Comic Stack 04/05/2016 – Hexed: The Harlot & The Thief Vol. 2 by Michael Alan Nelson, Dan Mora (Illustrations)
A review copy of this book was provided to me by Boom! Studios in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Leading Ladies
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Tiara’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Last year, Mogsy and I did a double review of Michael Alan Nelson’s Hexed novel and the first graphic novel. I’ve since gone on to read Hexed: The Harlot & The Thief Vol 1, and when the opportunity presented itself to review this book, I jumped on it without hesitation.
Following the destruction of her mentor’s galley and some of the city, Lucifer (Luci Jennifer Inagcio Das Neves), supernatural thief extraordinaire, finds herself the target of Cymbaline, the last remaining sister from the sibling fight that resulted in the aforementioned destruction. Cymbaline wants Lucifer to join her and promises her the one thing she wants the most. Lucifer must decide which decision is the lesser of two evils, and deal with the fallout of her choices.
I don’t think I can praise this series enough. Nelson continues to deliver a story that’s engaging. It’s gritty, funny, dark, and action packed. I love this type of supernatural fiction that incorporates theistic elements, and this book continues to use that theme in ways that keep me wanting more. Just when you think Lucifer can’t get any more awesome she’s pushed to a new limit in each installment, and we really get a taste of what she’s capable of in this. Sometimes, I talk about how I enjoy heroines who don’t become overpowered in stories such as these. It can kill the story when they suddenly have all these godlike (or should I say demon-like in this case?) powers, but I have to admit that it is so much fun reading about Lucifer kicking all kinds of ass and using magic that she probably shouldn’t be messing with. It’s such a rush, and I can’t begrudge this series for that. However, I think it’s the way that these feats are tempered that make me accept this as well. Lucifer isn’t suddenly devouring everything in her path with strong magic. There are consequences for her decisions; there are dire consequences for using such strong magic.
Another thing I love about this book is the relationship between the women. This book touched so beautifully on Val and Lucifer’s relationship. They are employer and employee, but they don’t even try to keep that façade up. I remarked in my first review that this relationship is a beautiful portrayal of two women who love each other and would do anything for one another. These books have continued to build on that love they have for one another while showing that a love this strong can endure even the pain it sometimes bring. Their relationship, their commitment to doing whatever needs to be done to keep the other safe, continues to be one of my favorite parts of this book. I love when writers do more with female relationships aside from showing how catty and rude they believe women are to one another–not that there isn’t some of that in this book, too. It’s especially beautiful to see it in visual media where emotions can be conveyed through the art. On that note, I also enjoy Lucifer’s sisterly relationship with the young necromancer, Raina. It may fall in the typical category of being a relationship that’s lovingly scathing, but toward the end of the novel, it is very clear that these two women care for each other deeply, as well. It may not quite have the strength of Val and Lucifer’s relationship, but it’s showing potential to be a great friendship.
I’ve enjoyed the art in these past two volumes a bit more than in Hexed, but all the books have been visual candy. I loved Emma Rios’ work for the original book (she did the beautiful cover for this book too), but Dan Mora’s style really fits the story so perfectly. The sleekness of the art moves from panel to panel and really captures both the action and the more poignant panels well. Emma Rios’ angel wings panel left me breathless in Hexed, but Dan Mora’s action scenes leave me equally in awe, especially toward the end of the comic. And my goodness, that ending paired with Mora’s art? I’m floored.
This series continues to amaze me. When I think I have the story all figured out, Nelson throws in something that I wasn’t expecting. He’s set up so many interesting threads and after the events in this volume, which had such devastating consequences, I can’t wait to see where Lucifer’s story goes.