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‘Decorum’ HC (review)

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Mike Huddleston
Published by Image Comics

 

The singularity, artificial intelligence, imperialism, feminism, such grandiose concepts are seldom addressed with any level of thoroughness, especially within the comic book genre. Decorum is Jonathan Hickman’s attempt at tackling those narratives. While the end results are mixed, Hickman scores major points for the attempt alone.

Few can argue Hickman’s ability to grapple with large complex themes. Whenever he wrote for the Marvel titles, he took readers to places that pushed our collective imagination. No one plays with the multiverse and reincarnation quite like Hickman.

Decorum strikes a similar vein. Hickman is fascinated with creation narratives. This series is dense with creation, colonialism and the definition of reality. It is very similar to the House of X/Power of X series authored by Hickman.

This time Hickman cannot utilize Marvel’s mythologies as an anchor to his abstract. At times, that makes the story a little difficult to read.

Even without the familiar tropes supplied by Marvel, Hickman still builds an incredible universe filled with robots, dinosaurs, and even giant mushrooms. He is easily one of the most creative minds comic books have to offer. The density of Hickman’s narrative often requires a second or even a third reading.

Decorum has plenty of storylines to keep you entertained.

Among my favorites is the relationship between Imogen and Neha. Watching Neha, a jaded youth, learn the assassin’s craft under Imogen’s tutelage is a treat. Most of the action centers around the pursuit of their mark, a singularity who will either bring chaos or restore order to the universe. It’s trippy.

Thankfully amongst all the plot complexity, Hickman still knows how to pace the action. He makes a conscious decision to characterize the protagonist and the protagonist’s mentor both women. It’s a smart choice. However, the innovative plot choices pale in comparison to the artwork of Mike Huddleston. The illustration, colors, and textures were stunning. Each page was its own work of art and clearly a highlight of the book.

There are moments when the narrative drags. Also, the payoff does not live up to the anticipation of what the singularity has to offer. Despite the flaws Decorum is worth your attention. The key characters are rich, and the artwork is richer. At one point Imogen tells Neha that “Artfulness and nuance can win you the world.” That is one of the meta concepts that fuels Decorum.

Hickman’s creative plot and Huddleson’s innovative artwork certainly won my world.

Grade: A

 

 

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