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Midnight Nation by J. Michael Straczynski

I went to the Annville Free Library's book sale last night. Unfortunately I didn't find any books to buy, but I did find a couple items to borrow. One item was the graphic novel Midnight Nation by J. Michael Straczynski. Try saying that last name three times fast. I had a strange sense of deja vu when I started reading the first couple pages of this novel before I realized that, yes, I did already read it. So I decided to reread it, and after I was finished, I found out that I still don't quite "get" what the author meant by the ending. I don't want to say much more than that because I don't want to spoil the story for those who haven't read it yet.

David Grey is a homicide detective for the LAPD, and the latest murders he's caught are some seriously nasty news. Grey starts poking around and a witness points him in the direction of "the men" a.k.a "the Walkers" (not a surname). He tracks down an ex-con who may be connected to the murders and nearly ends up a murder victim himself. Instead his soul is stolen by the leader of the Walkers. Grey eventually meets up with a woman named Laurel who will act as his guide on a cross country trek to New York City where he will meet up with the man who holds his soul. Once in New York the two will face an impossible battle in order for Grey to redeem his soul. They only have a year to walk all the way from L.A. to New York City (that's right--walk) before Grey will turn into a Walker, and Laurel vows to kill Grey before that happens. Grey and Laurel have to walk because they exist in an "in-between" zone where people and things that have been lost, abandoned and discarded go. The people in "in-between" can only touch and use items that have also been lost, abandoned and discarded. That's why Grey and Laurel must walk across the country because the only vehicles that work in "in-between" belong to the Walkers.

This novel is very well-written and drawn and in the end it presents some issues that will make you think, especially in the end, which is open to interpretation. The one thing that bothered me were the typos that I picked up as I read. Every once in a while I read a book that has some obvious typos or some lapses in editing, and it's always frustrating because then you have to tease out exactly what the author means. And sometimes this can be very difficult because in the end you don't know for sure if you're reading it right because of the mistakes in the print.

I highly recommend this graphic novel. It is available upon request from the Annville Free Library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Anonymous said…
This is my favorite graphic novel. The one volume I recommend to my friends who have never read a graphic novel. It's deeply moving, and quite romantic. The only other graphic novel on par with Midnight Nation is The Preacher series, my favorite multi-volume graphic novels. Read these two, and I challenge any graphic novel novice to not fall in love with the genre.

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