices key word at the end. The childhood parts are about mid- to late-eighties, with high school graduation being The setting is the South. Based on the author bio, I'm assuming this is semi-autobiographical.

There are certainly elements that would resonate more strongly with people currently in their 30ss; as I've mentioned a couple of times, G. Joe, as well as having parents who served in Vietnam, and then having toy soldiers and playing at war and all that. Obviously, I didn't find the lack of familiarity insurmountable. I think it would more so be a nice extra.

Anyway, I want to dig up some of Powell's work where the writing was handled by someone else. I'm curious to see how he balances imagery with increased amounts of textual background if that happens at all. Mar 10, Jack rated it it was ok. Overall I was left feeling very confused after completing Any Empire.

This is my first Nate Powell novel and I think it might be a while before I try again. I left feeling at times things were very clear and at others I wasn't sure what was going on. By the end I was just trying to complete it and any meaning was beyond me.


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It was only after reading other readers comments that I began to piece together my own experience of what I read. The pacing is disjointed and despite all the positive qualit Overall I was left feeling very confused after completing Any Empire. The pacing is disjointed and despite all the positive qualities of the book I felt disappointed. I wouldn't recommend this to most people, as it goes really deep really quickly leaves most readers behind it wondering what happened and aims only to really please a small niche of folks. The dialogue was very believable and did not come off as condescending at all as sometimes it can when adults try to recreate teen conversations.

I really enjoyed the ways in which the make believe worlds of young children and teens are real to them and how he created the parallel images of toy soldiers with those of real war. It also recognizes the difficult realities that all kids face and that choices of life and death are not simply those for adults to make.

Powell also does a great job of muddying the waters so that one of the main male characters Purdy is both a bully and bullied himself. It ties in nicely with Lee's father stating that all men are capable of evil acts. The narrative moved too quickly at times though to where I didn't get that what I was reading was a flash forward. I feel that overall the pace of the story was too jerky and all over the place. Just when I was getting a handle on things the narrative would shift and then other parts were so short I had trouble putting them into the larger context.

I missed the whole part about Sarah being the CPS worker in the story until I read it in another person's review. I felt like I kept missing key parts and because of the sparse dialogue and lack of guiding author influence I felt lost throughout. There are parts of background knowledge about the military training in actual towns and the tie in with the Peace on Earth story on the t. The message of the graphic novel about militarism and how it infiltrates society at large is not new to me and I think the novel suffers because of the vagueness of it all and lack of clarity.

This is not to say this is bad it just is not to my taste. It left me feeling confused and when I did some research to become a little less confused I felt disappointed because it did't present me with a new perspective. Any new perspective is lost on the reader because of the confusing nature and over all despite the beautiful drawings it left me feeling flat. Apr 15, Brian rated it liked it. I have to admit that I feel guilty for rating this 3 stars. At a convention in , I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting at length with Nate Powell.

I just happened to be walking through Artist's Alley when I heard someone say "Neurosis It was Nate Powell, creator of this title, and he was possibly the friendliest human I might have ever met. We talked at length about Cometbus fanzine, punk rock shows and comics. As I stated, Nate Powell is a person that you want to support wholeheartedly. Artistically-speaking, Nate Powell is definite talent. His illustrations remind me of Will Eisner's in that he marries the art of human expressiveness with a clear understanding of cartooning.

His black-and-white lines come to life and add depth without a single word written down.

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The book itself is a work of art and coming from Top Shelf, I am not mildly surprised. Like Fantagraphics, they put a hefty amount of effort into making their products unique in an adventure-driven market. So, why only 3 stars? Simply put, I read the entire book in one sitting that lasted barely more than 30 minutes.

As much as I love comics for their interpretive storytelling, I was disappointed in what seems like a dearth of wordplay. I did like this book and the craftsmanship involved. Keep an eye on Nate Powell. He has it in him to be in same conversation as Jeff Lemire or Craig Thompson. Mar 08, Alexander Wichser rated it it was amazing.

This book has a little bit of something for everyone.


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  6. Weather it be mystery, action, love, or using your imagination. In the story it tells of a boy named Lee, who uses his creative imagination to make up stories in his head of war and battle. He meets this boy named Purdy who has dreams of enlisting in the military, but for now he is in this club that does some questionable things. There are four people in the club, Purdy, Josh, and the twins, named Matt and Mark.

    Josh's older sister, Sarah, lo This book has a little bit of something for everyone. Josh's older sister, Sarah, loves animals and is finding these turtles whose shells have been broken and is determined to find who does this, although she does have a pretty good idea who is doing it. Lee meets Purdy, who in a way takes him under his wing but turns out to be a little bit of a bully. Later in the book when they are in high school they have grown up more.

    Lee starts dating, Sarah works for Child Services with her mom, and Purdy plans to and does enter the military. Now when they are grown up Lee has hopes of being the life of the party, he then meets Sarah at an interview at Child Services, and eventually start dating. Although, Purdy, while on patrol, is injured by a mine and loses an arm. He gets a military grade arm that can do lots of tasks and he is assigned to a new operation that is to take place in his home town and "attack" it.

    Over all this book tells about "war" and what it does and how it changes people. Jan 09, Emilia P rated it really liked it Shelves: I live in the same town as you, Nate Powell!

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