Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Spontaneous

Title: Spontaneous
Author: Joe Harris
Illustrator: Brett Weldele
Publisher: Oni Press
Pages: Hardcover; 144
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Source: NetGalley

Phenomenon, conspiracy, or delusion? "Kelvin" Melvin Reyes was only three years old when Spontaneous Human Combustion took his father from him. He''s since devoted his life to exploring the mystery behind the phenomenon, searching for a pattern and predictors that he might save others from that same fiery fate. But the closer he gets to his goal, the further things lead down a well of secrets, horrors, and terrible truths. Is SHC real? And, if so, can it be stopped?
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N

It was really the premise of Spontaneous that first prompted me to review this. Spontaneous Human Combustion is something that we really don't stop to think about. I was intrigued to see what path author Joe Harris would take. So with an open mind, I dove right in.

The story flies by as the pages tell Melvin's story. The problem with this brevity is that there is really no time to develop the characters. Melvin is a tormented soul, and that's him through the whole book. Emily is that no-holds-barred reporter who is dead set on getting her story, and again she doesn't change. In fact most of the secondary characters don't even get enough face time for the reader to fully even notice them. I liked that the book moved so quickly, but I would have read for longer if it meant more time to spend with the characters.

What's good about the way that this story is written is that there isn't any down time at all. From page one the reader is drawn into the mystery of the people who are suffering from this odd fate. Melvin's story blossoms beautifully, slowly letting the reader see just enough to keep them intrigued. I think this is where Emily's character truly shined. As you are doing your best to figure out what Melvin is going to do next, Emily is uncovering the story behind it all. At the end I honestly did a double take. It was that interesting.

In terms of illustrations, Spontaneous is a lot different than other books I've seen. The art style is a mixture of hard, bold lines with soft watercolor providing some warmth. The people in the story look more like sketches than anything else. More like caricatures than actual people. It works for the story though, and I'm honestly impressed by Brett Weldele's talent. His illustrations allow the story to shine through, without taking over.

Final verdict? Spontaneous is definitely something to check out if you are a fan of graphic novels. The story is unique and quick moving, and I'm certain that you'll fall in love with the illustrations.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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