Jeff Lemire (Tales From Essex County) brings us a new tale of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man in his latest graphic novel, which was recently released in a hardcover edition from DC's Vertigo line. The book takes place in the small American town of Large Mouth, where everybody knows everybody and gossip runs rampant at the smallest scrap of scandal. So, of course, when Mr. Griffen arrives in town, wrapped completely in bandages, it throws the entire town into a tizzy, speculating on his story, whether it be some horrifying accident or to keep his identity under wraps so authorities won't locate him. After long, Griffen begins to blend into the background noise of the town and befriends a local girl, Vickie, who's taken an interest in him, until it becomes harder and harder for him to keep his secret from the locals and things slowly spiral out of control.
I really enjoy Jeff Lemire's art on this book, cartoony and detailed, and a nice fit to paint a picture of this small town with a strange outsider. Especially beautiful are Lemire's dream sequences and the quiet scenes of Griffen walking through the woods. Lemire plays around with the idea of invisibility, both physically and socially, coming up with some really interesting insights, and uses the character of The Invisible Man to paint some pretty amazing scenes within his panels. Overall, this was a really enjoyable, if not brisk, read. One thing that I really didn't care for however, was the note it went out on. Throughout the story, Griffen develops this nice relationship with Vickie that culminates into a pretty brutal climax with the locals. After things go down, Vickie just kind of steps back, like the relationship meant nothing to her. It was just "that wacky year when Griffen came to town," as opposed to being horrified by the acts of the townspeople and how Griffen was taken from her life. She was so passive about it all that it was downright bothersome to me, especially after all of the fighting she'd done for his sake over the course of the book. At the end of the day, though, I really did just enjoy reading this novel and pouring over some nice artwork.