November, Vol. 1: The Girl on the Roof

Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier. Image, $16.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-5343-1354-5
The first of a planned trilogy of graphic novellas scripted by Fraction (the Sex Criminals series), this cryptic postmodern mystery introduces a linked series of narrative puzzles. Dee, a hard-drinking reprobate, is hired by the mysterious Mister Mann to crack a daily code in the newspaper and report her solution over a pirate radio frequency. The work is easy if unsettling; but the money somehow never manages to improve Dee’s lot in life. “Everybody’s got a cage. Everybody’s trapped in something,” Dee reasons. But when she misses a day, it somehow rips the already seamy fabric of her urban society. Elsewhere in the city a woman finds a gun in a puddle and a police dispatcher overhears sinister voices. If the story doesn’t yet make much sense, the art by Charretier (the Infinite Loop series) captures attention, with the characters and their dark, rain-spattered world rendered in chunky lines, bold shapes, and a moodily limited color palette. The art and absurdist logic-puzzle plot recall classic indie noir comics from the 1980s and ’90s, such as Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli’s adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass. Readers will have to wait on future volumes to discover if the tangle of codes, clues, urban legends, and sinister cops will resolve itself into a satisfying piece of metafiction, but this proves an intriguing opener. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/05/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Comics
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