Both nostalgic and haunting, Nate Powell’s slice of American life shows us the fragility of youth and the pain of losing our innocence. Despite it’s thickness, the pages can be turned with lightning speed due to the sparse dialogue -some of which are literally and intentionally unintelligible scribbles, (the way you only half hear things people say when you’re younger) or conversely you could find yourself lost on one page for whole minutes just feeling the moment Powell has created for you. His artwork has a life all it’s own that breaks down the pacing of his story into a rhythm page by page and at times feels like it contains a slight Bill Watterson edge to the lines, or even some Jeff Smith in his inky brush work. Of course neither artist has come close to the darkness that Any Empire unfolds at it’s core. It’s almost inexpressible to distill this piece of life; what it is to grow up, these experiences, the savagery of children we choose not to see, the painful moments we try to forget. It’s almost impossible to express it without cliche, without humor to help take the edge off… and yet Nate Powell has.