Val McDermid and Kathryn Briggs. Atlantic Monthly, $17 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-8021-5872-7
Scottish crime writer McDermid (the Tony Hill series) takes a stab at bio-noir in this spare but riveting graphic novel tracking a pandemic. Zoe, a dreadlocked freelance journalist, foreshadows “this was where the end began” from ground zero: A Northumberland music festival where tainted sausages may spell humanity’s demise. Zoe tracks the bacterium from infected rock stars to the wider world “like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond” while trying to ignore the possibility that a friend may have been the cause. A less-developed secondary plot tracks Dr. Siddiqui, an infectious disease researcher muzzled by an arrogant, clueless bureaucracy, who provides Zoe with a handy “idiot’s guide” to how greedy pharmaceutical companies and antibiotic-stuffed animals helped create a killer plague. McDermid rockets the catastrophe along as the mutating and species-jumping bacterium overwhelms a phlegmatic medical response. Briggs’s grungy and off-kilter figures visually counterpoint the clinical plot, while her ashy charcoal backgrounds and faux-medieval frames suggest a cyclical human drama. Though missing the gravitas of recent disaster disease fiction like Lawrence Wright’s The End of October, this chilling story may prove oddly comforting for Covid-era readers—it’s a glimpse of a far worse potential future. Agent: George Lucas, InkWell Management. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/22/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Comics
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-8021-5873-4
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-78529-593-5
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