by Aubrey Sitterson, Giannis Milonogiannis & Lovern Kidzerski
There’s very little that’s exciting about IDW’s Revolution crossover, the companies latest attempt to expand their Hasbro licensed comics past their core audience. There is no shortage of books from main series writer Cullen Bunn across the comics landscape leaving very little reason for casual readers to check out the event’s primary title while the majority of the tie-in series are being helmed by the same creative teams that have been working on these comics for years. And while I get a kick out of reading Transformers More Then Meet’s The Eye via Comixology unlimited as much as the next man (well maybe not as much as this man but you know, sliding scales and all that), crossing it over with a bunch of titles whose only real common trait is that they’re owned by a toy company isn’t really enough to get me running to grab the single issues off the shelf. But for those in the know, there was one book that had an elevated level of intrigue and that was for one reason; artist Giannis Milnogiannis for Revolutions GI Joe crossover series. The first issue debuted last Wednesday and true to form for the illustrator, it’s pretty fucking rad.
Giannis Milonogiannis is a Greek artist with a particular aesthetic of a rough line with insanely precise detail and geometry. He’s primarily known for being an integral part of Brandon Graham’s Prophet revival band and his Akira meet’s post EU Greece Old City Blues with a brief stop filling in on Michel Fiffe’s Ultimates experiment. He’s been comics most underrated artist of the past five years as his style’s singularity has proved adaptable to almost any setting his books are placed in. GI Joe Revolution is no different as it follow’s a small team of Joe’s fighting some type of strange alien/zombie hybrid with Milonogiannis expert craftsmanship in fluidity of movement. In GI Joe Revolution; Milonogiannis constructs a thrilling visual narrative that is on par with some of the best moments we’ve seen from Declan Shalvey or Greg Capullo in action driven comics. He has a unique gift for translating the intensity of movement in combat that is remarkably exciting and engrossing. That’s because Milonogiannis has an innate ability in suggesting motion on a page that is static while his panel composition is able to dictate a pace from each individual part, in effect making a series of singular pictures feel as if they’re moving naturally from one panel to the next in succession. In addition, Milonogiannis excels at perspective, he’s as close as you’ll get to three dimensional in a traditional comics style and it’s even more interesting in contrast to his actual design which eschews realism for an aesthetic that fall’s somewhere in between classic Manga and 1980’s small press black & white books that were designed to upend the comics code. In almost measurable sense, Giannis Milonogiannis excels as a illustrator.
This review is not meant to negate the other elements that make GI Joe Revolution #1 work so well in spite of questionable background. Writer Aubrey Sitterson’s dialogue is incredibly strong in it’s casual realism and instantly endearing. Colorist Lovern Kidzerski provides an extraordinary pallet for the comic and has a way of sharpening Milonogiannis line just enough to make it more palpable without taking anything away from it. Still, the heart of this book is in it’s dynamic artwork from Giannis and if you’re one of the many indifferent comics readers to Hasbro and IDW’s Revolution event crossover, GI Joe Revolution #1 is as good a showcase as any for one of the mediums best and least recognized illustrators and while I wouldn’t call this comic the best one he’s worked on by a long shot, it barrier to entry is pretty low in comparison to the artists past books with a premise that’s easy to enjoy and understand. In that sense, GI Joe Revolution #1 is one of the best introductions yet for casual readers to discover Milonogiannis and that is worth the effort in and of itself.