By right of expectation, this should be a graphic novel review. I’ve been pretty darn faithful about the alternating thing, and such. But then I went on vacation, in which there was a beach, and more importantly, an ocean. Also there were friends and children and laughing and a board game. And also, because I live inside myself so much and it’s worthwhile to reiterate the things that really affect me, on a bone-deep level, there was still an ocean. She had waves and a loud voice, and we had a friendly tussle in which she made sure to show me she could kill me at any moment without a thought, but that was only momentary and to demonstrate who was who; like I said, it was friendly. And just for me, flying in the face of all established knowledge on local weather patterns, she put a storm on the horizon.
If I wanted to get all cute and literary, I could use that as a segue into discussing the razor’s edge that Chicago wizard Harry Dresden lives on, between doing minor readings and finding lost objects for people and working freelance for the local police department on the stranger deaths, providing them with nudges of information here and there about things they don’t and couldn’t understand about the demonic underbelly of their world on one side of the razor, and on the other, that selfsame world of demons, black magic, monsters under far too many beds, and a council of wizards in charge of policing it all and keeping the bad guys at bay or even dead, which would probably make up for a lot of the badness if only they didn’t have reason to believe that Harry Dresden himself was one of those bad guys who they need to be poised to take care of after just a momentary magic-ethical lapse on his part. Magic is an ocean, I’d say, both wondrous and deadly by turns. Luckily, I have no interest in that kind of high-minded pandering to the gods of metaphor, and just wanted to mention what a great vacation I had, and how much I love the ocean and kind of need a permanent private beach that I could go to whenever I had the urge.
All that said, the image does have pretty good legs, especially when you consider that the incoming Storm Front is what marks Harry’s first real challenge. I mean, besides the ones in his mysterious and barely scratched past, of course. Also, ha, “pretty good legs” works really well when you consider that the book is all detective-noir, sheets of magical flame and summoned demons aside. (If I were a better, or at least more confident, writer, I’d have let that last image stand (ha!) on its own, without putting up the big neon sign pointing at it. But don’t look at me like that; you know you loved it.) So, anyway, there’s this guy, Harry Dresden, right? And he has a bleak past that won’t quite let go of him, and his job as a wizard slash consultant, and a friendly skull named Bob who helps him out sometimes, and relatively non-angsty problems with the ladies. And now he’s got himself caught up in a gang war, multiple homicides, magic drugs on the streets, police who are starting to have reason to suspect him as being complicit in some or all of these problems, and that bleak past isn’t really going anywhere, either. He’s more mature and less sex-obsessed, but it’s difficult at this early date not to find myself drawing comparisons to the Anita Blake series at its beginning. Rumor has it that they will ultimately find different directions to travel, which relieves me to no small end.
Also: I just realized I got caught up in my metaphor description of the vacation, and forgot to explain about the graphic novels. The thing is, I’m trying to take slightly better care of them than the only decent care I take of paperbacks, and bringing them all packed and luggaged and such to an ocean full of sand and water didn’t seem like a successful way to pursue that goal. Thusly, they were left at home. And now you know!