Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Noel Tuazon

Tumor is yet another crime comic centred on a down on his luck private eye "with a twist."  The thing is, unlike many of the Vertigo Crime graphic novels, this particular twist works really well.

Frank Armstrong has a tumor in his head which is causing him to have intense flashbacks, or fall into short-lived comas.  Frank was never a particularly good PI (neither in terms of quality nor morality), and so at the end of his life, he has very little going for him.

He takes a job with a notorious drug lord, who is looking for his missing daughter.  As it turns out, the daughter had stolen money from him, and he is looking to have her killed.  When Frank meets the daughter, Evelyn, she reminds him of his deceased wife Rosa.  In fact, he frequently confuses the two, and he decides to help Evelyn in the one way he couldn't help Rosa.

The book is very tightly plotted, and Fialkov uses Frank's disease as a way of driving the plot, as it adds to his confusion, but also works to help us understand exactly what went down with Rosa in the first place.  There are some interesting tricks done with the timeline of the story at the beginning, but as the book progresses, that aspect of the storytelling calms down.

Tuazon's art is pretty nice.  It suits the story, and I like the way that the flashback scenes are drawn in what looks like charcoal (the book is black and white).  Tuazon makes Frank look old, and he seems to become more drained as the story progresses.

This story was originally sold as a webcomic on Amazon, but I think it works great in this nice thick little hardcover.  There is some supplemental material, including a prose story of Frank's first job as a PI.  This is worth checking out.

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