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BOOK REVIEW: Burger Force – Out of the Box by Jackie Ryan

BOOK REVIEW: Burger Force – Out of the Box by Jackie Ryan 

Jackie Ryan
January 2009
Comic, $4.95 (per issue)
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

8/10

Part 1

Are you ready to be Burger Forced? Step right up for Issue 1 – in which it becomes apparent that something is very, very wrong with Mercury’s life. Most of the people he knows seem to either loathe him or think him irretrievably mad (sometimes a delicate combination of the two). And that’s before the message appears in his orange juice…

“They don’t realise how special you are.”
“I’m quite certain of it.”
“You’re a very talented young man.”
“That’s what I’ve been telling myself. When I talk to myself. …which happens a lot.”

This first issue was a good introduction to Mercury’s world, letting us try and work out who he is, who hates him and why, and figure out what makes him tick.
A name badge is delivered to his house, with the words “You have been selected” on the back. Strange things happen throughout this episode, with those words turning up repeatedly, and an attractive woman who appears out of thin air and disappears with just as little fuss.

 

Part 2

Mercury decides to take things into his own hands – which is inadvisable at best. He finds out that Burger Berserker is not as it appears. Then he finds out that he probably shouldn’t have found that out.

“I think I’m the focus of a conspiracy. They sent me a name badge, they fizzed up my drink, they throw knives at my head… But I think they like me.”

This issue was fun enough, but it felt like a lot less happened. Mercury investigates the origin of the name tag, and becomes more than a little paranoid, trying to convince his friends and family, and even the university counsellor, to believe him. Not quite as well rounded as the others.

 

Part 3

Mercury is introduced (however briefly) to Burger Force HQ and the case of the irritable extras is solved. This concludes the first story. Also… there is a rabbit in it.

“Where’s the fighting? The explosions? And, quite frankly, the poignant opportunity to prove my own worth?”

This was my favourite issue so far, as Mercury finally finds out what’s going on, and gets to see Burger Force in action. Well… kinda.
I found myself laughing aloud a few times throughout this issue. The third part also ties together the seemingly random scenes at the start of each issue.

 

 

Burger Force is a rather unique sort of comic.

At first the images feel a little too dark, more shadows than anything else, but as you read on you’ll realise how much you can see when you look closely, and maybe that darkness is just a way to encourage you to look a little deeper.

Each issue has a list of “cast members” as does the website, and without digging deeper the reader might be confused, might find themselves wondering if there are a range of illustration styles used throughout. But as you read, and as you investigate the website, you’ll come to realise exactly what it is  you’re looking at.

Jackie Ryan doesn’t just sit down, write and draw her story, and then hit publish. She writes the story, edits, scouts out locations, directs the talent (these are real life people, folks!), takes the shots of these people going about the scene, and THEN touches them up on her computer and by hand, lending a rotoscope style to her stories. There is clearly so much more going on behind the scenes that we can’t even fathom, but eventually we, the reader, are able to get our hands on one (or three, or eighteen) issue(s) of this strange, intriguing, addictive comic series.

And what an awesome ride they are!

The comics, prints, and news on future issues can be found at:
http://www.burgerforce.com/

Burger Force won the Aurealis award for Best Illustrated Work or Graphic Novel in 2013.

BOOK REVIEW: Burger Force - Out of the Box by Jackie Ryan

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