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Flower and Fade

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Jesse Lonergan's debut graphic novel is the chronicle of a short romance between two people, Kyle Kleft and Erika Caird, who live in the same apartment building. The couple meet, have a few experiences together, and then slowly drift apart from each other before breaking up. That's about it. Each of them have annoying friends who spice up the story, but basically this is a quiet little story about two pretty quiet people who have a quiet little affair for a little while.

The story in this book is just not that interesting or compelling. There was nothing much to make Erika or Kyle seem like especially interesting characters. Kyle has aspirations to be a writer, but he never writes much. I think Lonergan tries to convey Kyle's apathy though unspoken body language and facial expressions, but he's just not a good enough artist yet to be able to pull off something like that. There are hints that Kyle is unstable because he has recurring fantasies of hurting himself, but the scenes are never really elaborated upon in a way that adds depth to the character. Instead, they just seem like random events rather than moments that deepen the reader’s understanding of Kyle’s character.

The art style is as simple and unadorned as the writing, and that style gives the reader an odd sort of distance from the characters. Readers never really get in the heads of the characters; they never quite come off the page and become memorable. There's just no hook in any part of the book to get a reader deeply involved with what happens in it.

This book is a quick read but is unfortunately pretty unremarkable. It's valiant effort at a first graphic novel, but there are much more interesting graphic novels competing for your $13.95.

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