Wednesday, December 11, 2013

graphic novel review: Thumbprint by Joe Hill & Vic Malhotra

The backstory: Thumbprint is a graphic novel adaptation of Joe Hill's short story.

The basics: Mallory Grennan is back from the Iraq War, where she took part in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison abuse. She's tending bar and trying to forget the past, but signs keep popping up that someone is here and trying to remind her.

My thoughts: When I picked up Thumbprint, I didn't know anything about it, and I was immediately pulled into its narrative. Mallory Grennan is a haunting and fascinating character. Admittedly, part of my fascination with her stems from her gender (and Hill's treatment of it.) In the flashbacks to Iraq, it seemed inconsequential, yet when she's home bartending, the one male patron in particular sees her only as a woman, rather than as a person.

Her story is grim, and the graphic novel's tone follows suit. In this sense, the graphicness of the illustrations force the reader to see the horrors of war rather than simply imagine them. It's powerful as well as depressing to see Mallory, a dynamic character, struggle to deal with her demons at times.

The verdict: Thumbprint is a dark, honest look at the transition from war to reality. It's also a visceral tale of complex emotions and moral. At times gruesome, Thumbprint tried too hard to shock and veered into horror as a genre rather than staying in the unsettling, real horror of war. Horror fans may enjoy those aspects more than I did.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 104 pages
Publication date: December 11, 2013
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Thumbprint from an independent bookstore or Amazon (no Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Joe Hill's website, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

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