Ahhhh this is gonna be one of those long, rambly reviews because I ADORE this graphic novel! It is such a fantastic combination of the Jazz Era and magic with characters who will absolutely steal your heart… right after they steal some cash and jewels and booze ;-)
In case you want the short version, here’s a quick list of reasons to read this comic:
– magic and paranormal elements
– 1930s setting
– complex, lovable characters
– one of whom is always smiling
– the other of whom is always scowling
– both of whom are gangsters
– an adorable relationship that is seriously #RelationshipGoals
– also shoulder freckles
– disability rep
– fantastic plot
– beautiful artwork
– did I mention the lovable characters?
– so many feels
And now the long version, because I still have so much more to say.
First I need to say that I love the artwork, because that’s important to me in a comic. It’s black and white, but it’s beautiful.
Second, it’s also got a great story. Well, kind of the start to a story since it’s a series, but don’t worry, it starts off with a… wait for it… bang! (Get it?!) *crickets chirp* Anyway… Character interactions feel natural and believable. There’s enough complexity to keep things interesting. The whole thing is gripping with moments of explosive action but also moments of quiet reflection and relationship struggles/adorableness.
The best thing of all though is the characters! I love these characters so much that you’d think I created them myself. They’re mine now. I’ve adopted them.
Jakub is a totally lovable grumpster. He’s got this hard outer shell and hardly ever smiles, but on the inside he has insecurities and he’s caring and smart and as loyal as it gets to those who’ve earned it. Just ridiculously, fiercely loyal. Jakub is ride-or-die. Everyone needs a Jakub in their life. I just wanna give him a big hug all the time for being so simultaneously scary, adorable, and sexy. But if anyone ever said that to his face, he’d just scowl. Unless Chesh said it, in which case he’d probably still scowl but would secretly love it.
Cheshire, on the other hand, is charismatic and cocky and charming and full of life and always smiling, but sometimes he uses that smile to cover up and avoid dealing with his own inner demons* or confronting serious stuff; but he too would do anything when it comes to Jakub.
*Note: *SPOILER* Literally 😂 *END SPOILER*
They’re so opposite, but they’re so perfect together. You can tell how much they love each other without them having to say it. You can tell by how they treat each other and what they’re willing to do for each other. There are some great little moments throughout the story that will melt your heart when you read them.
“I bet you’re wishing you’d went along with us being strangers.”
It’s kind of interesting though because these are two characters who are, technically, the bad guys. They’re gangsters. They commit all sorts of crimes. Some of them, especially the violent ones, are against other gangs, but still. And it’s so incredibly easy to forget that while you’re reading about them, which is why I liked when the comic shifted to show things from the law enforcement perspective at one point. Even though I obviously don’t want anything to happen to the guys, I couldn’t even hate the US Marshal working against them.
Also, I often think about how I want more characters who have some physical diversity, so I love that Jakub is full of freckles and Chesh wears glasses and has part of his ear missing from an injury.
Then there’s the 1930s setting, which is a little past the Prohibition Era (which is my favorite) but still awesome. And the fact that Chesh and Jakub are gangsters only makes it even more interesting. This is urban fantasy though, so there’s also magic and paranormal elements that play a big part in the story.
There’s some violence, but, even though it would be disturbing to see in real life, it doesn’t look too gruesome in the comic. And there’s some sex, but only a bit, and it’s not really explicit.
Last but not least, the story even has disability rep! Jakub has a prosthetic arm, and although the prosthetic he has works nearly as well as a regular arm, it’s mechanical (not magic) and is explained more in the prequel novel.
Anyway, I think I’ve raved enough. I love everything about this amazing comic, and it deserves all the stars!
*I’ve read this book multiple times (the 1st time as a webcomic). This review was written after my 2nd read.*
5 Stars (1st Read – 2018)
5 Stars (2nd Read – 2018)
Anyone who likes lovable characters, the Jazz Era, gangsters, adorable M/M relationships, supernatural abilities, and beautiful artwork.