Friday, June 25, 2010

Dark Entries by Ian Rankin and Werther Dell'Edera.

John Constantine faces the demons of reality TV in this tight graphic noir from Vertigo Crime.

It’s pretty much accepted that, as a society, we’re all kind of ashamed of reality TV. Whether you guilty pleasure is keeping up with pretty wild real housewives or extreme top project makeover challenges, you’re watching. Maybe you claim to you watch it ironically, maybe you have to watch it to have something to talk about at work, or maybe your significant other “forces” you. Whatever your reasons, you’re still watching.

John Constantine might be the one man in the universe who actually doesn’t watch reality TV. His vices run more towards women, cigarettes and liquor. But when a reality TV producer breaks into his flat and offers him a fat wad of cash to investigate supernatural shenanigans on the set of a scripted reality show, he takes it, even though all of his instincts say not to. The show Dark Entries is part scavenger hunt and part-psychological experiment. The telegenic twenty something contestants are prepared for being scared while scouring a mysterious house for an unspecified prize. However, something else is terrorizing the kids, something not under the producer’s control. Posing as a contestant, it’s up to Constantine to figure out what is happening.

One of the first entries in the Vertigo Crime series of graphic novels, Dark Entries isn’t really crime fiction. It does, however, make use of a lot of conventional noir elements, including a monster twist midway through. Writer Rankin makes full use of the cultural knowledge of reality TV’s clichés, using them to fuel the plot. This is a very lean story, without a lot of filler; the creators know we’re here for a mystery and get right down to it. The result is a quick moving tale, which is both a strength and weakness. Readers who are unfamiliar with John Constantine and the role he plays in the DC/Vertigo Universe will be left scratching their heads. Rankin clearly expects readers to have a working knowledge of the character. Still, even without awareness of who Constantine is, Dark Entries stands alone as a solid supernatural yarn. As for artwork, the match of artist and subject is just about perfect. Dell’Edera’s jagged, black and white style takes full advantage of the plot’s ambiguities, with the shading slowly getting darker as the plot does the same.

While fans of Hellblazer will take the most from this graphic novel, those simply those who like a good ghost story will find much to like here

No comments:

Post a Comment