§ September 20th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

So, this new Local comic all the cognoscenti are abuzz about…well, they’re abuzz for good reason, as it’s a fine darn read. A young woman finds herself at a crossroads, as her good-for-nothing strung-out boyfriend is coercing her into turning in a forged prescription at a pharmacy. That is basically the extent of the plot, but writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly wring a great deal of emotion and even suspense out of this seemingly-simple situation.

That’s the spoiler-free review. If you want to be caught by surprise by the storytelling technique in this book, one that caught me completely off-guard, skip the next paragraph and buy the darn thing in November, when your finer comic shops should have it on the shelves.

Still here? Okay, the twist in this story is that we see several different outcomes for the young woman’s pharmacy escapade. Similar to the end of Run, Lola, Run, as she reaches the tragic ending resulting from her entering the pharmacy, we are rewound back to the point where her boyfriend is pushing her into getting his drugs for him. She sets off on a different series of events from that point, and so on. We learn a great deal about how she deals with adversity, or how she deals with people sympathetic to her situation, and Wood and Kelly run her through minor variations on the same situation. It’s a shorthand introduction to the woman who is apparently the protagonist for the series, telling us what kind of woman she is and how she ultimately deals with a problem that appears to have no solution.

Spoilers over, you can start reading again. Anyway, from my brief glances at other people’s reviews (which I’d been trying to avoid as so not to spoil anything for myself), most everyone is recommending this to the folks that read and enjoyed the excellent Demo, Wood’s prior project. I can’t disagree…like most issues of Demo, Local has a gimmick driving the story, but the gimmick is there to teach us more about the characters involved, to bring emotional depth rather than some improbable plot contrivance.

It’s involving and it’s beautifully drawn, and it sticks with you after you’ve read it. That’s a good way to spend three bucks, sez I.

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