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Graphic Novels: The Challenge, Part 2

As you may or may not know, I started the reading summer out being challenged by Beth to read ten graphic novels. Because I am allergic to being told what to do, I suggested a compromise of me reading two graphic novels. Beth agreed and a mini-challenge was born.

Her first choice for me was Hope Larson's YA graphic novel Mercury; I reviewed that book last week. Another suggestion she made was Hannah Berry's Britten and Brulightly, although she noted it was a bit strange.

Britten Turns out I don't mind strange. This is a completely different novel from Mercury: much different story (crime/mystery/noir), much different art. One of the things that makes it strange (I'm not going to be a spoiler and tell you what it is) didn't really bother me all that much, although I did wonder why Berry used it as a plot point. I thought it would have worked just fine without it. The book opens with Britten describing his career as a private investigator--and his nickname "The Heartbreaker"--earned after telling people what they hired him to find out but which they really don't want to know anyway. I enjoyed that aspect of the story, and the actual mystery he is charged with, very much. Although towards the end I did think the story got both unnecessarily complex (and then was resolved too quickly)*, that's a criticism I have of a lot of modern-day noir and mystery.

But I did love the art of this one. Very dark, with lots of line detail of the city in which the story is set. It reminded me of Paul Madonna's work, which I love, and looked to me the way a graphic novel "should."

So, thanks, Beth. These were both interesting reads and when I passed the graphic novel section of my local library yesterday, I didn't run past it the way I normally do. I slowed down a bit and actually thought about perusing it. (I didn't, but the next time I might! Baby steps.)

*Mr. CR read it too and also thought the ending was too abrupt. Interesting that our reactions to these graphic novels has been quite similar, as we both have quite different reading tastes.