In My Darkest Hour
Omar Guerrero is a 28-year-old Latin American, stuck in a dead-end job, unappreciative of his long-term relationship and gaining no joy from his life beyond drinking, smoking and womanising. Stuck in the void between youth and middle-age, he's a perfect example of the transient late-twenties male - unwilling to make a commitment to either himself or anyone else, too spoilt to have reached maturity in his early adulthood, and too scared to escape from the downward spiral of trouble laying before him.
Yet Wilfred Santiago's character maintains a certain charm. He's over-weight but he knows it, using his extraordinary charisma to overcome the increasing barrier his appearance throws between him and his attempted conquests. But as his slippery slope carries him further downwards, there's little left of even his enthusiasm toward women to help him through his darkest hour.
Santiago's writing is tightly scripted, whether it's colloquial dialogue, stream of consciousness strangeness, or emails and letters. The book moves through all these easily if not seemlessly, as we're transferred into the fevered mind of Guerrero for an insight into what he's thinking, before moving back into the next stage of the story.
The artwork is equally compelling, featuring a mixture of styles. The characters are simply drawn without being caricatures, but are dropped into a mix of drawn and photo-realistic backdrops. These contrast with the dark, smudgy, dreamlike sections, which appear when we get a glance inside Guerrero's head.
This won't be to everyone's taste but if you like your graphic novels dark, intelligent, true to life and a little bit strange, In My Darkest Hour is a solid read.
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