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posted May 9, 2005
Top Shelf, 160 pages, $10, 2005
I like the packaging here; bright and attractive, at a price point that seems pretty fair for the kind of work and density of the narrative. Hello, Again pitches the reader directly into one man's guilt trip that shimmers to the surface as he stumbles through life and screws his best buddy's girlfriend. His ill feelings take the shape of a man upon whom our hero William had played a potentially deadly practical joke when he was younger. The most fun the book has is in giving this supposedly obvious ghost figure -- he even tends to do fantastic things -- a semi-viable backstory as he and William go back and forth about his inability to let go of the past.
Unfortunately, the story in which this intriguing character is inserted proves to be pretty rote. We learn everything interesting about William from his conversations; it would be really, really nice if his various actions added up to a competing or complimentary picture. The drawing is facile and does the job, but not a whole lot is communicated through the line or the way the pages are designed. The figure drawing may remind some people of Greg Cook, the lettering, Craig Thompson. I don't think we'll have a firm grasp on Estes' ability for a few books yet, but my hunch is right now is that he's a book or two short of being able to provide sustained, interesting stories.