Dark Horse Comics 2021
By Jeff Lemire
Lettered by Steve Wands
Stuck in an urban labyrinth of his own torment, melancholy building inspector Will and his talking canine companion fight their way through a dangerous metropolitan maze and head underground on the hunt to find his long-gone daughter.
The further we get into this story the further away from what this story is really about I find myself. Yeah Will misses his daughter and her loss consumed him to such a degree that he let himself spiral downward into some serious depression. Now he believes that his daughter has been contacting him and this has set him on a new path, one just as obsessive as can be. I may not fully understand what Will is going through, I've lost a spouse, never a child, and I’m going to pretend to fully understand what the heck is going on but I surely am fascinated by what we see and I want to see oh so much more. I have to say that I really like how we see Vern and how he ties the real world and this otherworld together as he does. Can never know if it is some subconscious manifestation or not but man’s best friend and all that jazz can be any number of things.
I am absolutely enthralled by the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job in continuing to flesh out their personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story the more wrapped up in the story that we become.
I am a huge fan of the way that we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking how we see the layers open up new avenues to be explored. Whether this is Vern, what Will finds, or what we see happening to Will’s mind, all this and more adds some great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
The interiors here are extremely expressive and impassioned. The linework is exceptional and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail we see within the work is rather extraordinary. How we see backgrounds enhance and expand the moments beautifully and how we see them work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts, which is rather innovative if you ask me, and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The colour work is extraordinary in and of itself. The monochromatic tones we see in that watercolour style is fresh, interesting and creates such an appealing vision. With the red lines or an odd colour here and there it really brings everything to life exceptionally well.
The longer that Will spends in this reality the more he’s forgetting, his life, his daughter and his search. He needs Vern to keep him on track and remind him what they are doing but will even that be enough? I do like that this isn’t being rushed and it is being allowed to play out at the pace it needs to to really be told. With some mindbogglingly brilliant storytelling and these phenomenal interiors this book is one you are never likely to forget.