Friday, January 09, 2009

Why can't I type E backward?

A quick review today of an excellent new book from Boom! Studios. If you didn't get it this week, you still have time to get off your duff and do it.

Hexed came out this Wednesday and brought readers into a well paced story right from the opening page. Written by Michael Alan Nelson and pencilled by Emma Rios, with colors by Cris Peter, the lead character is a young woman named Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves, Lucifer for short. It's not stated directly, but I'm guessing she's Brazilian. My reading habits not encompassing as broad a spectrum as Jim's I was unaware that she's a character from the Fall of Cthulhu, which, I must say, is hard enough to type, let alone pronounce. If it's not Welsh, it ought to be.

Anyway, there's no need to know she's from the Fall of Cthulhu. The story jumps right into who and what she is as she sneaks into a night club and steals something magical, using a combination of lockpicking skills and a knowledge of demon traps to get to her target. Her internal monologue as she goes about her task quickly lets the reader in on who she, including the fact that she doesn't think of herself as beautiful, though clearly she is.

She's working with/for an older woman named Val who runs a preeminent art gallery. It's that association that indirectly leads to her being blackmailed by some skeezer named Dietrich, or as Lucifer describes him, a rancid toadstool. Lucifer had been hired by him to steal something in the past, but she backed out of it when she realized what kind of person he was and that the item was being stolen from a nunnery.

Even though Lucifer knows that Dietrich won't release her from her supposed obligation to make up the uncompleted job, no matter what, she begins a new job for him stealing from an even worse guy named Quandrin. After that job's done, she is supposed to introduce Dietrich to a woman called The Harlot. Personally, I'm interested in seeing just what woman goes around with that moniker and why. I'm expecting it's not the obvious.

Easily the most interesting thing about this first issue is the method of getting to Quandrin, which comes at the very end of the issue. Lucifer goes to a morgue, cuts open the chest cavity of a 300 lbs cadaver and dives into another dimension. Now that's a method of travel I've not seen. More interesting is the fact that Lucifer feels bad about using this dead guy's body. She read a little about him and feels he was a nice guy. Unfortunately, someone of his size is needed for her to get through to where she's going, and there aren't too many to choose from. Dietrich had picked the guy out and given her his obituary so she'd know where to find him.

So, that's the story so far. Rios does a great job illustrating the work and Peter's colors match brilliantly. The light and dark of the colors shift appropriately for different light settings. The pencils give the facial features individual characteristics, and there's a good variety of body types. No cookie cutter characters here, nor heavy handed attempts to use light and dark instead of telling a quality story. Even a single panel amongst 6 on a page does a great job of illustrating the nature of Lucifer and how young she is, though she's obviously an adult. As she's shown sitting in a chair in Val's office with her feet over the back and her head hanging over the front edge of the seat, it reminded me of just how my 10 year old daughter often sits on chairs while watching TV.

This is the first of a 4 issue series. Check it out for yourself. If you really don't want to get off your duff, go to Boom!'s web site at You'll even get to read it for free, but I highly recommend buying it for yourself.