Shrugged Volume 1 Review.

From Aspen Comics, Michael Turner, Frank Mastromauro, Micah Gunnell.



Aspen Comics is due to release Volume 2 of Shrugged later on in March, so what better time to go through the back issues of the local comic book store  and be sure to pick up all of volume one to get caught up on the story.

There is an alternate dimension called Perspecta, and it is split into two sides.  The world is split into two sides, Elysium which is full of everything beautiful and pretty, and Devonshire which is run down and monstrous.  The residents of both sides share these traits.  Shrugged follows two of them, Ange and Dev, as they travel through the barriers between worlds and land right on the shoulders of a child named Theo.  They stay with him all his life, much like everyone’s representative from Elysium and Devonshire.  These are the voices of the angel and the devil that all of us have.  The eternal battle of opposing voices on each shoulder that can only cause internal frustrations to the point in which all any of us can do is shrug.


Over the course of this series everything escalates and everyone becomes stronger.  Theo shows that he is different from any other human who also has these residents in his head.  Dev and Ange become stronger as well through him.  Then we learn that all is not well in Perspecta with the arrival of Ember.

I was blown away by this story.  The best thing I did was to go into this series blind.  While reading the first issue I thought the story would be like some other Aspen Comics titles.  A war between two groups.  When Ange and Dev traveled through the portal that put them on Theo’s shoulders I was shocked.  Here was something original and exciting that could be explained to anyone and get them excited for the next issue.  Then the journey these three take had me staying up late for many nights.  I had to find out what happened next.  Every twist and turn was unpredictable and constantly fooled me.


The art is the incredible work fans have come to expect from Aspen Comics.  Strong action, beautiful women, scary monsters, and well crafted worlds as real as our own.  But then they did something different with Shrugged.  The panel structures are just without rules.  Some have depth, they fade back or come forward and it works better than some paper and plastic 3D glasses that other companies have bagged with their titles.  Random arrows and designs show the chaos of Theo’s mind and then the realization that it is the same for all of us.  All of our minds have this constant battle between what pays off now and what pays off later.  The balance necessary to live a normal life comes through on the pages throughout this comic.  Ange and Dev have to balance not only in appearance, and in words, but also in the designs of the page.

The original series took a while to come out, as it was being produced during the cancer battles and eventual deaths of Aspen founder Michael Turner.   Many readers get turned off by late books, no matter what the reason.  But do not let such things hold your wallet back from purchasing this series.  It is one of the most original titles of the last few years and a treasure to read.  Both sides will agree.

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