Science fiction and fantasy                                            

War Cry

by Jim Butcher and Carlos Gomez


I read this graphic novel on my 6" black and white ereader, which isn't the most ideal way to look at a colour graphic novel that has been formatted for a larger pages (the hardcover version will be about 12" on the diagonal, to give you an idea of how much squinting or pinching the text would be required). I don't know why publishers can't create graphic novels in a smaller format to account for standard ereader sizes. I hate reading anything long-form on a backlit screen, so there won't be much gushing about the graphics in this review, it'll be mainly about the story.

The set-up is that Harry leads a team of rookies to guard a remote country house against supernatural attack. Harry has been brought back into the White Council fold to lead this mission because the White Council are undermanned and have been under attack. So the council are relying on Harry and a small group of inexperienced youngsters to defend something top secret, and they won't say what, with their lives.

Ramirez, Yoshimo and Meyers are all spirited, and they all have magical powers. But the people in the house they're defending are more like librarians than warriors, and as the night wears on the odds against them get longer and the opposition keeps on coming. It's a fairly standard fast-moving action story, with macho dialogue, high suspense, bright flashing lights and fantastic monsters.

Although a lot of my friends have praised the Dresden Files I've yet to explore the novels. Approaching War Cry as a stand-alone episode in a much longer series worked for me, because although there was clearly a history between Harry, the Red Council, and various other characters, it didn't bog down the narrative or leave me confused. What is a little confusing is the way the narrative swaps from Harry's point of view to that of other characters. The thought bubbles are in different colours, but that doesn't show up if you're reading in black and white.

In terms of artwork, Carlos Gomez seems to have done an acceptable job, but I can't be really specific about this because of the way I read most of it.

The vampires in this series look fairly disgusting, they're not your sparkly or sexy undead types at all. This also applied to their characterisation, in that they didn't seem to have any morals or empathy, and they came across as cruel and unsophisticated. All of the interesting characterisation was reserved for the good guys, but even there it wasn't profound.

Overall this story is fast and shallow, a bit of fun and excitement that doesn't require much thought to enjoy. I found it amusing and unpretentious. It got straight to the supernatural battles and stayed with them for a long time. Inevitably, writing a comic means simplifying some things, but War Cry was a little too action-packed for my tastes, and I would have liked it to expand on some of the characters a bit more.

26th October 2014

Book Details

Year: 2014

Categories: Books

  Male Protagonist  

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3 star rating

Review ©

Source: NetGalley eARC