Why I Read It: Joe Hill is a favorite author of mine. Not only for his horror fiction (though if my husband doesn’t finish 20th Century Ghosts one of these days, I’m going to bludgeon him with it, because he won’t let me read it until HE’s done with it, the goober), but also his comic book work: specially, Locke & Key. My husband picked this hardcover up from the comic book shop, read it, stuck it in my pile, and all he said when I asked how it was is this: “It’s dark.”
The premise: ganked form BN.com: Every little boy dreams about putting on a cape and soaring up, up, and away… but what if one day that dream were to come true? Eric was like every other eight-year-old boy, until a tragic accident changed his life forever. THE CAPE explores the dark side of power, as the adult Eric – a confused and broken man – takes to the skies… and sets out to exact a terrible vengeance on everyone who ever disappointed him. This critically acclaimed, Eisner-Award nominated story, written by Jason Ciaramella, based on the short story by New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill, with art by Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel, will linger with you long after you turn the last page, and force you to ask yourself the question: “What if?”
Spoilers, yay or nay?: Nay. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of this story, so not only will there be no spoilers, but the review will be short and sweet.
The Story: My husband was right. It’s dark. In a disturbing way. I’ll talk about the art in a minute, but the way the story tells itself is in itself maddening. Everything’s going along hunky dory and you think you know what’s going to happen next, and then you’re wrong. Suddenly, shockingly wrong. And in a way, the storytelling is genius, simply because not only does the execution do this, but that’s what the whole story is about: thinking you know how it’s going to go, and being utterly and completely wrong.
It’s well worth reading. It’s dark but still compelling, and now I really, really, really want to read the short story this graphic novel was based on, just to see the differences in the storytelling process (panels versus prose) and to get deeper inside the heads of the characters.
Dark, disturbing, and totally worth it. You’ve been warned.
The Art: The art really plays into the way the story is told, carrying on that sense that everything is just as you know it, and then shocking you with a panel or a scene that just jars you out of complacency. When something happens, your brain’s going, “No, no… that can’t be right,” but you can’t stop staring at the art that’s telling you that IS what happened, and there’s no ambiguity about it. Very well done on so many levels, expressive and emotive and tells the story just right.
My Rating: 7 – Good Read
Obviously, I was quite pleased. I took a few days to read this just to let myself really absorb the story and the actions that were pushing it forward. I can’t say I’ve read anything quite like this, especially in terms of the violence. But for anyone wanting a twist on the superhero story, this is so worth it, almost a must-have. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you: it’s dark.
Cover Commentary: Pretty ambivalent about the cover. Unlike what’s posted on the review, there was no Locke & Key reference on my actual hardcover, just Joe Hill’s name in large, block letters. It’s not something that’d catch my attention save for Joe Hill’s name, but it does indicate the story within won’t be the bright, cheerful superhero comic you’re expecting.