Written by Eric Hobbs
Art by Noel Tuazon
We all know that as the boomer population ages, senility and dementia are going to be a growing problem, involving a lot more health care, and putting a lot of stress on families. I suppose it also makes sense that more and more popular fiction will also explore the phenomenon, and it looks like Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon are working to get ahead of the pack with Family Ties, their mobster story that deals with the issue.
Jackie Giovanni and his associates made the trek up to Anchorage Alaska at a time when the entire state was ripe for the organized crime picking. They built an empire for themselves, but now Jackie is starting to lose his grip on reality. When the book opens, one of his two daughters, who have been taking on a bigger slice of the family business, has to deal with a drug dealer who used Jackie's senility against him in negotiating very favourable terms for himself and his dealers.
As the story unfolds, we learn that Jackie's two daughters have their eyes on a lot more than the slow transference of power from their father. Their younger brother, Cain, has no interest in taking on any of the business, and is more interested in getting their father medical help. Toss into this volatile mix a recently found bastard son of one of Jackie's closest associates, who has his own designs on how to achieve power, and we get a pretty big mess.
Hobbs's writing is pretty intelligent. He leaves a lot for the reader to deduce, and that works (even if I sometimes had to flip back a few pages to remind myself how some characters were related to each other). Tuazon is a very interesting artist. I've enjoyed his work for a while now, but can see that he would not be for everyone. He is a very minimalist artist, reducing faces and scenes to a high degree of abstraction, but then also covering the page with a lot of messy lines or blocks of shading that don't exactly fit within the shapes they are tinting. It can make reading one of his pages a bit of a challenge, especially since some characters aren't as unique as others in their appearance, but at the same time, I enjoy the individuality of his work.
This graphic novel is a very solid read, and worth checking out.