I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got two new comics plus a graphic novel:

  • Flashpoint – 2
  • Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint – 1
  • “Love From The Shadows”
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Finder: Voice” by Carla Speed McNeil

    This is the first “Finder” graphic novel published by Dark Horse. Previously it has been published by McNeil’s own imprint “Lightspeed Press”. I hope this move gets “Finder” a larger audience because it is a really good comic. It usually finds its way to the top of my list of favorites when people ask me for such a list.

    It’s a little hard to describe “Finder” these days because the world it creates is so broad that summing it up in a sentence or two, or even a paragraph, is near impossible. It’s made even harder since the main character, Jaeger, who is the Finder after which the comic is named doesn’t always appear in all the stories anymore. The stage is very big. It’s generally described as a sci-fi comic but I think it defies even that description.

    This book is about one of the daughters of Jaeger’s girlfriend from the original “Finder” book. The daughter’s name is Rachel. The whole series takes place in a far off future that is only distantly related to ours. Their society is divided into clans who do specific and specialized jobs. Not everyone is in a clan but if you are then your life can be easier. Clan members have a defined place in society. And the definition is usually pretty good.

    “Voice” is the story of eighteen year old Rachel trying to win her place in a clan by competing in a sort-of beauty contest. Clans are based on ethnic background so looks, behavior, and politics are what get you in. Of course things don’t go smoothly and she has all sorts of conflict and strife trying to get in. Will she even get in? Does she really want to? Why does she really want to? Are there people working against her? Is there danger or is she putting herself in harm’s way? Lot’s of questions are being asked in the story.

    I really like this book a lot but I think people may miss a lot of what is going on if this is their first “Finder” story. One of my favorite things about McNeil’s work is the complex societies and cultures she creates to set the stories in. The clan’s all have behaviors, ideas, and expectations that their members uphold and that adds richness to the story but it’s not all immediately apparent to the new reader. McNeil does her best to explain things but you can’t explain nuance. I certainly wouldn’t want her to either but I wonder if a new reader would have trouble picking up on things. But then again McNeil writes an appendix in the back of the book, as she has in her other graphic novels, that explains some of her intentions and the background of what is going on in certain pages. That should make it easy for someone new to catch up on what has happened or is going on.

    I own a page of McNeil’s original art from a previous “Finder” story so that should tell you that I’m a fan of it. She is an excellent storyteller and cartoonist. She has a style that I’d place in the “Cartoon Realism” school. That’s a phrase I’ve read Dave Sim use to refer to Milton Caniff’s drawing style and though I’m not sure if McNeil has ever even seen any Caniff I think she falls into that drawing tree. Good stuff.

    Interesting characters, a complex world, nice drawing, nice storytelling, a good story, I could go on and on about “Finder” since it is a favorite but I’ll stop here. Go read some yourself.