Sottosopra II: review of the second chapter of Sottosopra

Sottosopra II: review of the second chapter of Sottosopra
The revolution that has led Sergio Bonelli Editore, historical reality and holder of the tradition of our comics, to follow new paths in recent years has taken the form of exciting comic book adventures, which have approached different narrative ideas. From the Lynch-style thriller of Il Confine to the dystopian science fiction of K-11, this evolution of the Milanese publishing house has given life to a new vision of its seriality and to the opening to the world of volumes, as with the Audace series, allowing its authors to launch into new narrative experiments, as happened with Sottosopra, now in its second volume, Sottosopra II.

Sottosopra was born from an idea of ​​Luca Enoch, which apparently seems to be in the wake of recent film productions that have dealt with this concept, but which the writer has revealed to us to have a more remote origin:

The idea comes from afar and was inspired by Wong Kar Wai's film “Happy Together” back in 1997. The story told in the film has nothing to do with mine, but some dream sequences of the protagonists who, on holiday in Argentina, think back to their hometown, Hong Kong, now at the antipodes and therefore "overturned", gave me inspiration for the story that I tell in Sottosopra. For more than twenty years, therefore, the idea of ​​setting a story in an overturned world has accompanied me without my finding the right time or opportunity to materialize it into a coherent subject. An opportunity that came a couple of years ago thanks to Bonelli's new publishing policy, which is tackling the book market with a lot of energy and with an ear willing to listen to new proposals.

Sottosopra II, a new chapter of the world as opposed to Luke Enoch

It would seem that the twenty years of gestation have been profitable for Sottosopra, considering that the story told by Enoch shows a full mastery of a theme that is developed using all the tools available to a comic story, focusing on one of the most intense synergies between screenplay and visual narration.

The concept of overturning the world in which the two young protagonists is not only a divertissement for the authors, but it turns out to be a real challenge that pushes their inventiveness and their work to the limit. This gravitational inversion forces Riccardo Crosa, author of the drawings, and Paolo Francescutto, colourist, to review their own vision of the world, in which the 'traditional' gravity of the protagonists must coexist, contrasting it with the mysterious inversion that has hit the world. A new way of understanding the creation of the tables that Francescutto had revealed to us:

"The most frequent mistake was, of course, not having taken into account the new gravity. Every now and then we forget about an object that had to undergo an inverse gravity to the usual one, or it happened that things that were not subject to change were portrayed according to the new forces at play "

The first volume of Sottosopra must having been a training ground for these veterans of the comics, since with Sottosopra II it was decided to push further on this particularity of the series, challenging readers to venture further into this atypical world. An exploration that must not only be interpreted in terms of physical space, but above all from an emotional point of view, thanks to the presence of moments with a high rate of adrenaline that force the two protagonists to become aware of the 'new world', also accepting in a brutal way, the loss of the previous life.

In particular, we begin to perceive the most evident consequences of the event that upset the life of Alessandro and Giorgia. From the presence of the Preacher, who takes on more and more body as a villain in the series, to the arrival of the military, whose function will have to be clarified in the next chapters of Sottosopra, considering that their debut was not exactly the most positive.

In Sottosopra II, Enoch catapults us in media res into a particularly hard day for Alessandro and Giorgia, the two young survivors protagonists of the saga. We find Alessandro in a precarious situation, which immediately clarifies the harsher tones compared to the previous chapter, considering that in Sottosopra II these two adolescents forced to grow up faster than they should have to go beyond adapting to this new reality to face the consequences.

Not only from a social point of view, but above all from a personal point of view. We know nothing of these two young people, except that they found each other and together they are trying to survive in this new world. With Sottosopra II you get closer to the soul of Alexander, who desperately returns to his family home to look for his loved ones, fully becoming aware of the reality of the facts. A moment of great pathos which we readers also witness, who are guided in a poignant moment of great impact, which transmits the plot of Enoch with great sensitivity.

Surviving the event

A story that finds a perfect interpreter in the stroke of Riccardo Crosa. Already author of the first volume, in Sottosopra II Crosa finds himself having to portray moments of despair that require an incredible tact. The way in which Crosa guides our eye and emotionally predisposes us to these moments is impeccable, in an alternation between close-ups that echo the harrowing emotions of the protagonists and table constructions that amplify these sensations by enveloping the reader.

Crosa manages to best interpret Enoch's narrative insights, not only giving life to muscular and dynamic scenes, but offering an impeccable emotional story. Whether it is to grasp the blind and desperate fanaticism of those who follow new messiahs, or to show the attachment to the life of the two young protagonists, which also passes through a physicality captured with sweetness and tenderness, a mirror of an adolescent sensitivity. This emotional synthesis is reinforced by the typical style of Crosa, in which an apparent cartoonish style is intertwined with a realistic vision of the setting, on which the coloring manages to impart an excellent chromatic vitality, made of intense colors and shades that remove the breath.

The peculiarity of Sottosopra II, again, is the particular development of this reverse gravity setting. In reading Sottosopra II, we are soon 'deceived' into believing that the point of view of the two boys is the correct one, the new gravitational order quickly becomes normal for us. To better appreciate the incredible work of Crosa and the colorists, Francescutto and Baccaglini, every now and then you have to turn the volume upside down, so as to be able to conceive the intuition of Enoch's story and the incredible commitment of the authors who contributed to the realization of the tables.

A possibility that is also offered to us by the extras contained in the volume of Sottosopra II, in which we are presented with a look behind the scenes of the making of the story. From the script to the realization of the complete table, the passages that lead to the realization of a volume of Sottosopra are shown in their apparent simplicity, but which allow us to better understand the painstaking work of the authors.

The ending of Sottosopra II is a perfect cliffhanger, wonderfully constructed in the last two pages of the volume, which leaves readers curious to read the third chapter of the adventures of Alessandro and Giorgia as soon as possible.

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