COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: ARCANA COMICS’ ‘CORRECTIVE MEASURES’ BY GRANT CHASTAIN

COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: ARCANA COMICS’ ‘CORRECTIVE MEASURES’ BY GRANT CHASTAIN

Brought to you by OBS Staff Member Rose

Intended for mature audiences due to it’s graphic violence and language, Grant Chastain’s Graphic Novel ‘Corrective Measures’ released in 2008 by Arcana Comics, is a sweet blend of good ol’ comic book fare mixed with an intriguing adult story line, that is sure to please graphic novel lovers everywhere.

Synopsis: Less than 30 miles off the coast of Florida there is an island… and if you’re one of the few that get to see it, it’s likely you will never leave.

This is San Tiburon. Home to beautiful white sandy shores, crystal-blue waters… and the world’s most dangerous maximum-security penitentiary. For 185 of the world’s most treacherous super-powered criminals, it is their final home.

There are no escapes, no bargains, and no compromises. There is only San Tiburon.

Jason Brody, a somewhat bitter, ex military man, has just be let go from his job as a Correctional Officer at a prison facility, for acting too violent with a prisoner.  Unsure of future earnings for his family due to his lack of employment, it is a godsend that he is quickly recruited as Captain of Violent Crime at San Burton Correctional Institution, a prison for super-powered vigilantes.

In order to keep the prisoners in check, they are outfitted with a restraining necklace than nullifies their superpowers and it is equipped with a device that emits electro-magnetic pulse that can put them in a temporary state of catatonia.

Brody, thrilled with the idea of running the unit as he sees fit, accepts the position. At San Tiburon, an extremely dangerous vigilante named ‘Payback’, who has killed over 85 people, has just arrived, and is hellbent on killing all the prisoners inside. Warden Devlin has hired Jason Brody, not just to oversee the unit but for another plan that Jason Brody is unaware of. It’s only a matter of time before he finds out the truth, but the Warden is keen on making sure he never does.

The story captivates you from the first page with great dialogue and amazing graphics that capture the mood of each ‘scene’ perfectly and rendered exquisitely by Fran Moyano, with colors by Jay Moyano and letters by Mike Storniolo and Brant W. Fowler.

The story is not singular character centric. Secondary characters start to play a big part some few chapters deep and by exploring these different story lines Corrective Measures had a lot of depth to it. The panel transitions and layouts are easy to follow and exhibit the moody, dark, and contemplative-natured themes cohesively when plots arise. There was one instance when I noticed Jason Brody’s character was drawn so differently from one chapter to the next I had to double back to check to make sure it was him. But, it is possible Fran Moyano drew Brody as such to show a hidden personality surfacing within his character within that scene.

It is obvious Grant Chastain has a definite future vision for this series, due to his character building that is slow and deliberate. Here is an excerpt of a Chastain interview answer from comicsandblog which explains how he came up with the idea for the story:

“This is an idea I had going back for a long while now. Corrective Measures started out as the germ of an idea back in 2003, and kind of spiraled out of control as I discovered at that time there were very few books that had a good ongoing prison motif. Sure, every so often The Punisher or Nightwing would find themselves at Riker’s or Bludhaven Correctional… but I wanted to tell a different story. I looked at it from the perspective of the guys that would find themselves doing that job, and how hard it would be to kind of live this moral life when constantly surrounded by these powerfully immoral prisoners. And that’s pretty much the heart of Corrective Measures — the idea that good people have to do bad things to prevent even worse things from occurring.

I was lucky to meet a few folks that had experience in the correctional industry — in particular one officer that did that job for over 20 years, and a doctor whose job was as an on-site medical professional at a Supermax prison outside Chicago. Their insight into the penal system helped shape the surroundings in Corrective Measures, and it helped breathe life into San Tiburon.

As far as the construction of these characters, there were a few that went through some significant shifts as the story was being written, mostly due to necessity. A lot of the prisoners themselves changed and shifted from the foreground to the background, and some that were intended to have more high-profile roles will have their story arcs fulfilled later down the road. The only characters that really didn’t change much from the very first drafts were Jason Brody and Warden Devlin, both of whom I had very clear ideas about when I began. Jason was always the very conflicted hero, the everyman that is forced to make terrible decisions that affect the lives of everyone around him, and I hope that still comes across. And Devlin… well, Devlin is Devlin. He’s this polite Southern gentleman that uses his “oh, gee, gosh, golly” routine as a way of getting what he wants, but isn’t afraid to pull a 180 if the situation calls for more directness.

The series does have an ending planned, but thankfully it’s not for awhile. There are still plenty of stories to tell at San Tiburon, and Jason and his family aren’t done there yet.”

Completed in one sitting, I immediately looked online to find out where I can purchase the follow up, to ‘Corrective Measures’ because there is a major cliffhanger at the end of the novel and learned Arcana Comics will be releasing it in July 2010.  I can tell you, I’ll be one of the first people to get my copy.  I just have to know what happens.  The novel is that good.

You don’t have to be a fan of Comics or Graphic Novels to appreciate this grippingly intense story and it’s fabulous artwork.

Here is the promo trailer for the follow-up ‘Corrective Measures 2′:

I think the classic song “Shook Ones Part II” by Mobb Deep worked quite well in this trailer.

‘Corrective Measures’ Graphic Novel is slated to be the prize for our next Comic Contest!