Review: Wraith by Joe Hill

Wraith

Welcome to Christmasland #1-6

Joe Hill

Illustrator: Charles Paul Wilson III

Joe Hill’s New York Times Bestselling novel, NOS4A2, introduced readers to the terrifying funhouse world of Christmasland, and the mad man who rules there: Charlie Talent Manx III.

Now, in an original new comic miniseries, Hill throws wide the candy cane gates to tell a standalone story that is at once both accessible to new readers, and sure to delight fans of the book.

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Published: August 12th 2014

Rape, Child Molestation, Cannibalism, Blood Depiction, Child Abuse, Mention of Body Mutilation, Murder, Death 

nos4a2 review

I’d told you that I’d review this graphic novel and here I am… late. Amazing. Nonetheless, remember my NOS4A2 review, in which I had knocked off some points for it not giving me backstory into one of the most intriguing villains/settings I’ve read in a while? Complain no more: this is what I’ve been waiting for. Now, yes, I gave this one five stars because I feel like it filled the void and gave very necessary backstory to its predecessor. Was this a perfect read? No. But, in this context, it was a damn good prequel and that’s what my rating is based on.

We’ve heard a little bit of Charles Manx’s failed accomplices? Those who weren’t pure enough to see the promise land and ended up taking the fall for his many misdeeds. Well, we start off with three prisoners who commandeer their prison bus with the plan to escape with the police officers as their hostages. And who pulls up in their infamous Wraith to chauffeur them? However, we have to pass through one notorious landmark. ..Of course, we all know Christmasland isn’t what anyone thinks and one particular inmate isn’t all what he seems either…

I really appreciate choosing to make this a graphic novel instead of a novella, which is what I’d been wishing for in the beginning because my brain couldn’t hold a candle to the imagery here. The art style was amazingly fitting for the setting of Christmasland and Manx’s many children. You think you know creepy?

This is creepy.

I do recommend reading the book before this graphic novel. Yes, this is a prequel, but for context and better understanding, this is the way to go. We finally learn what Scissor for the Drifter is! We finally get to see what Manx’s daughters look like! We get to find out so many things that were mentioned in NOS4A2, it satisfied my soul.

Now, we know graphic novels and I have tumultuous relationship in the sense of either art style is there and story is lacking or visa versa, however here? An amazing balance. Even when I thought things wouldn’t be delved into, Hill would slap me in the face with one segment dedicated to the specific topic. And that topic is Charles. When I tell you I wanted to know everything about this man, I meant it. And honestly… I can’t say I sympathized with the man… but I kind of did. He had the worst childhood full of trauma and pain. You can see how that warped his mindset into save the children… and I can see the manipulation that this inscape had on his brain.

But! Like I said, we’re following another character, Chess Llewelyn who has committed a crime out of desperation, who isn’t as he seems. He was an interesting character to be with in our introduction to the setting. It gave me vulnerability, regret, grief, sadness– that was conveyed here.

I feel like I have to mention that yes, this is horror-esque in nature, but there is many triggering things about this read and Hill doesn’t hold back in portraying that. The images and implications are disturbing, so normal disclaimer– make sure you’re in the right headspace for this friends.

I’m going to keep this review short, because this read was short in and of itself, but like I mentioned above: it was a great addition to the world and the lore. The only thing that I guess I can say was an issue– WHERE IS MY BING NOVELLA. I WANT IT. But, I won’t take any stars away from that.

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