Sand + Bone Comic Book Review
Sand + Bone Review
Written by J.T. Krul
Art by Andrea Mutti
Colors by Vladimir Popov
Layout and lettering by Challenging Studios
Cover by Dennis Calero
Co-published by Paperfilms and Adaptive Comics
Sand + Bone is the latest comic book from the fine folks at Adaptive Comics and, I assume, is going to be the first of several stories dealing with former Iraq War veteran Sean Hitcher and his search for the truth about what, precisely, happened him in the war zone. By the end of the book, we know what the result of that incident is, a terrifying transformation. But what led to it?
At first, Blood + Bone is a story about an ex-soldier trying to deal with life after being in a war zone. Hitcher has returned to Clarksdale, a small Midwestern town, and he’s basically all alone. He has no family, no friends, and just drinks, smokes, takes pills, and has nightmares that keep him awake at night. Part of those issues stem from the shell shock he received in the war zone. Hitcher also has relationship problems that came out of his leaving town to join the military when his parents died. Hitcher did have a girlfriend, Hannah, who works at a local drug store (she’s a pharmacist). As a result of Hitcher leaving town, she married Eric Hamilton, a local rival, and had a son. Hannah is divorced when the story begins.
Now, that sounds like quite the set-up for a domestic drama that deals with ongoing, modern, real world issues. When Hitcher’s nightmares become a larger part of the story, a sort of supernatural element enters the picture and instead of a domestic drama we have a gigantic, world spanning mystery. Because what the heck happened in Iraq? The book ends with that question instead of answering it, which is why I assume that the plan is to have many more Sand + Bone books in the future.
I’m game for more. Many more. Because I want to know what the heck really happened in Iraq to Sean Hitcher. Were there others that experienced something similar? I want to know.
On first reading, the supernatural element is jarring and feels forced because it doesn’t seem to fit in with Hitcher’s personal problems and his shell shock sickness. It almost seems like the supernatural was brought in because the prospect of reading a book about a real world issue like shell shock and how people and society deal with it is depressing. If there’s “something else” going on, at least then Sand + Bone will be a “real” comic book. But then after reading it a second time and thinking about it, the supernatural shift works exceptionally well and helps set up a potentially larger story. And once you realize that you’ll be okay with the shift and want more. It’s what happened to me.
The artwork by Andrea Mutti is appropriately dark and mysterious when it needs to be and kind of mundane when it’s all about the “real” world parts of the story. It all meshes together nicely at the end and works. And the script by J.T. Krul is paced well and lays out the mystery just enough to make you want more. The cover, by Dennis Calero, is a little bland and is my only real issue with the book (there should be a little more action on the cover, or at least a soldier in silhouette or something like that. The sandy rock that appears isn’t thrilling enough). The color scheme of the cover works, though.
Sand + Bone is a must read for comic book nerds who like horror and mystery mixed in with an exploration of real world issues. I can’t wait to see more of the world Sean Hitcher finds himself in. Hopefully, you will, too.
Check out Sand + Bone. It’s worth buying and reading. The book will be available at Barnes and Noble starting April 18th, 2017.
Read Sand + Bone. Read it, read it, read it.
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