Vimanarama #1

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Bond
40 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

There are many different types and styles of storytelling; some can shift from one form of media to another with the greatest of ease, while others seem bound to a specific form. It’s important, though, to not get caught up in your assumptions of what can and cannot work. If so you’ll blind yourself that the impossible can be done… like, for instance, combining science-fiction comics with elements of Bollywood musicals.

Ali is a good, dutiful son, always doing what his family asks of him. When his brother falls down a hole in the family convenience store, though, it leads to an ancient city where a great evil was once locked away. Even more importantly, Ali’s new fiancee is about to arrive in town and he’s got to know if she’s going to be beautiful or not! He’s got to have priorities, after all, and just once he’d like to have something good happen in his life…

When I read the first page of Vimanarama, I smiled and nodded because this was familiar territory; the trouble that our hero grudgingly has to solve amidst an urban sprawl and social dilemmas. Then I turned the page, and the story erupted into a two-page spread with dancing women to spotlight and introduce Ali, and I was hooked. It’s the little touches that push Vimanarama‘s writing from an average book into a really fun book: the snappy dialogue, the over-dramatic declarations, the reveal of the romantic rival. Vimanarama is trying to have fun by taking a style of movie and infusing it into the comic, and it works quite nicely. All we’re missing at this point is an actual song, but we’ve also got two more issues to go. Grant Morrison keeps the story of the first issue moving at a nice clip, introducing the cast, setting up the conflicts, and at the end of this first act having all of the pieces in place for the battle to begin.

Every time I see a comic by Philip Bond the same thought enters my mind: “Why is this man not a superstar?” Bond’s art has such a lovely quality to it, with character designs that are both distinctly stylized as well as very true to life. He’s able to bring so much across in his art; a single street scene tells you exactly what sort of neighborhood we’re in, his characters are clothed with care, and their expressions are priceless. Even his layouts look stylish, with Vimanarama using lots of diagonal lines and scattered panels across the page to give it a beautiful sort of elegance. Bond is one of those artists who can draw both crazy, far out ideas and down-to-earth normalcy at the drop of a hat, and it’s nice to see that in Vimanarama he’s given the chance to showcase both of those sides of his creativity.

Vimanarama is just fun, pure and simple. Morrison’s been creating a great number of fantastic mini-series lately (Seaguy, We3, with all of his Seven Soldiers related books to come) and Vimanarama continues to hold up the high standard he’s set for himself. If Morrison wanted to just write mini-series like Vimanarama for the rest of his life, and get artists as good as Bond to draw them, I’d cheerfully buy them all. If you want something that’s going to make you grin from start to finish, look no further. I can’t wait for the other two issues.

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