District 14: Season 2

By Gabus & ReutimannDistrict 14_2
Publisher: Humanoids
ISBN: 9781594650598

This is the second of three reviews about current graphic novels featuring an anthropomorphic cast of characters, and this particular book is the second in its series (for Season 1 see my review here) – and I love it. The first book is easily in my top five reads of 2014 and, to be fair, I’ve read a fair few books these past twelve months.

So, what is it all about? Well, the basic premise is that it once was a human world but for some as of yet unexplained reason animals have been able to take on human attributes (some later choose to revert back to their previous states) and live side by side with humans throughout the world. To make matters even more interesting, a large population of aliens crash-landed on Earth in the recent past and they too have become integrated into everyday life, although they, rather than the humanoid animals seem to bear the brunt of mistrust and bigotry. The story takes place in and and around a metropolis of soaring skyscrapers, cable cars, flying saucers, organised crime, hard-nosed journalists and one particular superhero. It’s a fascinating blend of genres, but it works so beautifully because it’s given a 1950s noir setting and is illustrated using a black and white style with Letratone that evokes something that Walt Disney may have drawn in a darker moment.

But all of that is window dressing. What really makes it special is the excellently written cast of characters and how they try to live in such a place, each with their own tragedies to contend with and often digging themselves into deeper trouble. At the centre of it all is Michael, an elephant attempting to build a new life for himself but who is slowly being disfigured due to ingesting something unpleasant that only a specific plant can keep at bay. And around Michael many other characters circulate and cross paths, from his reporter friend Hector, the voluptuous Vanita and the alien neighbour Mr Tuxolpzzp; and then beyond them there are prisoner of the superhero Tigerman, and the nefarious Krapal, to name but a few. Each have their own problems to deal with and sometimes their lives interact, be it directly or indirectly.

The writing is tight and full of tension, and the artwork compliments it wonderfully, making the whole a truly unique package. I’m completely and utterly sold on it, captivated by the idea of it and on the edge of my seat as to where it will take us next. Roll on Season 3.

And if you liked that: Get on over to the Humanoids website and check it out for yourself

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