cover image Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom

Joe Casey, . . AiT/Planet Lar, $12.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-932051-45-2

A graphic novel about a man who is turning into stone might sound like it will feature superhero adventures along the lines of the Fantastic Four's The Thing. Instead, Casey (Wildcats Version 3.0 ; Gødland ) and Adlard (Walking Dead ) are more interested in what would happen to that man psychologically and emotionally. Rock Bottom quickly reveals itself to be a disease drama, albeit one with a visual hook that's perfect for comics. Adlard's art employs thin but direct black lines with no color until Thomas Dare's skin transforms into gray pavement. It's an effective way of illustrating the frightening progress of Dare's disease. Casey's story is concerned with the man inside the stone and how this strange condition has him reflect upon his entire life. Covering much ground, the story moves along at a brisk pace, and rarely melodramatic. The third act adds in some light social satire as Dare becomes a media sensation due to his remarkable situation, but Casey keeps his script focused. There's just the right amount of pathos so when the image of Dare's completely petrified face appears, except for his anxious and sad eyes, it's haunting. (Sept.)