NOVEMBER VOL 1. : THE GIRL ON THE ROOF
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Kurt Ankeny
November seems to take inspiration from Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello with a pinch of Warren Ellis. The story itself is comprised of short interconnected stories following three different women on the same night in the same city. The structure very much reminds me of the "yarns" that make up Frank Miller's Sin City and the setup with seemingly the main character, Dee feels reminiscent of Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets(which was already heavily influenced by Sin City) Dizzy, as she's approached by a mysterious agent with an offer that seems too good to be true. The other two stories are much shorter and it's hard to judge exactly how they involve Dee from just this first hardcover.
For me the overall approach didn't quite work, while I was initially intrigued by the dialogue and setup between Dee and Mr. Mann, some of the dialogue in the scenes in Dee's story and the other's starts getting fairly abstract, which is where we get the dash of Warren Ellis, and it gets a bit hard to follow or at least it gets a bit harder to get invested when I don't even really get what's going on. You might be thinking, well it'll get cleared up in the following volumes right? That may be true but given how short the hardcover is for three stories, the approach might not help get the reader hooked and want to check out the second volume and third volumes. And I may change my mind with those volumes but for now, it didn't quite work for me.
The art is gorgeous, it really reminds me of something we would have seen in the 90's and early 00's from Vertigo. Charretier, Hollingsworth, and Ankeny do a fantastic job. The art style and character designs are perfect for the crime/crime noir vibe for the book, reminds me of a ton of other artists from some of my favorite book (Darwyn Cooke/Chris Samne/etc). The only complaint I have and I may give it a pass as it might be intentional, is that we get to see Mr. Mann in flashbacks in presumably the moments that lead him to becoming the mysterious agent we see in the main story. I say presumably because the art style is a bit more simplified, and so I could see readers being confused as to whether or not that is supposed to be a younger version of him or might think it's a completely different character. I do really like that each story seems to have its own color palette and slight tweak in style and really help sell the particular story's tone. I particularly liked the second story of a woman finding a gun in a puddle as it takes place outdoors at night and I really liked Hollingsworth's use of dark shades of blue and black to really sell the atmosphere.
Overall, I would recommend this book, especially if you are a big fan of Matt Fraction and might be interested in crime fiction comics. This may work really well to be a gateway to people checking out some of the books I mentioned in the genre. I hope the second volume gives us some more character development and given that it's Matt Fraction, I wouldn't be surprised if he nails it.