Overview

Innocent Volume 1 GN

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Innocent Volume 1 GN

Credits

  • Words: Shawn Granger
  • Art: Jennifer Adante, Nando, Mannie Abeleda, Daniel Vera, and Daniel Zeta
  • Inks: Jennifer Adante, Nando, Mannie Abeleda, Daniel Vera, and Daniel Zeta
  • Colors: N/a
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: King Tractor Press
  • Price: $14.95

King Tractor Press, the promising new publisher headed by Shawn Granger who debuted last year with the unforgettable Family Bones, has shimmied on over to the world of online serialization, and its new flagship title in this new trailblazing format, Innocent, now sees its first hardcopy collection, a thick and satisfying GN that follows the misadventures of the oddest pair of demon hunters you ever did see.

Innocent—the title lead—is a holy angel, self-proclaimed as being not fallen, nor cast out,  but regardless, here on Earth and on a mission.  Several, in fact.  Charged with finding evil wherever it roosts and dispensing sword-of-fire justice to those who harbor it, Innocent is what you might call a heavenly bounty hunter, or perhaps more a black ops sleeper agent, his call to battle always sudden, the details never known, not even to himself, until he sees the enemy, at which point knowledge is divinely bestowed.  And though humanity is unanimously involved in the “evil” Innocent hunts, said evil often takes shape as some monstrous, demonic manifestation of Clash of the Titans magnitude.  Partnered then with a compulsive serial killer named David, whose impulses are channeled to the cause of “good” a la Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Innocent the GN proves to be a very peculiar, surprisingly old-school ongoing adventure.

Volume 1 is divided into five chapters, each with a different artist of varying style and aptitude, the main characters thus reinvented visually for each new installment, and so the experience of Innocent, in graphic novel form, becomes yet further disjoint.  The saving grace however is that all chapters prove entirely episodic, stand-alone and therefore allowed a certain berth of artistic range between them.  The one consistent element of the book is Shawn Granger’s script, boasting his signature flavor of near-vaudevillian humor, unobtrusive dialogue, and leisurely plot pace.  The book, for all its page count, is a one-sit read, though its contents are well worth the price, if obviously the time.

For in juxtaposition to its sparse textual content, Innocent actually contains some of the most unexpectedly complex short story threads I’ve yet to encounter in pulp-derived comics.  Opening with a twisty tale of revenge and police corruption, a story which has Innocent and David play little more than sideline roles (and which also manages to be the sole supernatural-free selection), to an action-packed battle with a demon-directed cult (who gain their power in the most…Animal House of ways), to a blackly humorous visit to David’s mother’s house, to an awfully good, old-fashioned haunted house/ghost story culminating in a drawn-out battle against a giant-sized demon, a sequence reminiscent of Walter Simonson’s Thor vs. The Midgard Serpent all-splash masterpiece, to a final story that, clever  Mr. Granger, ends the GN on a “Part 1,” the conclusion then necessary to be found online, or in the following, future Volume 2 (and this “Part 1” offers up yet another epic battle worthy of the Walt, though this with artistic flourishes that bespeak [be-view?] Kevin O’Neil’s Nemesis the Warlock).

All in all a wild, unforeseen and honestly unforgettable gem of a book, lots of classic trappings, none of them used in ways expected, all wrapped inside a somewhat Golden Age execution, a little EC Horror, a little pre-superhero pulp adventure, and a lot of mid-80’s black-and-white indie zaniness.  If that isn't enough, the hardcopy graphic novel will also boast 44+ pages of brand new material that will never be posted online, exclusive to the GN alone.  Of course, don’t let me do all the talking: the joy of trying to decide on committing to an online serialized comic?  Go and read it and find out for yourself!  Then you can even buy it right now from Amazon (or preorder it through Diamond Distributors with order code NOV073695)!  Then come back and tell me how right I am (no, come on, do it, it’ll be a new experience for me).

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