01/06/2012. Contributed by Andy Whitaker
pub:Arcana Comics. 82 page graphic novel/pdf file. Price: $14.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-897548-42-4.
check out website: www.arcanacomics.com
‘ The Fix’ is a story is about undercover policeman Victor Campbell who meets with the ‘ Fixer’ a huge muscle-bound vigilante who has been getting rid of drug dealers using extreme violence. Victor is shocked to learn that the Fixer is none other than Kent Downing, a fellow SWAT officer presumed dead for over five years. During those five years, Kent has been using a new illegal drug, hyperdrenaline, to transform into the Fixer giving him abnormal strength and immunity to pain.
This graphic novel was written by Jeff Aden with art by Bryce Lee, John Lee did the letters and Tony Parker did the covers. This is where I have my first gripe as the character on the front cover bears only a passing resemblance to the ‘ Fixer’ character inside the novel. Generally speaking, it is the front cover that first grabs your attention. For the remainder of the novel to be delivered in a different style leaves me feeling slightly cheated. I suppose this is bound to happen when you use a different artist for the cover.
My second gripe is the style used for the artwork. Many of the characters and their faces, in particular, appear badly drawn. I realise that this is intended to be a hard-hitting violent novel but the artwork lets it down in places. It is certainly not of the quality I have come to expect from Arcana.
On the plus side, this is a good strong original story and kept my interest from start to finish. Kent Downing re-tells his story to Victor Campbell and these are depicted as a series of flashbacks in the novel. As could be expected five years of heavy drug usage have not been kind to Kent and he is very much worse-for-wear. He has also been out-smarted by the drug dealer responsible for the creation of hyperdrenaline and needs Victor’s help. He just does not know what form that help should take.
I do however have one quibble with the story as the blurb on the back cover says, ‘ Victor is now forced to make a choice on which drug, and which ‘ fix’, is worse.’ This is probably the weakest section of the story and could have done with a bit more text to indicate why Victor made the choice he did. At the moment, it’s summed up in two sentences made up with a total of eight words. You will have to pay attention to spot it. As per usual there is an open ending, so there could be follow-on novels. This, however, does not detract from this novel, which is complete and standalone. Personally, I liked the story but not the artwork and, as it is such a major component of a graphic novel, I would probably have left this one on the shelf.
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