Neither is True: Grand Passion by James Robinson

Grand Passion by James Robinson

Art by: Tom Feister
Colors by: Dave Curiel
Letters by: Simon Bowland

Published: September 6, 2017
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Crime
Format: Paperback
Length: 120 pages

Grand Passion doesn’t begin to live up to its title. Instead, it tells a small-scale story that ends up feeling a bit dull.

The main characters are a cop and a bank robber who (we’re told) fall in love at first sight. Really, though, they fall into bed together and then get caught up in a shootout.

Most of the story takes place in a handful of locations over a very short amount of time, and everything wraps up at the end in a neat little bow. Of course, the ending only gives one of the characters what they want. The other has to make do with pretending to be someone else for the rest of their life.

Not only do we not get to know these characters before their story ends, we’re asked to believe that they have such incredible sexual chemistry that they are willing to forgo a lot of baggage to be together. I didn’t believe it for one second.

To top it all off, an unseen character who speaks in a distracting country dialect narrates the entire story. The author lays it on so thick at times that I wasn’t always sure what the narrator was saying.

The art is decent enough, but the story is totally forgettable. Grand Passion is the sort of crime narrative that Ed Brubaker could pull off in his sleep, but the execution here is uninspired.


Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Net Galley.

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Just… Ugh: Irresistible by Gregory, Santacruz and Riesco

IrresistiblePublished: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Zenescope
Genre(s): Graphic Novel
Format: Paperback
Length: 148 pages

I’m honestly not sure what I was expecting when I requested a copy of Irresistible from Net Galley. Maybe I thought it would handle a clichéd male fantasy in an interesting way. After all, Y: The Last Man spun out a masterpiece with similar material. Unfortunately, I was sorely mistaken.

Irresistible tells the story of Allen Keeg, a whiny jerk who hasn’t had sex in a year and a half because his girlfriend broke up with him. After he whines about this for a few pages, he saves an old woman from muggers. When she asks how she can repay the favor – anything, really – he tells he her wishes all women found him desirable, because he’s a horny asshole at heart. Naturally she’s actually a secret witch, so her eyes glow when he walks away and she grants his wish.

The next day, a pretty barista surprises Allen in the bathroom and bangs his brains out. He seems to enjoy this, but his constant narration makes sure to remind us that his nightmare is only beginning – not because he feels guilty, mind you, but because it isn’t exactly what he wants. Every woman he meets – leggy, buxom model-types, of course – immediately jumps his bones… but the only woman he wants, his ex, won’t have him. Naturally he calls her and shows up at her house uninvited like a creepy stalker, but that doesn’t change her mind. Go figure.

The story only gets more unpleasant as it goes along. One of his conquests shows up at his apartment and starts cutting herself when he isn’t immediately happy to see her. Woman start fighting each other for his attention, and the sex starts happening against his will. Never mind that all the women he’s having sex with were brainwashed by a spell, of course. That’s consent, right? The climax of the story is entirely gruesome and only confirms that we’ve spent way too much time with a self-centered sexually obsessed sociopath.

This book misses the mark as a cautionary tale by a wide margin. The main character is a jerk from the start, the women are cartoonish sex-bots, and the resolution is both nasty and predictable. As for the art, it was competent but nothing special. It’s a rare book I hate so completely, but this one wins the prize.


Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Net Galley.

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