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Sebastian O
By Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell
Published by DC/Vertigo; $9.95 USD

"It's been many a year since I buggered a boy, your Grace. And in my own defense I must admit, I thought him a girl at the moment of entry." -- Tim Roth, Rob Roy

A finely honed paean to utter decadence, Sebastian O reprints a three-issue mini-series from 1993 by the creative team perhaps better known for launching The Invisibles. And as The Invisibles bent reality to shock, inform and entertain, Sebastian O features a profoundly bent cast of characters who reshape the world in their own dandified image to suit their sexual, emotional and intellectual whims.

Morrison's story is tight and clear, focusing on a perverse young man who travels in circles that reinforce and reflect his own propensity for the mannered and bizarre. While the plot works as a straight-ahead look at true freaks of an alternate 19th Century, Morrison also plays with the idea that technology has moved even further ahead than it at first seems -- that very possibly, almost none of what we're seeing is real. In that delightful Morrison manner, much of the final decision about the meaning of the story will be left up to the reader. Yes, Morrison is working on multiple levels, but with a mere three issues to work within, he rises to the occasion and delivers a solid, rewarding story.

A great deal of the credit goes to artist Steve Yeowell, whose style I didn't think worked on The Invisibles, but who shines here with his depictions of antiquated architecture and styles. Although his page design is more functional than flashy, his work within the panels indicates a strong Bernie Krigstein influence that suits the script like a velvet glove.

Sebastian O is very different from other Morrison works I've read, but it provides a richly engaging story with wit and imagination. It's perverse and freaky, but it's a fun and mind-expanding read and I'm glad it's back in print. Grade: 4/5

-- Alan David Doane



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