HIP FLASK: UNNATURAL SELECTION

October 18, 2000 Posted by admin

TITLE: HIP FLASK:
UNNATURAL SELECTION

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

REVIEW DATE: 31/07/02

WRITERS: RICHARD STARKINGS, JOE CASEY, LADRONN

ARTIST: LADRONN

hipflaskunnaturalselectionAs the first launch from Richard Starkings’ Active Images, Hip Flask is an outstanding example of unbridled creativity, professionalism and a real
love of the medium. From the deftly-handled script and truly stunning art to Comicraft’s high-quality lettering and design, the whole package simply oozes talent. It’s rare that such diverse talent manages to gel into one cohesive and entertaining form, but dammit if Starkings, Casey and Ladronn don’t make it look oh-so-easy!

Wearing it’s sci-fi colours with pride, the story of future private eye Hip Flask begins in the 23rd century where man’s conquest of science has allowed him to subvert nature itself and develop twisted hybrid humans/animals. This research has been led by the egotistical and self-righteous father of genetics, Doctor Nikken, a man so certain of his own convictions that his living experiments are indoctrinated to believe he is not only their creator but also their living god.

There are many layers and themes to the story, from the age-old questions of “who are we?” and “where do we come from?” to environmental issues and man’s inhumanity to man. Hip himself is left on the sidelines in this issue, but his real-life creators are merely setting the stage for pulp adventures to come.

Solid storytelling is backed up by the jaw-dropping Euro-art of Ladronn. His unique talents have been superbly channeled into a project that combines the visual flavour of Blade Runner, The Matrix, The Fifth Element and so many other groundbreaking sci-fi films. Detail is unbelievable and you’ll read and re-read each page, picking up on new design elements and artistic touches each and every time.

Of course this quality comes at a price and the creative team would be unable to produce this standard of work on a monthly basis, but so what? The wait for this first issue has been well worth it and I’m definitely looking forward to Hip Flask # 0: Elephantmen, even if it isn’t due until March 2003. For now though, just wallow in this creative mud bath… To find out more about Hip Flask, check out our exclusive interview with Richard Starkings!

BULLETPROOF RATING: 10/10