May 04, 2017

Thursday Review: SPILL ZONE by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

Synopsis: If you've ever read Scott Westerfeld's early trilogy The Midnighters, you'll know he does scary really, really well. And actually, he does various kinds of scary really well. Spill Zone seems to collect all those different kinds of scary in one graphic novel (which is only Vol. 1, by the way) designed, apparently, to give me nightmares: Creepy talking doll. Creepy NOT-talking kid. Radioactive-mutant-nano-infected monsters. Floating human meat puppets (which sent me off into a temporary YouTube black hole). Oh, and mysteriously plotting North Koreans.

The Spill Zone is what is left of Poughkeepsie, New York after a bizarre accident has left the town a no-go zone of horrors. But the Spill Zone is also how Addison makes her living, selling anonymous photos of the zone's peculiarities to discerning art collectors so she can support herself and her little sister Lexa. The most important rule she follows is: never step off her motorbike. The day she does leave the safety of her bike…is the day things get REALLY weird.

Observations: This is a suspenseful, edgy post-apocalyptic adventure from an accomplished storyteller in the genre—and I was pleased to see that Westerfeld's ability to convey a truly creepy atmosphere also applies to the graphic novel format. The partnership with artist Alex Puvilland (who is married to the incomparable LeUyen Pham, BTW) is a good one: the art has this scratchy, crackly quality that fits well with the tone of the story, and the important details are highlighted with clarity and simplicity.


Conclusion: The plot of this one is gripping, and I can hardly wait for the next installment (talk about a cliffhanger ending).

SPILL ZONE just came out this week! I received my copy of this book courtesy of the publisher, First Second. You can find SPILL ZONE by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

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