August 15, 2010 | Graphic novels


Joshua Hale Fialkov, Noel Tuazon
Archaia Entertainment
$14.95 (Hardcover)
**** (out of five)

Private investigator Frank Armstrong just got the biggest payday of his rather pitiful career: $10,000 for a week’s work.

Unfortunately, he may not have seven days left in him.

Frank’s got a brain tumour, a really nasty one that’s giving him all kinds of fits — from raging headaches and blackouts to hallucinations and time lapses — all as he’s trying to make good on one last case.

He’s searching the filthy streets and rat-infested back alleys of Los Angeles for the daughter of a notorious gangster — a girl who bears a striking resemblance to his late wife, a situation that’s making is awful hard for the dying detective and his misfiring grey matter to distinguish between past and present.

Frank knows he won’t survive the case, but he’s got to try. He’s got to save the girl. Since he couldn’t save his wife.

Tumor, the first original comic book series distributed via Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, finally arrives in printed form and it proves well worth the wait.

The brainchild of hot American writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and talented Toronto artist Noel Tuazon, the tandem behind 2006’s critically acclaimed, and Harvey Award-nominated, graphic novel Elk’s Run, Tumor captures the best elements of modern noir fiction — including true-to-life characters, authentic settings and the palpable stench of death — and gives it a vicious new spin.

The authenticity that Fialkov puts into Frank’s suffering through his tumour is visceral and frankly jarring at times and made even more so by the dramatic effects of Tuazon’s alternating use of thick, black inks and soft, washed out greys.

This second example of Fialkov and Tuazon’s combined skills is just as impressive as their first and is sure to keep readers’ eyes out for more to come.

You must be logged in to post a comment.