Book Review: Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit by Steve Niles and Scott Morse


Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit, written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Scott Morse, is a graphic novel set for release today, September 12 2012. This is a single volume of the Criminal Macabre graphic novel series by the acclaimed author of the 30 Days of Night graphic novels. Cal McDonald is a hunter of all things paranormal, even though he is not exactly human himself, anymore. In this over-sized board book, which measures 9 x 12 with rounded corners, Cal is approached by an elderly man, who just happens to be a retired Captain in the military. He leads Cal to his greatest failure as a commander, and seeks help in setting things right with the souls of the soldiers.

The Iron Spirit is a short, and graphically experimental, graphic novel. I wish that I had been able to hold the real, over-sized hardcover in my hands rather that looking at the artwork on a screen, because I was reading an electronic galley from NetGalley. I think the paper copy must be amazing. I loved the layered look to the images and how the characters were sketched but somehow their personalities and lives seemed evident in each image.  After the story comes to an end, i greatly enjoyed seeing how the artwork was created and the thought process behind the story.

I recommend The Iron Spirit to fans of Steve Niles and Scott Morse, particularly those that already know the basics of the Criminal Macabre series. Those that pick up this graphic novel without knowing any of the larger picture, or the kind of story they are diving into my be confused or disappointed.
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