Sunday, 17 April 2011

Largo Winch Vol 8: Shadow review

I’d never read any of this series previous to this volume, so I did not know what to expect from this. Well, I did expect, going by the covers, to read some sort of rip roaring adventure series or something, which isn’t quite what it turned out to be.
Largo Winch is an international playboy millionaire character who gets into scrapes. And if this book is anything to go by, there scrapes are pretty dark and serious affairs and a million miles away from the romp I thought I was getting.
This volume starts with a pretty dense page of catch-up which I had to read a couple of times and then refer back to once or twice while reading the volume.
The story picks up with Winch is jail for the rape of an underage prostitute (you see- I told you it was serious stuff!) as another (I’m assuming here) major character has gone missing- presumed kidnapped.
I don’t want to get into the plot because I don’t do spoilers, but it is a complex and dense story that needs the reader to pay attention to it. My main problem was the character of Winch himself. As mentioned at the beginning of this review, he is a millionaire playboy, and as such, I did find it hard to empathise with him (hard to believe, I know!) or even particularly care about his woes. 
There is an air of smugness about him and his pals that is rather grating- but this may be deliberate, and there is always his prim and proper secretary to bring him down a peg or two.
And if that all sounds a bit negative, I would counter it by saying that the books is excellently written, as you would expect from XIII creator Jen Van Hamme. 
Philippe Francq's art is sublime. The action scenes are fiercely kinetic- there is a car chase in there that is mind blowing in execution and panels are loaded with glorious detail.
I did enjoy this book (despite what it sounded like earlier in the review!), but I suspect my preconceived notions of what I was going to read set me off on the wrong foot somewhat.
The story here seems to be the end of an arc, so I'll be interested to see where the story is going in the subsequent volumes.

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