Saturday, November 3, 2012
Review - BLOOD CRIME: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel
DEL REY/RANDOM HOUSE – @randomhouse
WRITER: Kim Harrison
ART: Gemma Magno
LETTERS/COLORS: Mae Hao
COVER: Juliana Kolesova
ISBN: 978-0-345-52102-6; hardcover (October 2012)
176pp, Color, $25.00 U.S., $29.95 CAN
Kim Harrison is a penname used by American author Dawn Cook. Harrison is known as the author of the Hollows series, which is also called the Rachel Morgan series. This series of mystery/urban fantasy novels and short stories focuses on Rachel Mariana Morgan, a witch detective, and her partner, Ivy Alisha Tamwood, a living vampire.
The Hollows series has already spawned one graphic novel, Blood Work (July 2011), written by Harrison and drawn by Pedro Maia. This week sees the release of the second one, which is also written by Harrison; it is entitled Blood Crime: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel. Drawn by Gemma Magno with colors by Mae Hao, Blood Crime finds Ivy and Rachel delving into a conspiracy that seems to target several people, including themselves.
Without going too deeply into the mythology (as I understand it), the Hollow series takes place in an alternate history version of Earth. In the 1960s, a plague killed off a significant portion of the human population, an event called “The Turn.” The Inderlanders: vampires, werewolves, witches, and some other supernatural species made themselves known during the plague. The Hollows series is set about 40 years after the Turn. Rachel and Ivy work for Inderland Security (I.S.).
As Blood Crime begins, someone makes an attempt on Rachel’s life, or so Ivy thinks. Suspecting vampire involvement, Ivy confronts her vampire master, Piscary, who is apparently jealous of Ivy’s growing feelings and bloodlust (or just plain lust) for Rachel. Meanwhile, the vampire Celeste offers George, a human, immortality if he helps her in her scheme against the two I.S. agents. Another vampire, Art, is also looking to do some killing, and Ivy and Rachel are even suspicious of their I.S. supervisor, Denon. Who wants to kill whom and will anyone find out in time to save their own lives?
Like some of the other graphic novels of the urban fantasy genre that I’ve read, Blood Crimes starts off slowly, but it finishes strongly. This graphic novel has seven chapters, and I read Chapters Four through Six with gusto.
I find the characters to be a little flat. I was interested in Ivy (the narrator here) and Rachel, but I didn’t particularly care about the rest. Maybe, they read better in the prose novels, but in this graphic novel, they frustrated me because their motivations and desires were shallow or mostly missing. I think Harrison’s relative inexperience in writing comics shows not only in the characters, but in the way the plot seems awkward in the early chapters.
Artist Gemma Magno has a peculiar drawing style, but it fits this odd concept. Close-ups and medium shots are her strength when it comes to figure drawing, but panels that take in the backgrounds and environments suggest that she is not as skilled in set creation as she is at figure drawing. Mae Hao’s funky colors, however, have a way of… coloring over any of Magno’s glitches. Together, they give the book a distinctive and catchy graphic and visual style.
My complaints aside, I enjoyed reading Blood Crime: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel. I think readers who want urban fantasy comic books and fans of Kim Harrison will want this full-color graphic novel.
Blood Crime: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel includes a sketchbook section, which shows off Magno’s skill at figure drawing and at character design. There are also a few pages of story/script to art comparison.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux