Monday, June 18, 2012

The Green Woman: graphic novel review

The Green Woman by Peter Straub, Michael Easton and John Bolton. Vertigo $17.99

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

This graphic novel continues the tale of Straub’s serial killer Fielding “Fee” Bandolier from his Blue Rose trilogy. On Fee’s trail is the NY cop Bob Steele, desperate to get his man, and to make his mark as a policeman. I haven’t read the Blue Rose books so all the characters are new to me. But that isn’t a problem: they are well delineated and their motives clear. It seems that Fee is looking to hang up his knife, maybe retire somewhere nice, but something is stopping him. Besides, not only is Bob Steele on his heels, but other killers follow his lead. This all sounds grand but, sadly, I found the story slight. Not bad, but not especially riveting, and I think I’d rather read this as a novella.

What makes this book special, though, is John Bolton’s exquisite paintings. They are in a class of their own. Bolton is, quite simply, one of the best comic-book embellishers around. How does he find the time to paint 140 pages of art? By magic, I imagine. Some of the panels capture the story’s characters perfectly: the picture of the killer on page 25, for example.

In summary, The Green Woman is a good read but it’s a much better artbook.

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