"Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson: Volume One - Moon Called " Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Patricia Briggs & David Lawrence
Illustrated by Amelia Woo
2011, 128 Pages
Trade Paperback Released on March 8th, 2011
There seems to have been a big push over at Dynamite Entertainment lately with a lot of licensed comics. These are books that are based on previous works whether their novels, TV shows, or movies rather than original characters. This can work extremely well (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer) or it can fall flat (e.g. Most comic book adaptations of movies). Dynamite has been picking up a variety of licenses over the past year or so, some of which appear to be aimed at new readers who might not be checking out comics. The latest of these is Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs.
Already a hit series of novels, Mercy Thompson follows the title character, a being who can turn into a coyote as she walks a thin line between wanting to be left alone and dealing with the local gang of werewolves. When a new lycanthrope rolls into town followed by a whole mess of trouble, Mercy tries to help him out, but ends up getting involved in a big werewolf power struggle.
This doesn't seem like a bad story, but there's just not a lot of substance to it. The action is minimal with more time spent on Mercy's past love life than the werewolf battles. This is due to the initial target audience which is probably not me. I haven't read the novels that this is based on, but I certainly hope more happens in it. Granted, this kind of stuff might be what the books are about.
Mercy as a character is rather boring. I expected a powerful woman who took charge of her situation, but when she's not pigging out on chocolate with a girlfriend, she's deferring to the male characters or going to them for help. She does this repeatedly and it gets old fast. It's hard to identify or sympathize with a main character that's a supporting player in her own life.
Amelia Woo's art is passable, but she commits a comic sin that I have grown to loathe lately by slacking off on the backgrounds. Most of the panels feature scenery that is computer generated and in a completely different style than Woo's art. I've heard of some artists going into great detail about their 3D rendering, but this looks like a very basic background worked up for a few panels without much effort put it. There have been a few occasions where this looks good, but they are few and far between. This is a real shame too because the character and creature pencils aren't bad. The backgrounds just distract from them.
I admire what Dynamite Entertainment is trying to do by branching into stories that might expose comics to a new audience, but some books don't make the transition to comics well. I have my doubts about Mercy Thompson. While I didn't enjoy the book all that much, a fan of the novel series might eat this up.