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Review – Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #7 (of 7) (IDW Publishing)

Wraith07_cvrPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Charles P. Wilson III
Release Date: 11th June 2014

We’re done with all the blood and guts and perverts, murderous kids and scissors and balloons and that creepy bastard of a moon. Forget about the shady narwhals and bloody mammoths, it’s time to settle down with an epilogue. It’s a nice change of scene from that Christmasland nightmare and an interesting change of pace.

The ‘Phantoms’ epilogue to Wraith is much closer to a short story; a work of prose fiction accompanied by some excellent illustrations. With no panels, the book has a unique lay out which you must take a look at next time you’re browsing. The art compliments the prose in many ways. For one, it frees the story from being bogged down with descriptions. It also allows the narrator to hint at some things and completely miss out others. The art shows us what the narrator doesn’t want to tell us; something that was used to great effect in the first issue of this unique series.

Using a second person perspective narrative gives the story a very conversational tone. This perspective has a nice effect especially when things get dark and a bit weird. Spanning decades, it places you into the life of a less than common conman. Starting as a young man, you can sympathise with what he’s going through and understand the decisions he makes. This gets harder as he grows older; sentences beginning, ‘you do this’ or ‘you do that’ suddenly start to feel a bit wrong. How any of this links into the bloodbath we’ve just witnessed – you’ll need to find out for yourself.

It’s been a wild and crazy ride with Manx. That Rolls Royce of his has taken us from a nasty reality into a fantastical nightmare. When words and art work this well together, it’s storytelling at its finest.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: James McQueen
You can also find James on Twitter.

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