‘Lord:’ Graphic Novel Review

Thy will be done.

The world is a bit of a mess right now.  There’s a lot of crazy out there hiding behind religious texts that align with their particular brand of hating folks or perpetrating terrible acts that may not have unanimous support of modern communities.  It’s not just one religion that people are using out there, either. There are sects of just about every major religion (and slews of minor ones) that twist doctrine to make their specific brand of awful justified.  Why do I bring this up in a comic review?  Well, Leonie O’Moore’s Lord tells just such a tale, and while its protagonist is a sympathetic character to a considered majority of the population, there are those who would brand this book as pushing an agenda rather than being a wonderfully aware British-Countryside horror (Think of the movies that Hot Fuzz was based on.) that feels like it could be just as relevant in today’s world as the time period that it’s based in.

We meet a young woman who’s got a full load of sass and vigor, trying to navigate the stodgy and somewhat draconian rule of her parents. Unfortunately, hauling off on a pretty popular girl proves to be the last straw for her parents, and they pack her off to the kind of summer school that folks who miss the “good ‘ol days” of corporal punishment and systematized and acceptable abuse would surely find quite enjoyable…at least at first.  The physical and mental abuse she endures hides another level of depravity that is the core of the story, so I’ll not share it here, but it would feel right at home in the earlier episodes of The X-Files.  O’Moore has a canny knack for the tension of her tale that keeps everything going, and at no point does the narrative flag or stutter.  The constant suspense isn’t static by any means; however, nuanced pacing keeps the reader engaged with each turn of the page.  The finale is satisfying and yet even more upsetting in some ways, because while our heroine’s fate seems justified. (I'm not saying whether you’ll like it or not; you’ll have to read it to find out, but it’s supported in the themes and the setup of everything that comes before.) There’s one final moment among the villains that shocks us once again with their version of civility.  It’s a well crafted and thoroughly enjoyable read.

The artwork seems to borrow its palette and style from the period, making the piece as a whole feel perfectly authentic and more realistic for it.  This is not an action-heavy book; there’s much more for us in the composition of the panels and the interpersonal drama that unfolds throughout, but there’s no slouching when things pick up.  What I really enjoy is O'Moore's play with the status of every character. She knows how to sell it and how effective it is when it changes.  The panels are always dynamic, whether helping us along with the text to reinforce the tension or by playing opposite of it to foster poignant dichotomy.

I really enjoyed this work. I think it’s a fun suspense tale with very relatable characters that is important to read in today’s world.  There’s a touch of empathy for every character, which is the mark of a mature writer who doesn’t just cast people as demons (even if they ought to be), but allows us to see the humanity in them, if only that we can see that same baseness in ourselves as a reminder that any can fall down that path.  Lord is currently available on Amazon and ComiXology.

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