cover image Viscera


Gabriel Squailia. Talos, $15.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-940456-68-3

Squailia litters the landscape of their grim fantasy standalone with the dead and the undead, as well as unspeakable, dark beauty. The title isn’t metaphorical: the city of Eth and its surroundings, inhabited by entities both human and not, have their basis in the organs of dead gods. After addict and cult member Rafe Davin murders Ashlan Ley to harvest her organs, the immortal Ashlan literally comes back to haunt him. When a cranky, oddly charming “mannikin” named Hollis Runt enlists Ashlan’s help to find and kill his maker, the Puppeteer, she unexpectedly finds herself face-to-face with the dying Rafe and decides to use him to help complete Hollis’s mission. The world is seething with the grotesque and fantastic, and gender fluidity is explored to heartbreaking effect. However, the world seems to have sprung up fully realized in its present moment; Squailia (Dead Boys) never delves much into the history that shapes the story, and toward the end, when Ashlan and Rafe must face some devastating truths, the plot unravels a bit, keeping the conclusion from being completely satisfying. (Oct.)