Friday, September 23, 2011
It's raining like crazy right now. Like, I'm talking torrential downpour. Since that pretty much relegates me to the crib, I figured I'd take some time out and try my best to make good on a promise I made to myself.
A promise to read more comic books and blog about it.
The focus this week is the Vertigo Crime graphic novel The Executor
The story starts off with Miriam Litwiller running for her life. She's chased, caught and killed.
Then we meet Joe Ullen who shares an awkward moment with his girlfriend. From their brief interaction we can see that things aren't right in the relationship. The awkwardness is interrupted by Joe getting the call that Miriam's dead and that he's been named her executor.
We get some brief flashbacks to his memories of her and then Joe leaves to return to Elora, New York to perform his duties. And it seems like awkwardness follows Joe wherever he goes, because Miriam's service is just as off kilter as anything else up to that point.
From there the story progresses. We meet Lloyd, the sheriff and his daughter Naomi who was a classmate of Joe's. We also learn that Joe's the pride of Elora, a high school star who made it to the NHL only to have his career cut short.
We also meet Irkar a Mohawk with a temper who happens to not only be Miriam's boyfriend, but also the person every suspects had a hand in her demise. We learn that tensions between the Indians and the whites has been on rise due in part to a missing persons case involving an abducted child.
And we meet Dia Brown the queenpin on the reservation.
Threads connect and lives intersect as the plot thickens. Joe uncovers how everything's connected as well as a couple of secrets that go back to his days in high school. We also learn that Joe has a huge secret, something that he's been carrying with him since high school, which explains why he's willing to fly across the country to see to the will of an ex-girlfriend from high school.
The Executor is a very good read. It starts slowly, but sucks you in. A conspiracy is built and all of the pieces fit, though in the beginning it feels like there's almost too much to keep track of. Jon Evans does a good job of revealing how the pieces connect and showing how a former NHL goon is able to piece it all together. There are plenty of twists and turns and the skeleton in Joe's closet is indeed a dark one. But Jon Evans makes it all fit and all believable. He also captures the tension between native communities and their neighbors and all of the nonchalant racism that exists in those situations.
Andrea Mutti's art is spectacular. Every character looks unique and the scenes set in the past truly reflect the fashions of the time. Seeing the characters back in high school just shows how much time and their secrets have aged them, and Mutti's art shows that in stunning detail. It's moody, it's atmospheric. If it wasn't for the subject matter the art would be a joy, but given the tone it's totally gripping.
I was surprised. I didn't think I was going to enjoy The Executor as much as I did, but it totally sucked me in. I was enthralled and turning pages feverishly. I was disgusted at the reveal of what was really going on, but that's how good the book is; it provoked an emotional response.
Um, it's a good read.