REVIEWS: Turning Tiger (review by Peter Loftus)

Turning Tiger - Front Cover

Story – Richmond Clements
Art – Alex Moore
Letters – Jim Campbell
Colour – 60 pages
Renegade Arts 2011
Turning Tiger was originally published digitally in 2009 by Canadian Renegade Arts and is due for a print release in August 2011.
The comic opens with a fairly typical breakfast scene. Sarah, a pre-teen living in modern day America is late for school because she’s too busy watching cartoons. It is all her mother can do to get the girl out the door and into the car. Meanwhile, on a top secret military base not too far away a coterie of eggheads and military brass are testing their newest weapon – a trio of giant robots the like of which has not been since Evangelion.
The narrative cuts back to Sarah, whose mother is doing her best to make up lost time by driving too quickly, which as any comic buff knows, is a recipe for disaster. Before too long, Sarah and her mother find themselves staring down the business end of an oncoming truck, with the inevitable result: a splash page of traffic carnage.
Back at the base, the robots are being put through their paces against an array of missiles. Everything is going swimmingly until, at the exact instant of Sarah’s crash, one of the robots goes offline, breaking formation and haring off into the blue. What made the robot react that way? Will Sarah survive? What happens next? No plot spoilers here – you’ll have to read it yourself to find out!
Turning Tiger is artist Alex Moore’s first attempt at a major comic project and it’s a job well done. The character designs are effective and the robots, while not too distinctive from others we may have seen, work well – especially in the more dynamic poses. The layouts are strong and generally easy to follow, with the exception of some of the action scenes where a little of the coherency is lost because the start/finish positions of the objects aren’t consistent and clear enough.
It is quite obvious that Moore comes from an illustration/animation background, which may prove something of a stumbling block for some readers. Personally, I found the character design to be too by-the-numbers and some of the backgrounds were a little sterile and generic. Overall, Moore’s greatest talent lies in a cinematic approach which utilises varied perspectives to help get the most out of the story.
As far as the story is concerned, Richmond Clements has produced something that is well paced and makes for a decent read. Readers may feel that they have seen some of the scenes before (The Sarah – robot back garden scene might bring to mind a recent movie adaptation of a well known franchise, for example). The story is relatively uncomplicated, as if the author intended to develop his themes and ideas more fully in upcoming releases. What this means is that it reads a little like a pitch, as if it was written with a view to establishing the series rather than simply telling a self-contained story. But that’s if you want to take the cynical view.  Ultimtely, this is a well-produced piece of work and a worthy first effort.
Review by Peter Loftus