Dynamite is the home of urban fantasy authors putting their pens to comics, with Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris both making regular contributions. Hopcross Jilly marks another foray into sequential art for supernatural romance scribe Patricia Briggs with an all-new, canonical story. The events occur between the latest two novels (Frost Burned and Night Broken) and just after the events in Dead Heart (Alpha and Omega # 4). Mercy Thompson, mechanic, shape-shifting coyote and honorary member of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack, has her work cut out for her after discovering a series of cold case murders and sparking a murder mystery, magical whodunit.
Briggs is one of the more affluent voices of the quagmire of supernatural romance stories, and she demonstrates her flair for the written word in abundance. But she’s a novelist first and foremost and it shows. Block text and bloated speech blot the page, often negating the art and reading like a rearranged novel rather than a comic. Co-writer Rik Hoskin could have reigned it in a bit for greater effect.
Artist Tom Garcia complimented the lilt of 2013’s Hellraiser: The Dark Watch, but his work here seems lacking and lost amongst many similar artists on Dynamite’s payroll. But he does pay attention to the gothic tropes of the story and peppers it with just the right amount of shadows, fangs and red eyes.
The high school setting is a well tapped setting that’s long since dried, and it’s no different here. Mercy’s stepdaughter Jesse is bullied because her werewolf father Adam has gone public. It isn’t until she’s at the mall, at home or in the car wash (you’ll have to read it) that she’s suddenly a character worth caring about.
With pleasing pop culture references, an intriguing domestic setting and fun use of magic, it makes up for the more archetypical characters and predictable plot turns. It has the strength of the novels on its side and the art brings Brigg’s beloved characters alive, so fans will delight. Everyone else can do better for horror or family drama, but it’s not a bad read to pass the time.
INFO: PATRICIA BRIGGS’ MERCY THOMPSON: HOPCROSS JILLY / WRITER: PATRICIA BRIGGS, RIK HOSKIN / ARTIST: TOM GARCIA / PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 30TH