Trimming the collection: nobody

nobody by Alex Amado, Sharon Cho and Charlie Adlard

nobody is a very good comic book. It is well written, tells the story well visually and has an interesting hook. However, it does not reach the level of must-have or essential reading that my Trimming the Collection rules require.

The story is intriguing: combining hard-boiled with demonology, Jessica Drake is nobody, a sort of freelance agent in the world of demons, magic and the spiritual. She is given assignments by a shadowy contact, and is helped by Marcus, confidant and computer person. Apart from being a tough, feisty, driven, morally centred woman, Jessica also has the ability to morph her face into the image of a person she has seen.

The story joins her as she prevents some silly, rich white men from performing a ritual to conjure the dark lord himself. However, the young man to be sacrificed dies in the process. To save his soul, she blesses him before he passes away, which causes consequences that follow her throughout the rest of the book. Meanwhile, one of the silly white men who escaped has started killing young children under the orders of the devil, who wants payback for failure of the original ritual, and who brutally slayed his wife and child. Jessica catches up with him in New Orleans, the place she grew up, but things don’t go as smoothly as she hoped.

The story has many positives. Jessica is a strong and multi-faceted female character. The art, by Adlard, is earthy, able to convey the reality of the streets but also the otherworldliness of the occult. The mixing of hard-boiled and occult is a good combination – I’m reminded of the film Fallen, which mixed the police procedural with the occult. They both have a bit of bleak ending (the film moreso than this book) which, although appropriate, doesn’t leave you wanting more. Also, by having Lucifer as your nemesis, there is a limit to the scope of your story and the extent of the villainy: you can’t get worse than Satan himself, and he will never be destroyed, so what’s the point? A good, well-crafted book but without the magic sparkle of something, be it dialogue or a certain stand-out quality, to elevate it permanent collection status.

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