Monday, December 08, 2014

Booknote: Family Ties

Eric Hobbs (author) and Noel Tuazon (artist), Family Ties: an Alaskan Crime Drama. New York: NBM Comics, 2014. ISBN:  9781561637294.

This is a tale inspired by Shakespeare's King Lear. You do not need to have read Shakespeare's play beforehand, but if you have read it, you may appreciate the direction that Hobbs takes. Much like Shakespeare, this is a moving and solid tragedy. I also found fascinating that the story takes place in Alaska. We usually think of mobsters in places like New York, Chicago, or Las Vegas, so this was a good departure from the usual.

The story is simple. The aging crime boss wishes to retire and divide his empire among his children: two daughters and a son. The son is the prodigal kid, not involved in the family business. The daughters are both in the business, and they both want it all. When the son rejects his father's offer, the crime boss becomes angry and disowns him. Meanwhile, the daughters now turn against the old man in their grab for power. To complicate things for the old man, he is starting to show signs of dementia. From there, the story spirals deeper into intrigues and increasing violence. One the violence starts, it is pretty relentless. Some readers may want to keep that in mind if they choose to read this title. For me, the violence worked well with the story. The story engages you, and it draws you in as you get to know the characters. It's a tragic tale with great pace and energy.

A big issue for me, however, was the sketch style art. On the one hand, it can be very evocative of the setting. On the other hand, it meant some characters were not well defined nor distinctive enough. I had some difficulty telling some characters apart, especially some of the secondary characters. This was also an issue in the script. Primary characters-- the old man, his children-- were defined clearly. Some of the others not so much. This lack of better character development in the art did prevent me from enjoying this work more.

In the end, I did like it overall, so I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

I borrowed this one from my local public library, Madison County Public Library (Berea branch). 

No comments: