Monday, June 7, 2010

Read it: Turf

Turf is yet another example of how important a book’s cover art can be. I saw issue one sitting on the shelf, in all it’s edgy pulp glory, and knew I had to check it out.

The story is set in Manhattan during the 1920’s. Prohibition is in full swing and a plucky journalist finds herself out to grab the big story as rival gangs fight for control of the city. Political figures rub elbows with mob bosses in late night speakeasys as the police do all they can to stop the hooch from making its rounds.

To make matters more interesting, a clan of vampires has moved into town and a power struggle within the family could lead to Manhattan becoming the first city on American soil to fall to the bloodsuckers in their own quest for ever-expanding turf.

Taking things a step further, a spaceship belonging to intergalactic rum runners (I kid you not) has just crash landed outside of the city.

I know this all sounds like a mess of ideas crammed together but, so help me, it works very well. Writer Jonathan Ross tells the story straight so, as ridiculous as the premise is; the nature of the tale is stone cold sober.

The characters are well realized and many of the scenes are so well written you forget we’re dealing with mobsters, vampires and aliens all in the same go.

Take a look at any single page from the first issue of Turf and you will quickly notice just how verbose this book is. The characters have a lot to say and captions help fill in some of the backstory and detail along the way. While a couple monologues go on too long, explain too much or even repeat themselves, the vast majority of the book makes for a very solid read.

Ross set out to give readers some added bang for their buck and has accomplished exactly that. Though I hate to see the art suffer from a few too many over-crowded panels, Turf provides a very meaty read with content worth your time and attention.

Speaking of the art, Tommy Lee Edwards absolutely astounds with these pages. Every panel is striking, gritty, and drips with pulp flavor. The coloring, too, is top shelf work. Despite smaller panels and loads of word bubbles, the art team manages to squeeze in plenty of pretty things to stare at, making this one of the best looking books on the market.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with issue one of Turf and can’t wait to return to this multi-layered, epic power struggle. I highly recommend checking it out.

No comments: