Thanks to NetGalley and Dynamite Entertainment for providing me with this ARC. I was a little excited about a Mercy Thompson comic series. I love the medium, at its best, and I love Patricia Briggs and Mercy. It could have been a match made in somewhere really great. But.
The positive: I think the story was pared down very well. It’s a massive challenge, to take a 288-page novel and morph it into a series of – what, 40-odd-page issues? The whole picture-is-worth-1000-words trope doesn’t necessarily mean that the thousand words a picture is worth are useful to storytelling in an adaptation. The script for this series – the first four issues, at least – did a very nice job of conveying just about everything that needed conveying.
It’s the artwork I have a massive problem with. Some of it was very well done, but it’s individual frames. Overall, I was deeply disappointed. I don’t mean that Mercy doesn’t look right, or Zee, or what-have-you. I can adapt to others’ visions of characters I love: I adapted to Elijah Wood. I mean that nothing looks right. The coyote looks silly. Hell, the wolves look silly, often – paws don’t quite sit on the ground properly, faces look strange – there is nothing of the beauty or fierceness or fearsomeness even ordinary wolves project, much less weres. There are a huge number of canids in this story; I only wish someone with a better feel for them had drawn this book – although the human anatomy isn’t done much better in many cases. And while I’m sure it’s not easy to illustrate the in-between stages of a were’s change, there has to be a less foolish-looking way than was used here. Also, the book deserves better than classic Batman-style printed sound effects: “GRRRRRRR” and “BLAM” and such are probably hard to work around, but I wish they’d tried. All of the artwork just seems to rely too heavily on cliché.
And I have to say it: Mercy doesn’t look right. She’s too shallowly pretty, too dark-haired-Barbie-doll. And she’s the one I have the least issue with, I think. Adam … I really, really hate what they did to Adam. Adam Hauptman is supposed to be beautiful, and I see where they were trying for that. They missed, and hit waxy-effeminate-faery-no-one’s-taking-THAT-seriously instead. And Jesse … She looks like a china doll – one of those scary china dolls whose huge blue eyes open and close on their own, and which gets up in the middle of the night and kills you in your bed. Overall, the humans are too smooth, and the wolves too rough.