- Posted by Johanna on January 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Quentin Lee and John Hahn
- PUBLISHER: Fresh Fear; $12.95 US
As regular readers know, I’m not a horror fan, but I was intrigued enough by the online preview to take a look. However, when reading the entire book for the first time, I found myself rushing through to find out what happened. I wasn’t particularly involved in the story; I just wanted to know the secrets. When was the ghost going to be revealed, or the twist happen? In one story, after it finished, my question was “why was a horror element tacked on?” at the end of what would otherwise be a more interesting (to me) slice-of-life piece.
There are three interwoven tales here. In the first, Julian is a freshman whose roommate is pledging a fraternity, so he thinks of forming a new relationship with a mysterious boy he only sees at night. Next, Alice is a med school student struggling to escape the control of her parents when her new roommate encourages her into some kinky behavior. Last, Sarah has an eating problem and a controlling boyfriend.
It’s sometimes obvious that the creators are relatively new to the graphic novel format. For instance, in one scene, two characters talk about how a particular book is their favorite, but the work is never identified, either in dialogue or visually, which raises the reader’s curiosity to no particular purpose. In another scene, the women talk about a ring that jumps from hand to hand between panels. Overall, the illustrations take second place to the conversations.
Artistically, the faces are good, which is important for such a dialogue-driven story. However, the color tints don’t camouflage the frequent lack of backgrounds. Although the settings are indicated in establishing shots, they drop from the rest of the sequences. Some of the pages have too many panels with confusing flow, perhaps to fit in all the talking.
Most significantly, I never developed any affinity for any of the characters, who struck me as two-dimensional collections of traits. After finishing, the reader may want to go through the book again, now that they understand the sequence when the author is playing with some of the time references, which aren’t always clear. I’m still not sure I understood exactly what was going on in the conclusion.
If you’re a particular fan of the genre, you may want to check out the preview and decide for yourself. In addition to the print version, they are selling an online version through netcomics.com.