Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Del Rey
Reviewed by Marc Mason
One of the growing trends in graphic novels has been taking successful novels and moving their characters and settings into the sequential art realm for prequels, sequels, and in-betweens. Two series that have done so, Kim Harrison’s “Hollows” and Scott Westerfield’s “Uglies” both producing comics versions in the past year. Now both of those graphic novels have sequels on the shelves.
Harrison offers up BLOOD CRIME, which comes on the heels of BLOOD WORK. She is once again aided by artist Gemma Magno, who did part of the first book. This time around, vampire cop Ivy Tamwood and her witch partner Rachel Morgan find themselves both targets and pawns in a power struggle between warring factions in the supernaturally overwhelmed Cincinnati. At the same time, Ivy continues to struggle with her attraction to Rachel and her desire to bite her, drain her, and turn her into a thrall. One of the things that sets this series apart is that these two partners don’t just have issues over who is showing bad hygiene on a stakeout; it’s all about the barely contained sexual tension. The plot itself is sort of secondary; BLOOD CRIME is far more concerned with the underlying issues between the characters. In that, the book succeeds. Magno’s art is okay, but there are a couple of places where the storytelling gets weak, including a moment when Ivy dodges something, but we don’t see what it was, or why it was dangerous until panels later. As I mentioned with the first volume, this stuff isn’t high art, but it’s a passable diversion, and above average for this genre.
Veteran comics scribe Devin Grayson returns to work with Westerfield on UGLIES: CUTTERS, picking up where UGLIES: SHAY’S STORY left off. Artist Steven Cummings also rejoins the mix. After the events of the previous book, rebellion has failed, and everyone in the cast has been turned into a Pretty. This includes some issues with memory lapses, as the ruling class doesn’t quite want the kids to remember their attempts to fight the system. But when Shay bumps into members of her old gang, those memory blocks start to fail, and the entire group once again tries to find itself and to find a new way to rebel against what they perceive as a corrupt society. No matter what has been done to her face and body, something about a life of parties and high fashion, with these kids, it just doesn’t fly. At its heart, CUTTERS is a pretty standard teen romance, but the trappings that the creative team gives it are slick and interesting. In particular, Cummings’ work has a dynamic look to it that infuses the story with energy and excitement, even in the quieter moments. The target audience for this work will devour it with gusto.