Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs

For those readers that are familiar with the Mercy Thompson universe, this new graphic novel published by Del Rey and Ballantine books will be a wonderful glimpse at Mercy's first appearance in the Tri-Cities area between Oregon and Washington State.

For the rest of you newbies, well, let me introduce you to Mercedes 'Mercy' Thompson, VW mechanic, a single, hard-working, smart mouthed young woman that also happens to be, not a werewolf, but something else entirely. She is a skinwalker, a genetic gift from her dead father, spending the major part of her life working at Zee's garage, and the rest of the time, when she chooses, as a coyote. Her change is not ruled by moon phase--it simply happens at will, when she needs it.

This graphic novel is illustrated by two prominent artists in the comic illustration community, Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo, who both have drawn and designed artwork for Marvel Comics, Dabel Brothers, and Dark Horse comics. The story is co-authored by David Lawrence, a script writer for Dabel Brothers Publishing; author Patricia Briggs has an extensive bibliography, having written the first four books in her bestselling Mercy Thompson series, as well as more than a dozen novels and short stories in other fantastical settings.

As the story begins, Mercy goes out for a nighttime run in her coyote form, and returns to her car only to be attacked by a group of strange werewolves--who are then driven off by another set of the same--both then vanish into the night, leaving her breathless and confused.

In the next few days she turns down a job offer as a history teacher when it becomes apparent she will not be doing much teaching, and ends up getting her VW Rabbit fixed by a 10 year old kid at Zee's Foreign Car and VW Repair--and gets a new job offer as a mechanic. Then the whole situation really begins to spark as kidnapping attempts are made by the rogue wolves, the local 'legitimate' pack Alpha tries to warn Mercy back to Portland and her mother's house; suddenly she is caught up in the middle of a vicious werewolf gang war . . .

But Mercy makes new friends: Stefan, a vampire who drives a Scoobee Doo Volkswagen bus, Zee, a metal smith Fae (commonly known as Gremlin), and Adam Hauptman, the Alpha werewolf pack leader that keeps showing up just when she needs to let loose with a smart remark.

The gang war intensifies, and blood is spilt, human hostages are taken, and a showdown between the rogue Alpha and Adam is inevitable. It is a gory and explosive event. Mercy comes through it all with few injuries, remaining independent, alone--but makes her peace with herself and Adam as the story ends.

The illustrations are brilliantly colored, lovingly drawn--the contrast between the two artists' styles is intriguing and provocative. Many characters, especially Stefan, Mercy and Zee, were almost identical to my own mental image of them.

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming truly represents the gritty urban fantasy genre that we, as enthusiastic readers, have come to know and love.

Enjoy browsing the VBPL catalog for this terrific graphic novel.

1 comment:

Cleo said...

I think I will have to check out some titles by Patricia Briggs. Thank-you for this excellent review. I've just started reading graphic novels, and I've been looking for ones with strong female leads. :)