Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Absence Graphic Novel Review

Review By Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Martin Stiff

Art and Cover By
Martin Stiff

Published By
Titan Comics



Nominated for BEST COMIC at the 2013 British Comic Awards, The Absence rips apart a small village on the coastal edge of Southern England as it struggles to recover from the tragic losses of the Second World War.  Yet any hope of healing it's wounds is suddenly rocked by the return of a man long presumed - and hoped - dead.

In a place where everybody is hiding a guilty past, what terrible secrets does his hideously disfigured exile bring back with him?  And what exactly happened to him during his absence?

A masterpiece in jagged, haunting storytelling tinged with horror and pathos, this acclaimed series is collected here for the first time and is for anyone who loves their tales loaded with menace and shadows!


When a title has been nominated for the best comic award at the British Comic Awards, you know it has to be something special indeed considering how few titles get that honor.  I have to admit that I missed this title on it's first release so managing to get hold of a copy of the graphic novel collection as well as hearing about it having been nominated for the award all added up to making me an excited little comic book nerd.

Was there any way that it could possibly live up to the pressure of having been nominated for such an important award?  Is there any way that it would live up to the hype and promise and surrounded it?

Oh my dear readers, it does much more than live up to them.  It smashes them apart and then asks for more.

I'm not really one for hyperbole and for falling for a title that has more hype than substance but for once, a title really is as good as the critics have been saying.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it's even better than I was thinking that it would be.

One of the things that struck me the most was how the atmosphere reminded me of the old black and white movies that I like so much.  You know the ones, the movies with the feeling dread and panic that run through them.  The sorts of movies where you know something horrifying is going to be revealed but you're not really sure what that thing will be.

Martin Stiff has written such an affecting and gripping story here that will most definitely hook you in and you really won't be able to put it down.  That intelligent and twist filled writing really came up against the art superbly well.  Stiff's artistry is both beautiful and affecting at the same time and really gives the story a classic movie feel.  I would even go so far as to say that this wouldn't look out of place on a big screen.

All in all, it's very easy to see just why this got nominated for Best Comic at the British Comic Awards.  It reads as a great classic thriller, looks like a chiller from the golden age of Hollywood and has twists and turns galore.  What more could you want from a graphic novel collection?

Story 9/10
Art 10/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 10/10
Overall 38/40

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