Title: The New World: Comics From Mauretania
Writer(s): Chris Reynolds
Illustrator(s): Chris Reynolds
Publisher: New York Review Comics
Paperback Release Date: May 1st 2018
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
This was nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. Released in bits and pieces since the mid-1980s, Chris Reynolds has been teasing readers with fragments of a world that seemed to continuously attempt to come full circle yet also remain fragmented and indecipherable. The cartoonist delivers a truly surreal story that often puts a strange individual with a helmet at the heart of it and successfully draws up a world that seems real at first glance but quickly shows its dream-like facet in the most calm and controlled way possible. Expect the black and white artwork to suck you into a parallel world that is stripped down to dichotomies and ideals, and the dialogue and direction to conjure a billion questions within you that will unfortunately never find answers in the long run.
Seth, a cartoonist himself, edited this volume and scoured the archives to put together all the artwork that Chris Reynolds ever shared with the world. A lot of the stories are actually short stories that sometimes don’t even exceed a page with nine panels, and often don’t ever show any signs of continuity between each other. Each story also strives for uniform panel size that are sometimes free of dialogue, making it easy to blow through the volume (clueless, most of the time). The main attraction in this collection is however the graphic novel Mauretania that occupies half of the volume and is strategically placed at the end (last half) of the volume. Readers who pick up this edition will thus find themselves in front of a bunch of stories that are extremely difficult to understand, but never meant to be. Just when you think Mauretania will clear up the air and give you exactly what you seek, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by its surreal and puzzling story, and succumb to its spellbinding vision.
I would normally try and tell you what the whole graphic novel is about, but I believe The New World actually doesn’t want anyone to be able to achieve such a feat. In fact, Mauretania alludes to a whole rivalry between the unconscious and the rational. You can try as much as you’d like to try and connect the dots. You can try and enjoy the hunt for answers throughout this adventure. You can try and convince yourself that things seem to start to make sense. But I can assure you that by the end of it all, the only feeling you’ll have is a sense of loss. A feeling that gravity isn’t there to ground you anymore and that the artwork is starting to pull you into a dream where life is a mystery that you just can’t solve.
There’s no lying that this was far different from any typical collection of artwork. It will not please anyone who seek instant gratification. It doesn’t lay out the plans to the whole project and tell you everything that you want to know. Opposite to linear, this is a fragmented tale with recurrent characters and a mysterious world that strives to put forward mankind’s short-sightedness, search for purpose, blindness to detail, tendency to isolation and loneliness, and especially individual and corporate paranoia. As you can see, there’s a huge array of themes hidden within the black and white art, but what you’ll go home with after going through this collection of comics will be personal and probably very different from what anyone else with go understand from it all.
The New World: Comics from Mauretania is, I believe, a mysterious story that is simply meant to remain a mystery forever.
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆
Have you read it yet?
Do you plan to?
What do you think about The New World?
Share your thoughts with me!
Till next time,