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Art Ops: How to Start a Riot

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Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed.   His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret organization called Art Ops, whose mission Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed.   His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret organization called Art Ops, whose mission is protecting the artistic treasures of the world—which have a lot more life in them than a casual observer might realize.   Reggie has always shunned his mom’s high-culture scene, but a devastating encounter with the shadowy forces menacing the world’s masterpieces has left him with a permanent expression of the chaotic power of art flowing through his very veins.   So when Art Ops itself suddenly vanishes without a trace, leaving its final rescue—La Gioconda, the Mona Lisa herself—out in the cold, it’s up to Reggie and his motley crew—including a masked super-powered operative who writes sitcom scripts on spec, a girls-just-wanna-have-fun ’80s music-video icon, and a suburban clerk from a mall-punk clothing chain—to come to the rescue.   But do they have what it takes to stand up to the dark side of human creativity?   From writer Shaun Simon (co-author of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys with My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way) and artists Michael Allred (co-creator of iZOMBIE) and Matt Brundage (The Spirit: The New Adventures) comes ART OPS VOL. 1: HOW TO START A RIOT, collecting issues #1-5 of the ongoing VERTIGO series and featuring a special sketchbook section from Allred and Brundage.


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Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed.   His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret organization called Art Ops, whose mission Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed.   His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret organization called Art Ops, whose mission is protecting the artistic treasures of the world—which have a lot more life in them than a casual observer might realize.   Reggie has always shunned his mom’s high-culture scene, but a devastating encounter with the shadowy forces menacing the world’s masterpieces has left him with a permanent expression of the chaotic power of art flowing through his very veins.   So when Art Ops itself suddenly vanishes without a trace, leaving its final rescue—La Gioconda, the Mona Lisa herself—out in the cold, it’s up to Reggie and his motley crew—including a masked super-powered operative who writes sitcom scripts on spec, a girls-just-wanna-have-fun ’80s music-video icon, and a suburban clerk from a mall-punk clothing chain—to come to the rescue.   But do they have what it takes to stand up to the dark side of human creativity?   From writer Shaun Simon (co-author of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys with My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way) and artists Michael Allred (co-creator of iZOMBIE) and Matt Brundage (The Spirit: The New Adventures) comes ART OPS VOL. 1: HOW TO START A RIOT, collecting issues #1-5 of the ongoing VERTIGO series and featuring a special sketchbook section from Allred and Brundage.

30 review for Art Ops: How to Start a Riot

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    Interesting premise? Art is alive, and there’s a secret team of operatives that keep the figures in the art (such as noted minx Mona Lisa) safe from nefarious forces who would use them for, um, nefarious purposes. So, check. Great art? It’s the Allreds. So, yeah. Check. Solid writing? Yeah, it’s solid. Check. This didn’t set my pancreas aflame with giddiness, but it was a solidly crafted and visually arresting story, so worth checking out if you are in the mood for something a little bit off the be Interesting premise? Art is alive, and there’s a secret team of operatives that keep the figures in the art (such as noted minx Mona Lisa) safe from nefarious forces who would use them for, um, nefarious purposes. So, check. Great art? It’s the Allreds. So, yeah. Check. Solid writing? Yeah, it’s solid. Check. This didn’t set my pancreas aflame with giddiness, but it was a solidly crafted and visually arresting story, so worth checking out if you are in the mood for something a little bit off the beaten path. We'll call it 3.5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    The Art Operatives protect art from people who want to steal and destroy them, literally taking the subjects of the paintings out of the canvas into real life and putting them into a kind of witness protection! But one day nearly all of the Art Ops disappears suddenly and it’s down to the Art Ops head’s son, Reggie Riot, to partner with a superhero character to save the Mona Lisa from destruction. This comic sounded like a lot of fun but it turned out to be utter pants. The premise is garbage - t The Art Operatives protect art from people who want to steal and destroy them, literally taking the subjects of the paintings out of the canvas into real life and putting them into a kind of witness protection! But one day nearly all of the Art Ops disappears suddenly and it’s down to the Art Ops head’s son, Reggie Riot, to partner with a superhero character to save the Mona Lisa from destruction. This comic sounded like a lot of fun but it turned out to be utter pants. The premise is garbage - this idea that art is literally alive is just stupid. Zapping a painting like the Mona Lisa with something and taking out the person inside, who’s alive and speaks English and is ok with the modern world and knows they’re living in a painting and are made of paint but are somehow human and have somehow been conscious for centuries and so on is too broad and inadequately explained. I think Shaun Simon is trying to mimic comics like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which features literary characters as real people. Except, as far as I recall, the LXG literary characters were always real people, they weren’t created and brought to life by artists somehow, so the concept falls apart in Art Ops where all of the artistic creations are clearly the product of artists. Then there’s the idea that saving a part of a painting - the figure of the Mona Lisa rather than the background detail - is all you need to do to preserve them. Aren’t masterworks celebrated because every part of it contributes to the overall effect? And what about those works of art that don’t have a human subject like John Constable or El Greco’s landscapes? Once again the concept fails. The villain of the story is an “ugly” piece of art that wants to destroy “beautiful” works of art because everyone looks at them and no-one looked at her. She’s drawn to look like a cubist piece of art and she goes around making every other piece of art “ugly” like her. And this is another problem I have with this concept: great art does not equal conventional beauty every time nor is cubism necessarily considered ugly by everyone; “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, art is subjective, etc. Goya, Munch, Picasso, Fuseli, to name a few, all created critically acclaimed works of art that have stood the test of time, none of which you could say feature attractive people but that doesn’t make the paintings worthless. This comic is so ass-backwards in its views on art! More than that the Art Ops feel weirdly antithetical to the idea of art - “policing” art, ensuring it “follows the rules”. Doesn’t a lot of great art come from artists breaking the rules of their time? We wouldn’t have Pollock paintings if someone told him he had to paint with brushes and create visuals that are easy to understand. “Protecting the public from dangerous art” reeks of censorship when the Art Ops are supposedly the good guys. Writer Shaun Simon stretches to make this dumb idea work by saying that, errrr, someone painted a picture of a guy called Jack that was, ummm, evil and he escaped and went on a killing spree in 1888 Whitechapel! Incompetent writing. Moronic artistic ideas aside, the story itself is meandering and dull. The Art Ops disappear and that’s it - the remaining characters do nothing to find them but nor did I care or want to see them found. Reggie Riot (awful name), our protagonist, is a whiny douche with mommy issues who behaves like a bratty teen despite being in his twenties, failing to win over the audience with his obnoxious personality or seem even faintly like a real person. The Mona Lisa running around the place becoming a punk rocker wasn’t fun, it was boring and completely pointless - no part of Shaun Simon’s script was worth reading; it was muddled and the issues were poorly structured. Appropriately for a book about art, Mike Allred’s art is the only positive thing about Art Ops. The Body’s design was awesome (the superhero character who escaped from the pages of a comic), and, while I despised him, I liked Reggie’s arty arm. Laura Allred’s colours too are outstanding and gorgeous as always. Shaun Simon basically read Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and The Invisibles and said “Me too!” except his series is total crap. Boring, infantile, stupid, Art Ops is the latest in a long line of disappointing Vertigo releases - don’t bother.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Weird, quirky, and surreal like most everything Mike Allred has been involved with. Art is alive and looking to escape into the real world. Art Ops is the group dedicated to keeping this under wraps and artwork where it belongs, in a museum. Reggie Riot is a resentful teenager whose mother runs Art Ops. In this arc, Reggie has to finally grow up and finally join the Art Ops. Received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. McPaulface

    A secret organisation that deals with art crimes? Said crimes are along the lines of people in paintings escaping their frames and walking around in the real world getting up to what I believe is known as 'hi-jinx'? Agents of the organisation having art-related powers? Gorgeous artwork by the Allreds? This book was created with me specifically in mind, wasn't it? In that case, I'd be remiss if I didn't give DC/Vertigo a big thank you, because I loved this book. It had one of the most original conc A secret organisation that deals with art crimes? Said crimes are along the lines of people in paintings escaping their frames and walking around in the real world getting up to what I believe is known as 'hi-jinx'? Agents of the organisation having art-related powers? Gorgeous artwork by the Allreds? This book was created with me specifically in mind, wasn't it? In that case, I'd be remiss if I didn't give DC/Vertigo a big thank you, because I loved this book. It had one of the most original concepts I've seen in a long time, which counts for a lot these days. It had me grinning from ear-to-ear the whole time. My initial thought was to give this book four stars, but then I asked myself what I was docking it a star for and couldn't think of anything, so five stars it is! Bring on volume two!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    (Received from Netgalley for review.) What a miss. At first glance, the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it's half baked. First, there's the concept of "saving" art by relocating the human figure inside it. Which means, I guess, that art without human figures is somehow less real? Put aside, I guess, how totally cool the people in the paintings are with being people in paintings, and with a modern world they really shouldn't know much about. Ok, whatever. Now let's get to the villain, (Received from Netgalley for review.) What a miss. At first glance, the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it's half baked. First, there's the concept of "saving" art by relocating the human figure inside it. Which means, I guess, that art without human figures is somehow less real? Put aside, I guess, how totally cool the people in the paintings are with being people in paintings, and with a modern world they really shouldn't know much about. Ok, whatever. Now let's get to the villain, who's apparently motivated by the fact that people looked at her painting less because she's "ugly". She's drawn in a sort of cubist style, which we all know is totally unpopular and that absolutely nobody spends hours obsessing over the works. Oh, wait, they totally do. It's very strange that this book equates (morally) good art with conventional notions of beauty, and (morally) bad art with anything that isn't strictly representational. It's a bizarrely regressive view of art. If I felt like the author was setting up that view to knock it down, that would be one thing. It would be a point a few decades past its prime, but I could follow that. I sincerely don't get that sense here. Aside from that, the main character is obnoxious and I cringed every time he was on the page. Most of the characters are at least a little annoying, but that's mostly because they're blandly characterized. Mona Lisa in the real world could be any number of previously sheltered princesses, and there's absolutely nothing about her that follows from being a centuries old painting. Main character Reggie Riot (ugh, seriously?) is on a totally different level. He's the sort of juvenile wannabe punk who thinks it's hilarious to tie up a cashier because he doesn't like the clothes sold in the store she works in. I wanted to slap him. There's an interesting premise in here, but it isn't executed very well, and the views on art are weirdly outdated.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 1 star. And that's all I have to say about this one. I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 1 star. And that's all I have to say about this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nadja

    A very cool premise.. Art is alive! I really liked the edgy and colourful artwork and I'm curious how the story will continue. A very cool premise.. Art is alive! I really liked the edgy and colourful artwork and I'm curious how the story will continue.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)

    3.5 Stars Full Review: *I received a free ecopy of this graphic novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* So I just wanna start off this review by saying the main character in this graphic novel is part human, part graffiti. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. That’s like 80% of the reason I decided to read this. Seriously, it was like: – 80% the main character has graffiti for an arm. – 19% art by Michael Allred, the same artist who did iZombie. – 1% oh, yeah, I gu 3.5 Stars Full Review: *I received a free ecopy of this graphic novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* So I just wanna start off this review by saying the main character in this graphic novel is part human, part graffiti. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. That’s like 80% of the reason I decided to read this. Seriously, it was like: – 80% the main character has graffiti for an arm. – 19% art by Michael Allred, the same artist who did iZombie. – 1% oh, yeah, I guess the story sounds good too, and since I took art classes for numerous years in middle and high school and always said I wanted to have a career that involved art (that never happened), I like to pretend I actually know anything about the topic even though in reality I’m actually one of those people who goes to art museums and says things like, “That’s just a black circle on a canvas. I could paint that myself.” Ok that last part may have been a bit off topic, but this really was a fun, unique graphic novel, and you don’t need to know anything about art or famous artwork to enjoy it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the actual premise of a secret team keeping famous works of art safe, but it turned out to be an action-packed storyline, and the characters kept it entertaining rather than serious or stuffy. Speaking of which, Reggie was a hard character to like, but I found myself liking him anyway. He was really rough around the edges… and the middle—he cared more about drinking, drugs, and fighting than anything else really—but he’s had a tough life. He was still a good person underneath his roughness. As for the artwork, of course that was amazing. The only real problem I had was that I was a little confused sometimes about exactly what was going on. It could’ve been the ARC formatting, it could’ve been the way it was written, it could’ve been me, I’m not really sure, but it was usually just small things and thus not something that ruined the story. So overall, Art Ops Vol. 1 was creative in it’s premise and beautifully illustrated, and it was fun seeing pieces of art come alive in the real world! I do plan to continue the series as I think I’ll get even more into it as I get to know the characters more. Recommended For: Anyone looking for a graphic novel with a unique premise, fans of Michael Allred's artwork or just art in general, and anyone who likes rough-around-the-edges characters. Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight

  9. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Pretty easily, this is the best comic I've read this year. I picked up a few single issues when they were released and didn't see much in it aside from Allred's art, which is always a knockout -- but between this and his Silver Surfer, I decided to go with the hot girls and space aliens (always a safe choice). But Art Ops in its collected form is fucking fantabulous. It made me realize how much I've been longing for Vertigo to publish an old-school Vertigo book -- something drenched in weirdness Pretty easily, this is the best comic I've read this year. I picked up a few single issues when they were released and didn't see much in it aside from Allred's art, which is always a knockout -- but between this and his Silver Surfer, I decided to go with the hot girls and space aliens (always a safe choice). But Art Ops in its collected form is fucking fantabulous. It made me realize how much I've been longing for Vertigo to publish an old-school Vertigo book -- something drenched in weirdness and cool, something that felt like the print version of MTV's Liquid Television. While Vertigo has never been a faulty home for comics, there's simply nothing that compares to what they were in their early days -- Sandman, Hellblazer, Shade, Transmetropolitan, Doom Patrol (and Preacher and Animal Man and...) Just an unreal -- an unreal -- pile of amazing books. Art Ops is not only dripping with the magic of Vertigo's glory days, but it also benefits from the production value of modern comics. Not only is it an insanely beautiful book, but it is also irreverent and strange, with just enough gristle and what-the-fuck moments to offer that unique mix of pleasure and discomfort that make weirdo comics the best kinds of comics to read. Art Ops is The Invisibles if The Invisibles weren't so nauseatingly pretentious, and if it had cared a little more about the reader and a little less about the grandness of itself. It's X-Men with a sheen of pop-glam-splatterpunk. It's Allred being pushed to the limits of his Allred-ness (and it's also a damn fine bit of writing, though I have no experience with Simon's past work). If you don't like this comic you are dead. Or at least you are dead to me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cory

    RIYL Doom Patrol.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denver Public Library

    I’ll admit it: I am a sucker for Michael Allred’s art. Even if Allred is just doing the cover art, that comic is now a must-read for me, and even better if he’s cranked out work for the whole book. Art Ops reminds me of everything I loved about the Invisibles: cult references, deconstruction of the superhero genre, zany plot devices, an aesthetic of absurdist magical-realism and a radical acceptance of characters that fall outside of gender binaries. Plus the book seems fueled by some very fun a I’ll admit it: I am a sucker for Michael Allred’s art. Even if Allred is just doing the cover art, that comic is now a must-read for me, and even better if he’s cranked out work for the whole book. Art Ops reminds me of everything I loved about the Invisibles: cult references, deconstruction of the superhero genre, zany plot devices, an aesthetic of absurdist magical-realism and a radical acceptance of characters that fall outside of gender binaries. Plus the book seems fueled by some very fun and edifying LSD experiences, mixed with a send-up of suburban khaki and bland “sad-dad culture,” and enough art history references to keep a person running to the wikipedia. The book is funny, it’s weird and it may make you question why the hell (most) everyone in this world of ours dresses so square and normie-normative? Where is the style, where is the art and playfulness? Squares are over! Enter the age of fourth dimensional strangeness. Get Art Ops from the Denver Public Library - Mikel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Imogene

    Warning: contains pretentious intellectualism, gratuitous use of Georges Bataille, sarcasm, and slight spoilers. What would happen if art were to come alive? What if art wanted something more? I've had a conversation with my favourite professor, and a theoretical, ideological argument with my favourite sister about the the idea that art can be violence. Said sister comes from the perspective that any and all actions can be considered art. I'll agree to a point, but only when the action/ moment/ ima Warning: contains pretentious intellectualism, gratuitous use of Georges Bataille, sarcasm, and slight spoilers. What would happen if art were to come alive? What if art wanted something more? I've had a conversation with my favourite professor, and a theoretical, ideological argument with my favourite sister about the the idea that art can be violence. Said sister comes from the perspective that any and all actions can be considered art. I'll agree to a point, but only when the action/ moment/ image becomes separate from the every day action/ moment/ image by the acknowledgement of the observed and the observer of its separation. Once separate, it becomes imbued with symbolism, subjectivity, and the history, emotions, and psychological state of the artist as well as the viewer. Georges Bataille, French philosopher and something of a misogynist, wrote a pretty fabulous book on the idea of eroticism. In it he states that eroticism is born of breaking taboos and the separation, or dis-continuum of normality. It occurs when an individual (or two, three, or however many you choose) acts in a way that is not for survival, security, or stability, but in a way that is purely for pleasure and sensation, for satisfaction and satiation, and the violent, uncontrolled release of orgasm. In experiencing the moment and the stirring of emotion and sensation, there is a dis-continuum from the everyday self, and the connection to something beautiful and numinous. It's the difference between an act of animal reproduction, and one of sensuality, passion, and joy. It can also be what happens when an individual experiences art. It is powerful, evocative, filled with the moment, the experience, and as Bataille puts it the "transition from the normal state" to the "partial dissolution of the person" as they have been. Art is powerful. Art is important. And in the hands of Shaun Simon and Mike Allred, art is alive and pretty pissed off. Art Operations is a clandestine organisations whose job is to both protect and police works of art, and to protect the public from art that is too dangerous. Such as the portrait of a dude named Jack who escaped from his frame in Whitechapel in 1988. Of course. However, art has decided to fight back. Scarlett, a rather minor work, has escaped in order to create chaos, to demand independence and freedom, and she's willing to do anything to achieve it. Like try to kidnap the Mona Lisa, and turn the Statue of Liberty into a grotesque. And somehow take out the entire population of the Art Ops. The only things standing in Scarlett's way, are Mona, a long-forgotten comic book character known as the body (There will be NO punching of world-famous works of art!), and the son of the now-missing head of Art Ops. Who after a tragic accident involving attack by graffiti, just so happens to part art himself. This is probably my favourite part of this book. The protagonist, Reggie, is clueless, cranky, with one foot in both worlds. He's liminal, stuck in between, neither on nor the other and pretty confused and pissed off about it. He's also in a state of constant conflict with himself. He's also a bit of a dick. Which I love. I'll give Art Ops a 7/10. Allred's artwork is great, and totally meta. The relationships between the characters, human and art alike are fascinating. I'm looking forward to finding out what is going on with the mysterious disappearance of the Art Ops. I want to see how Reggie copes with his dual self. And I am seriously excited by the final page reveal of Reggie's dad, Danny Doll! Who is he? What is he? Is he human? Art? Both? Is this why Reggie is the way he is? And how did the whole thing work between his parents. Vol. 2: Modern Love, is apparently going back to the beginning, and answering the questions about what happened between Danny Doll and Agent Regina Jones. Yes, Regina named her son Reginald. Go, Art Ops. Go Simon and Allred. Go Meta-narrative. Go crazy and hilarious moments like this one..... Mona Lisa: I need to be out in FRONT of people. I need to be SEEN. I'm the goddamn MONA LISA! (BTW, If you liked this one, You'll totally like Mike Carey's Unwritten)

  13. 5 out of 5

    furious

    Eh. The premise is so-so (art is really alive + caper stuff). The characters seem like they are cobbled together from elements of every Mike Allred book you've ever read. Designs, too. Everything looks as great as you expect, but nothing about the total package was very exciting or ground breaking. I love Allred, so I'm glad to have read it, but it feels like it was written someone who was trying to write a Mike Allred book. I don't think I'll be reading volume 2 anytime soon. Eh. The premise is so-so (art is really alive + caper stuff). The characters seem like they are cobbled together from elements of every Mike Allred book you've ever read. Designs, too. Everything looks as great as you expect, but nothing about the total package was very exciting or ground breaking. I love Allred, so I'm glad to have read it, but it feels like it was written someone who was trying to write a Mike Allred book. I don't think I'll be reading volume 2 anytime soon.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This had a really interesting premise, but I wasn't a fan of the execution - I ended up quite bored instead of invested and didn't really click with the characters or the art. I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This had a really interesting premise, but I wasn't a fan of the execution - I ended up quite bored instead of invested and didn't really click with the characters or the art.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Spence

    "Art Ops" has a clever concept, and much of the art is intricate and impressive -- but the narrative squanders these benefits. The comic imagines a group of operatives that can take works of art out of their frames into the real world, but the only work to appear in this first volume is the Mona Lisa, who is rendered without any real personality -- she does not differ at all from the other 21st century characters of the story. (It's explained that she's been out of her frame many times before, b "Art Ops" has a clever concept, and much of the art is intricate and impressive -- but the narrative squanders these benefits. The comic imagines a group of operatives that can take works of art out of their frames into the real world, but the only work to appear in this first volume is the Mona Lisa, who is rendered without any real personality -- she does not differ at all from the other 21st century characters of the story. (It's explained that she's been out of her frame many times before, but it is never said why, nor why these past experiences don't seem to have impacted her.) The protagonist is "Reggie Riot", a cookie-cutter post-punk who goes on infantile acts of rebellion with Mona Lisa, such as tying up a store owner for insisting that they leave because they're not buying anything. He says things like "[my dad] split before I saw the light at the end of the birth canal" and "I could save one kid from the jaws of conformity". He's just plain annoying. What's oddest about "Art Ops" is that the concept is underutilized. For some reason, one of the heroes is a teen pop singer from the '80s, who has nothing to do with the visual art theme. (The narrative suggests that characters from video can "escape" into reality, too, but this notion isn't continued -- everything else is about static visual art.) The other heroes and villains also come from fictional works, not real pieces like the Mona Lisa. This could have been a good book -- I'm not sure why the creator made the choices he did.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cale

    This is an example of an interesting concept that fails on its execution. The idea of people policing art, which can escape its frames, is interesting and seems like it has a lot of stories it could tell. But instead we get a broken family and an ungrateful son who wants nothing to do with the family business. The story is pretty cliche, even if the characters are a little more unique. The idea of Mona Lisa wanting to be punk was... odd? There are some interesting characters, and some okay momen This is an example of an interesting concept that fails on its execution. The idea of people policing art, which can escape its frames, is interesting and seems like it has a lot of stories it could tell. But instead we get a broken family and an ungrateful son who wants nothing to do with the family business. The story is pretty cliche, even if the characters are a little more unique. The idea of Mona Lisa wanting to be punk was... odd? There are some interesting characters, and some okay moments and ideas, but overall I was underwhelmed by the execution of the story; the concept feels like it deserves more than it got here. And Allred's art didn't ever really get a chance to shine; it always felt like his style, which actually worked against the story in this case. And the antagonist's goal is just stupid, as are their methods. Honestly, I found no one in the book to root for on either side of the conflict. Do yourself a favor and imagine how you would write a story about art police; you'll be more satisfied with what you get than if you read this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Collects Art Ops issues #1-5 I thought I was going to love this, but even Mike Allred's artwork couldn't save this book for me. Given the subject matter, the story was surprisingly uninteresting, and I was never given a chance to connect with any of the characters very deeply. I could relate to them, so it caused me to not invest in the story. Brief summary of the plot: All art is actually alive, so characters like Mona Lisa can leave their frames and walk around in the real world. There is a secr Collects Art Ops issues #1-5 I thought I was going to love this, but even Mike Allred's artwork couldn't save this book for me. Given the subject matter, the story was surprisingly uninteresting, and I was never given a chance to connect with any of the characters very deeply. I could relate to them, so it caused me to not invest in the story. Brief summary of the plot: All art is actually alive, so characters like Mona Lisa can leave their frames and walk around in the real world. There is a secret organization trying to protect art, called the Art Ops, and there are evil people that want to destroy art or bring public awareness to the fact that art is alive. The Statue of David can actually walk. Graffiti has a mind of its own. That kind of stuff is common in this book. Final rating = 2.5 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    It seems like there is s bit of freshness in the Vertigo line lately. Titles like Clean Room and Sheriff of Babylon have been impressive, and now there's this crazy titles The Art Ops are a a covert group committed to protecting and preserving art, which is an actual real living thing. We get a rebellious young man whose arm is made of art (a free flowing burst of colors), the Mona Lisa who has escaped from her painting and joined a punk band, and a bizarre old school superhero who is keeping wa It seems like there is s bit of freshness in the Vertigo line lately. Titles like Clean Room and Sheriff of Babylon have been impressive, and now there's this crazy titles The Art Ops are a a covert group committed to protecting and preserving art, which is an actual real living thing. We get a rebellious young man whose arm is made of art (a free flowing burst of colors), the Mona Lisa who has escaped from her painting and joined a punk band, and a bizarre old school superhero who is keeping watch over it all. This is a pretty loose, freewheeling comic, and the story doesn't always make sense, but Mike Allred's art is the real showcase here. This is some of his wildest and most detailed work yet, and only he could properly bring this insanity to life. Lots of fun!

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Reviewing the entire series of Art Ops #1-12 This was one of those great concept paired with good art--but lackluster execution. When this project was first announced, I was hoping it was Vertigo signalling their return back to bein the "New Weird" within the comics industry. Alas, it was not to be--as the writing did not sync up in the weirdness quotient to the art. It was a bit hard to read, imo--just in terms of pacing. And this was not a rookie book. Reviewing the entire series of Art Ops #1-12 This was one of those great concept paired with good art--but lackluster execution. When this project was first announced, I was hoping it was Vertigo signalling their return back to bein the "New Weird" within the comics industry. Alas, it was not to be--as the writing did not sync up in the weirdness quotient to the art. It was a bit hard to read, imo--just in terms of pacing. And this was not a rookie book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Interesting premise and execution. I like the various art styles on display and the inclusion of a comic book hero as an art form. Izzy was also quite awesome. Still not sure if I like Reggie, but he is growing on me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Judd Taylor

    Probably a 3.5, but the main character was just a bit too unlikeable for me, and I felt like there could have been more background and, actually, more to the current plot. Things felt a bit confused and rushed. Still, it's a fun idea, so I look forward to Volume 2... Probably a 3.5, but the main character was just a bit too unlikeable for me, and I felt like there could have been more background and, actually, more to the current plot. Things felt a bit confused and rushed. Still, it's a fun idea, so I look forward to Volume 2...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I couldn't finish this. I was trying, but I just couldn't. The concept seemed interesting, but the story sort of wondered and skipped around and the protagonist was annoying. I made it about half-way through and then decided I had to much else on my list to force myself to finish this. I couldn't finish this. I was trying, but I just couldn't. The concept seemed interesting, but the story sort of wondered and skipped around and the protagonist was annoying. I made it about half-way through and then decided I had to much else on my list to force myself to finish this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    It reminded me of old school, '90s Vertigo, and though I didn't really dig the story, I appreciate the flashback to my teens. It reminded me of old school, '90s Vertigo, and though I didn't really dig the story, I appreciate the flashback to my teens.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    I fail to see the point. Poorly fleshed out characters and motivations. Interesting idea, but it doesn't take you anywhere. Just ends up being weird action sequences I fail to see the point. Poorly fleshed out characters and motivations. Interesting idea, but it doesn't take you anywhere. Just ends up being weird action sequences

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Pretty cool. The story as such was nothing special, but the art was superb and the characters were fun. All the art references are what really made it cool. I enjoyed it, and will look for more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beelzefuzz

    Grant Morrison's The Invisibles take art history class and are not as serious. Fun, wonderful to look at, but a little flat overall. Grant Morrison's The Invisibles take art history class and are not as serious. Fun, wonderful to look at, but a little flat overall.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shell Senseless

    It didn't always make sense but that Allred art is beautiful It didn't always make sense but that Allred art is beautiful

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Pictures escaping their frames, or in witness protection and working in supermarkets; a man who had his arm ripped off by rogue graffiti and replaced by living paint which threatens to consume him; a comic book superhero brought to life, whose main power is forgettability. It comes as no surprise that writer Shaun Simon has previously co-written with Gerard Way, because the influence of Morrison's Doom Patrol is front and centre here. But the big props must go to Allred and Brundage for the art, Pictures escaping their frames, or in witness protection and working in supermarkets; a man who had his arm ripped off by rogue graffiti and replaced by living paint which threatens to consume him; a comic book superhero brought to life, whose main power is forgettability. It comes as no surprise that writer Shaun Simon has previously co-written with Gerard Way, because the influence of Morrison's Doom Patrol is front and centre here. But the big props must go to Allred and Brundage for the art, which manages to work the weirdness, the pastiches of great art, and the everyday life, and still have it all cohere. I mean, obviously Allred was always good, but lately he's almost scary. I could have done without the overused 'These covert agency has fallen and misfits and novices must step up' plot, but this is vastly more successful than the other book I read from Vertigo's recent relaunch. Though on one level I fear this is basically FBP with art instead of physics, and likely to meet much the same muted reception.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.25 of 5 What did I just read? Let me start with the first two paragraphs from the Goodreads description: Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed. His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret o This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.25 of 5 What did I just read? Let me start with the first two paragraphs from the Goodreads description: Reggie Riot is no one’s idea of a cultural savior. The latchkey child of a busy single mother, he’s grown up to be a resentful slacker whose idea of high culture is getting stoned and admiring the graffiti in the alley where he scores his weed. His mother, however, is not your average working parent. She’s the head of a secret organization called Art Ops, whose mission is protecting the artistic treasures of the world—which have a lot more life in them than a casual observer might realize. This all seems relatively straightforward, but now toss the idea in a blender, along with the 1960's black velvet paintings, psychedelic drugs, and some 1950's angst, push the puree button and you start to get something that resembles this book. To protect the works of art, the art becomes (or already is - I'm not quite sure) real. Real people. Real places. The Art Ops takes those people out of the paintings, disguises them, and has them living secret lives. It's sort of like the witness protection program, but for the living embodiment of art. Confused yet? No? Well, hang on. Reggie Riot maybe has some artistic superpowers. His arm isn't a real arm ... it's a swirl of paint (or color, at least) that can really pack a punch, as he proves in a boxing match. (Um...yeah ... a boxing match.) Now, there's this ugly piece of art that's jealous and trying to destroy the pretty art. And this is where the wacky, but full of potential idea falls. "Ugly" wants to destroy "pretty?" Really? That's it? The story rambles but because, at its core, it was about art (something that will almost always catch my interest), I stayed for the ride, hoping that the jumble would pull together or at least make some sort of sense. Yes, it sort of does, but it never quite rises above the pedantic level to really take on the questions of what is art and how do we save it. The art itself is fair at best, which is really too bad, since it's about art. It's pretty typical comic book art ala the 1970's. I was intrigued by the concept but this didn't carry through with a coherent story. Looking for a good book? Art Ops: How to Start a Riot is a graphic novel that has an interesting concept about 'saving' art, but simply rambles in a psychedelic manner. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Whittaker

    To begin I had no idea Art Ops even existed into I came across the trade paperback on the day it came out, and although I haven't previously read anything by Shaun Simon - who admittedly doesn't seem to have written a great deal - I do count Mike Allred amongst my favourite comic book artists. With that being said I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. Luckily what I got was a unique and extremely quirky story about works of art being sentient beings, which in itself is quite an inte To begin I had no idea Art Ops even existed into I came across the trade paperback on the day it came out, and although I haven't previously read anything by Shaun Simon - who admittedly doesn't seem to have written a great deal - I do count Mike Allred amongst my favourite comic book artists. With that being said I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. Luckily what I got was a unique and extremely quirky story about works of art being sentient beings, which in itself is quite an interesting idea. It's easy to see how anything well known particularly a work of art like a painting or sculpture can easily be personified, as they're something that has been created and given meaning and personality by the very artist that created them. (I'm reading that back and I'm well aware how pretentious that sounds) That being said Art Ops isn't just about the art...although it is obviously a major player, it considers art in a variety of mediums, from classics like oil paintings and sculpture to music videos and comic books, and in doing so creates a wider range of characters with a vast array of powers available to be incorporated. We see members of the Art Operatives including an actual superhero lifted straight from comics and given his own weird and wonderful abilities and a girl from the 80's given eternal youth and that's before we get to our protagonist Reggie "Riot" Jones, a rather grungy individual who finds himself reborn part art, part human after a near death experience, faced with the unwanted opportunity of joining the Art Operatives his mother leads. Although How To Start A Riot is very much about establishing a foundation for the Art Ops, it also opens up a lot of potential plots for future volumes by asking all the right questions, and does it's best to introduce some truly intriguing characters with plenty of potential in their own right that deserve more exploration. At it's heart, Art Ops feels like something straight out of a Doom Patrol book, hell I can tell you exactly which Doom Patrol book, it's the second volume of Grant Morrison's run "The Painting That Ate Paris", it's the living painting explored more than Morrison ever dreamed of, frankly Art Ops feels like a team that could be a sub-division of the Doom Patrol and that is meant in no way as an insult.

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