Comics Review: George R.R. Martin's "Skin Trade" #1
- by Señor Editor, 13 July 2013
I can't say I'm a big fan of werewolves. Out of all of the 'classic monsters' they've always seemed one of the least interesting ones to me. But I like George R.R. Martin, and so when I saw his name on the first issue of "Skin Trade", out this month from Avatar Press, I picked up and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
Willie is visited by his friend Randi, the daughter of a cop Willie knew. He tells her that the girl that's been brutally murdered in the neighborhood some time ago was a friend of his, and she was on her way to meet him. Willie is worried that the girl might have been partly eaten... very much like she had been attacked by an animal. This causes Randi to have a vague flashback to her own childhood and she sets on finding out (by asking around her dead dad's old cop buddies) whether or not it could have been "an animal" that killed Willie's friend.
While all that happens, Willie (who we find out is a very likeable guy, despite being a debt collector) gets a call from another old guy, who may or may not be a werewolf. He has a very brutal son. Who may or may- okay, I'm gonna stop doing that... It's safe to say there are werewolves in the book, but we don't yet know which of these guys are them (all of them?). Anyway, we find out that there's somebody out there, who is hunting these hypothetical werewolves.
And that's the story!
I have to say that as far as my involvement with the story goes, the main plot took the backseat to the really interesting and well-written characters. Willie is especially likeable and if he indeed turns out to be an asthmatic werwolf, then I'm gonna be even happier. He has a great scene when he's out collecting debts and visits a single mother. There's also a lot of tension between the various characters and they all have interesting relationships with each other - nowadays it's a well known trademark of Martin's writing, but it's very fun to see it here, in a completely different type of story.
I haven't read the original novella, so I can't say how much work Abraham had to do to adapt it into comic form, but it all flows perfectly.
Another thing that I liked here (and I realize this may be an unusual thing to focus on) are the locations. Willie lives in an old brewery and the old guy who calls him up (the one with the brutal son) lives in a huge mansion on a hill, that has a weird railway that basically acts like an elevator from the house to the city. There's a picture below. I thought it was cool, I always like it when the setting of a story is more inspired than the usual, generic backdrop of a big city.
One thing I'm on the fence about is Wolfer's art. I can't say it's bad, because there's plenty of good looking panels, and he certainly knocks the various shots of the locations (the city, the mansion, the interiors etc) out of the park - those look great. But his faces and figures range from good to "what happened here?". It's inconsistent. Check the various shots of Randi below. They may not be so different from one another that you'd think it's a different person, but it IS inconsistent, and quite noticeable.
Overall though, the art doesn't take away from the book (and, in the case of these shots of various locations, it adds a lot).
"Skin Trade" #1 is a very interesting comic and the great reputation of the novella it's based on, as well as Martin's reputation as a writer, makes me look forward to the next issues! Congrats to everybody involved in this comic. Good job on an intriguing first issue!
Have you read "Skin Trade" #1? Planning to? Enjoyed the review? Don't keep us guessing, leave a comment!