Monday, August 30, 2010

The Executor

Written by Jon Evans
Art by Andrea Mutti

I'm of two minds when it comes to this graphic novel.  The Executor is about an ex-NHL goon who retired early due to a knee injury.  He gets a phone call telling him that his old high-school girlfriend had died, and that she unexpectedly named him the executor of her estate, which forces him to return to Elora New York, the small town where he grew up, and where he is still seen by many as a local hero.

Shortly upon arriving in town, he begins to expect that the girl's death wasn't an accident, and he begins digging around for some facts.  Elora is a typical small upstate New York town, with a Mohawk Reserve on its border.  It seems that the ex-girlfriend was dating a member of the band, and was helping the tribe with some land claims thing (which is never elucidated upon).  As Joe, our hero, distributes her meager funds to her inheritors, he meets with Dia, a local Mohawk crime boss who lives in a guarded estate on Reserve property, and apparently smuggles stuff to and from Canada.  Dia had a little brother who was killed a long time ago, and Joe seems to know something about it.

From there, the book becomes quite intriguing, as Joe's secrets are cast into new light by other information, and the plot thickens to involve a missing man accused of kidnapping his daughter, a pedophile ring, an abandoned mine, and years of lying.  It's maybe more than the book can support, and there are many places where the writing feels illogical or the pacing is off.

Not helping matters is the art of Andrea Mutti.  He's very good at drawing figures, but I often found his storytelling to be a little confusing and unclear.  I know that Vertigo is increasingly relying on artists from Italy to draw their books (I always assume it's an economic thing), but I think that Mutti should have perhaps spent a little more time researching or referencing the things he's drawing.  The hockey players appear to be playing with field hockey sticks at times, and there's a scene where much is made about how good a pumpkin pie is, yet the pie shown has a layer of crust on top.  These are all minor quibbles, but they were enough to toss me out of the story a couple of times.

Still, this is a decent read.  I found that I got pretty absorbed in the story, and didn't want to stop reading until I knew the ending.  This is Evans's first comic from what I can tell, and it's always good to see a local writer get some attention.

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