Friday, September 30, 2011

Leave it to Chance, Volume 1: Shaman's Rain

Listed in "500 Essential Graphic Novels" as: Adventure (Top 10)
Contains: Leave it to Chance #1-4
Year: Originally: 1996; This volume: 2002
Publisher: 1996: DC; This volume: Image Comics
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Paul Smith (Art)
        Jeromy Cox (Colors)

Hey, gang...

Well, provided I finish this post without spontaneously combusting, falling asleep from the toll of the work week, or otherwise keeling over, I think I've met my goal.  That was to get three "sets" (of five; each of which included four "Best of the Rest" books and one "Top 10" book from 500 Essential Graphic Novels) done before the end of September so I could steal yet another idea from my brother (who does a film blog similar to this one at ) and do a sort of end-of-the-month round-up for September.

And any of us could spontaneously combust at any time, so let's get to it!

We begin Leave it to Chance, Volume 1: Shaman's Rain with young Chance Falconer staring proudly at her father Lucas Falconer who is a practioner of the occult and protector of their town of Devil's Echo.  Lucas is giving a press conference after having just defeated a giant demon threatening the town and all the press want to crowd around, praise him, and ask questions.

Chance may be more enamoured with what her father's actually just done, though, rather than Lucas himself.  You see, Chance has just turned fourteen years of age.  The age when young Falconers undergo their first trainings in occult protection.

Chance's father doesn't share her excitement.

He's been scarred by his trade, losing a wife as a result, and besides...  Chance is a young lady.  Lucas Falconer wants a strong male heir to carry on his magicks.

The young, exuberant Chance won't seem to take "no" for an answer, though...

And here we begin the story...

This volume, which has had mountains of acclaim heaped on it, been nominated for Harvey and Eisner awards, and to which Mr. Kannenberg gives a weighty five stars in 500 Essential Graphic Novels leaves me with a simple one word question: How?

The work is an all-ages book that's seemingly perhaps geared at young ladies. I give it some accolades on that front.  Young ladies need their heroines and there's probably a shortage of good ones.  Chance is a fine one.  It's said to have found fans among males and even older readers, too.

As far as me, myself: I can't even say that this book isn't my cup of tea when just a few reviews ago I was raving about how Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic was an awesome journey through many a magical wonderland, exposing fantasies and daydreams come to life on the page.

We've got a bit of that here, but we've also got an oppressed contigent of goblins who've been drugged to attack sewer workers (?) and too many politics of a mayoral race for me to think that this might be enjoyed by a young girl.  That politics bit took me out of it.  I wanna see more crazy creatures from other worlds, not a rerun of evening CNN programming.

Speaking of what we did see, though, the artwork by Paul Smith and Jeromy Cox was nice.  It was fittingly cartoonish, but beautiful as the characters, dragons, beasties, and other fun things jumped off the page.

I don't know, maybe I've lost my youth and can't get into something of this nature.  Maybe this one just wasn't for me plot-wise.  I really expected an all ages story to pack more adventure and less politics, thugs (though they were cool-looking monsters), and fictional media coverage.

Bottom line from this reader: A fantastic young, little girl protagonist who just won't quit, but in the end too much real-life clutter and not enough escapism for this thirty-something dude to be carried away by.

Mr. Kannenberg's rating: 5 out of 5
My rating: 2 out of 5
15 down, 485 to go

Join me (hopefully and probably sometime within the next 24 hours) next time as I run down the month of September and give a final word on our first 15 readings here, folks.

I'll also give you the scoop at that time on the next five books we'll delve into as we begin October and hopefully get at least one of those reviewed this weekend, as well.

I thank all of you who have even glanced upon this page and invite each of you to start any discussion you'd like by commenting. 

Until next time... Be good, be well, and take care...


  1. Still reading dude! Good stuff here. Yes, this doesn't sound like my cup of tea. The pictures you posted made it look kind of like Manga and the story sounds kind of me.

  2. Yeah, come to think of it, the art WAS a bit manga-influenced. I really didn't have an issue with the art, though.

    The premise of the whole story could have been pretty cool. The young girl following in her father's footsteps as a sort of occult pratictioner... I could get into that.

    The problem was, as I said in the review, all the politics and gangs of thugs and that sort of thing. I've come to realize that I like a lot of things having to do with crime fiction, but to introduce those organized crime and political elements into an all-ages story about a young girl... This should have focused more on the magical and fantasy aspects of things to make it work. At least for me...

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting, bro. It means a lot. :)