You might have thought that there was little more to be done with sophisticated superhero stories, what with Alan Moore and Frank Miller flipping the genre in the 1980s, and Warren Ellis and Mark Millar pushing it to its limits in the 1990s and 2000s.
Ken Krekeler would clearly beg to differ. His Dry Spell graphic novel carries a lot of influential baggage, picked up from the works of these masters. But although the book has an element of revered homage to it, there remains a certain freshness to the style.
It’s fair to say that Krekeler hasn’t driven this book particularly far from the well-worn track of post-modern superheroics, and there are strong similarities to themes contained in books by Frank Miller and Mark Millar. We’re not going to tell you which ones, however, for fear of spoiling some of the plot’s key twists.
If I have to pick holes (and I do have to pick holes) I might argue that the first act, and the first half of the second, are a bit drawn out. The reveal of information in the first section is slow and over-dramatised, with a certain inevitability about it when it comes. The middle section doesn’t spring to life until the second half, but when it does, it does it with a vengeance.
The finale has a certain ironic predictability about it though, and feels just a little too familiar. Despite this, Krekeler manages to pull the whole thing off. His story, while slow to start for our tastes, has some moments of true shock and suspense. His main characters are solid and his illustration is dynamic and rich in colour.
But the highlight is a bank job, a scene that kicks off the latter half of the book, which looks like it could have been directed by Quentin Tarantino. It’s here that the book really hits its stride, and for those with a thing for ultra-violent super-heroics, it makes the whole package well worth checking out.
Dry Spell is available for pre-order now – order it from your local comic store if you want it on its release in December.