Saturday, February 21, 2009

Elk’s Run Trade Paperback - Spotlight Review

Elk’s Run
Publisher Villard Books
Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art Noel Tuazon
Colors Scott Keating

I’m coming late to this party as this book has reached tons of critical acclaim. Sometimes there are just too many “great books” out there to get around to and of course often those books were not all that great. One man’s junk is another man’s gold and all of that good stuff, but I have had enough people talk up this book that I purchased it awhile ago and it sat on my bookshelf. I’m always reading multiple things at once and often fear I no longer have the ability to just be reading one book at a time. I’m so bad about it that I occasionally have to re-read the parts of a book that I have gotten away from for too long to refresh my memory.

Last night I picked up Elk’s Run again for about the 20th time or so and I finally opened it up and looked at the artwork. Noel’s style is that sort of Dawryn Cooke type of style and it has a loose feel to it that is deceptive in you think it is simplistic, but it is not. I started to flip through the art and then went back to start to read the story. What a great book. The art is what drew me in and the page layout and design was great, the fluid feel to the art was something I look for and the coloring was perfect and aced the different moods that various sections of the book were portraying.

I started reading this late one evening and could not put it down until I was about halfway through it. By then it was later then I wanted it to be and I had to go to work the next day. In the morning over coffee and a bowl of cereal I continued to read it. I work close enough to my job to come home for lunch and fixed a sandwich and continued to read it. After work and dinner I completed the book. It was that good that it will not let you go until you have completed it.

The story is straightforward. A group of Viet Nam veterans create their own community and cut themselves off from the rest of the world. Their few children have grown up into teen-agers and are restless. A series of events cause the town to take justice into its own hands against another member of the group and things go downhill from there. John is the “cult” leader for lack of a better term and his son John is the leader of the group of kids trying to leave. Elk’s Run eventually blows up and the dirty secret of the town is revealed that the elder John had planned to blow up quite a few things and had the town wired as a precaution.

In order to tell a complete story the rapid change in the older John’s character seems a little sudden, but any good story comes in at the tipping point and not a long build up to how we got there. Plus a lot of that development and clues are scattered within the book and you can piece together how we got from here to there. The writing is as deceptively simple as the art, you think it is skimming the surface or lacks sophistication, but it doesn't, it is just delivered in easy to read style.

One of the great things about such a well told tale is you can find themes and meanings that maybe the author never intended. It is about cults, about what you would do to protect what you have, it is a coming of age story, it is about how every teen-ager feels trap in their parents house (but these guys were), it is about courage, it is about heroism and it is about fathers and sons.

Overall Grade A – An exciting and thought provoking book that worth the price of entry.

Gwen will see this trade very soon.

Places to Visit

Buy it at Amazon or order it from you local Comic Store.
See Noel’s Art
Visit Joshua
Check out the Cleaners
Naked Pictures of Angelina Jolie

1 comment:

  1. Your review is dead on. I was enthralled after reading the first issue on-line a few years ago, and was stuck waiting until Random House collected it with the final chapters a while back. A good story, and writing is what every comic is based on.