Any Empire
HC review

Date Stamp: June 22, 2012

Publisher: Top Shelf

Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Both nostalgic and haunting, Nate Powell's slice of American life shows us the fragility of youth and the pain of losing innocence. Despite it's thickness, the pages can be turned with lightning speed due to the sparse dialogue (some of which are unintelligible scribbles, the way you only half hear things people say when you're younger) or you could find yourself lost on one page for whole minutes just feeling the moment Powell has created for you. His artwork has a life all its own that breaks down the pacing of his story into a rhythm page by page, and at times feels like it contains a slight Bill Waterson edge to the lines, or even some Jeff Smith in his inky brush work. Of course neither artist has come close to the darkness that Any Empire unfolds in its core. How do you distill what it is to grow up? These experiences, the savagery of children we choose not to see, and the painful moments we try to forget. It's almost impossible to express these things without cliche, without humour to take the edge off, and yet Nate Powell has.

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