ARIA: The Soul Market

Brian Holguin, Author, Jay Anacleto, Illustrator, David Yardin, Illustrator . Image $26.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-58240-282-6

The second Aria album collects all six chapters of an Image mini-series in an oversized volume that demands as much attention for the art as for the story—a good strategy, as it turns out. The plot alternates scenes from the social lives of New York's beautiful people with uncanny events in various fantastic worlds. Some of the beautiful people are not quite human, including Kildare, a 900-year-old princess of Faerie who runs a curio shop and hangs out with her supernatural friends. Her safe existence is disrupted by the arrival of the mischievously evil Puck, ironically using the name of Goodfellow. This part of the story is told neatly enough, but the art disappoints. Everything is drawn carefully but stiffly, as if the characters were mannequins. In the other parts of the story, though, when the fantastic dominates the scene, the art (by Roy Martinez and Lan Medina) comes alive, full of drama and glamour. At those points, Aria deserves its deluxe presentation. Unfortunately, different story elements aren't reconciled: the rules of the situation change from moment to moment. It's hard to believe, for example, that Goodfellow can put together the eponymous sale yet can't anticipate the consequences. To say he's inept because he's evil would be a cop-out, since he's survived so long already. Series creator Holguin obviously cares deeply for Kildare, but it would be nice if readers could follow her adventures without having to turn off their brains. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
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