"Green River Killer: A True Detective Story" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Jensen
Illustrated by Jonathan Case
2011, 240 Pages
Graphic Novel Released on September 20th, 2011
There have been several memorable serial killers over the course of American history. The Green River Killer was one that I was unfamiliar with. For a span in the mid-80s, he was responsible for the murder of at least 48 women in the Seattle area. Author Jeff Jensen's father, Thomas, was the main detective assigned to the case. Jensen tells this story in a series of flashbacks after the cops have caught Gary Ridgeway, whom they believe to be the killer.
Crime dramas are a genre that I've liked, but rarely loved. I quickly found myself sucked in to The Green River Killer, though. Jensen reveals bits and pieces of the history and throughout it all I'm not sure if Ridgeway is really the murderer or not. I stopped myself from looking up the information online and instead immersed myself within the story because I wanted to come at this fresh. It wasn't hard to do so as it is incredibly riveting.
Throughout the whole book, Thomas Jensen struggles. The case has become personal to him and he remembers each one of the women that was murdered. This makes him intensely frustrated when Ridgeway seemingly forgets important details of the killings. Sure, these things happened twenty years ago, but to Jensen they're fresh in his mind as he's lived with them every single day. You'd think that Ridgeway would have at least remembered where he buried all the bodies.
Jonathan Case's art is subtle and unobtrusive. The entire book is presented in black and white with the same style throughout, even with the flashbacks. Case lets Jeff Jensen's story control everything while his art is used to help move it along here and there. The pencils themselves are nothing to write home about, but it's clear that Case knows how to complement an author well.
The Green River Killer: A True Detective Story is engrossing. I had a tough time putting it down because I just had to know how the case turned out. Did Ridgeway go down for all of the murders? How many more bodies were found? The story and its presentation reminded me a lot of David Fincher's Zodiac. This could easily be turned into a similar movie if handled with the care and diligence that author Jeff Jensen has shown here.
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