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August 26, 2012
 

Dark Horse Reviews: Riven -Tpb

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Written by: Billy
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Riven -Tpb
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writers: Bo Hampton & Robert Tinnell
Artist: Bo Hampton

Let’s be honest for a moment. There are more horror books on the shelves these days than cockroaches in a sleazy part of a city. And most of those are zombie books, but every once in a while there is a diamond amongst the rough. The book that has had quite a few people buzzing since May/June of this year, is simply called Riven. The first chapter was about a girl that was born to a young European couple, and put up for adoption immediately.  She then gets adopted by an American family, but upon getting to America, the girl falls prey to some strange affliction that puts her in a coma. Ten years later, she wakes up and is trying to fit in with a society that has moved on without her. Katy, or “Katya” as she’s called in her homeland, wakes up and the scientific community is baffled. Somehow, she has not only awakened, but also seems to be physically maturing and recovering faster than humanly possible.

The second chapter gets more in depth with her recovery, both mentally and physically. Again, physically she’s off the charts, but mentally she’s having very graphic nightmares. Katy is having vivid dreams that involve a blood-thirsty werewolf, and it’s tearing people apart. Her best friend, Meg, has been trying to help her out by introducing her to the local bar scene. Katy actually did meet a guy that seems perfect for her, but he seems to be puzzled by her latest dream. She tells him and Meg that she dreamed that she saw a werewolf attack and slaughter three people, and when it looked in a mirror, it was her own face. They don’t believe her at first, but then she does some strange things, like hooking up with a mysterious dude in the alleyway outside the bar. Her body seems to be going through some changes, but she doesn’t quite understand them, only that these visions seem more and more real every time she has them. Are they real, or is it just her fractured mind?

The subsequent chapters show more and more of the same, until Katy realizes that these dreams are not dreams at all, but real life scenarios where she sees the act as it happens. Who is the killer? Is Katy’s past at the orphanage going to play into all this? Many questions arise, but this book pays off on all of them. A showdown at the end, along with a tease, and you have the best werewolf book on the shelves!

There’s a feeling that from the very beginning of this book, something sinister is going to happen, but you’ll be surprised by the psychological angle this book takes. The book shows Katy at different times in her life, but focuses mainly on her teenage years (the present). We see a sweet young girl that is battling a condition that seems to be overtaking her mind, and possibly her body, as well. Hampton and Tinnell work some very cool magic in this book, and you’d be remiss to not pick this up!

Hampton, who pulls double duty (writing and artwork), does a fine job with this book. He uses a dark and muted style to convey the tone of the book quite well. Most parts of the book are  rather sinister, so it fits perfectly. In one panel he makes Katy seem as innocent as a mouse, then one or two short panels later, she looks devious and ready to pounce like a lion on the hunt.

The book is on shelves now, so get out there and get it while you can. I”m sure it won’t last long once the word gets out! Dark Horse and the creative team really out did themselves on this one! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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