cover image Hardears


Matthew Clarke and Nigel Lynch. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5192-9

Lynch and Clarke (Life & Death in Paradise) reunite in this spellbinding fantasy adventure. On Jouvert Island, a setting-as-character that pops off the page, lives a man of great vibes called Bolo. When his home is devastated by a hurricane, the sinister Mr. Harding rushes in to exploit the tragedy, with his massive factory that offers the only jobs left. Bolo’s love interest Zhara gets swept up in Harding’s plot, and it’s up to the pair to stop Mr. Harding from draining the island dry. The lore, magic, and history of Clarke and Lynch’s realm render it immersive, fanciful, complex, and deeply Caribbean. Instead of allowing any singular character to shine, they convey the shaking of a community, which explores all aspects of a traumatized society. Hypocrisies are pointed out and the ending is not a neat happily ever after, thus staying true to the overarching social commentary. All this is only heightened by Clarke’s dramatic art, which frequently employs larger-than-life splash pages, creating a palpable atmosphere. The spectacle carries the staying power of a bona fide folktale. (Apr.)