By Rutu Modan
Published by Drawn & Quarterly, 2007. $19.95
The Plot: It’s been years since Koby, a young man who drives a cab in Tel Aviv, talked to his father. Suddenly, a stranger tells him she believes his father is the unidentified victim of a suicide bombing. The two start on a hunt for the truth, forcing Koby to dig out all the paternal animosity he’s held onto most of his life. He also begins to learn more of the secret lives his father led, including as boyfriend of the young woman helping Koby. Ostensibly a mystery, Exit Wounds at its core is one of the best “personal journey” graphic novels in years.
The Good: The book focuses mostly on Koby and his female friend, but what makes the book so enjoyable is how Modan uses even the most inconsequential characters in crucial ways. People who only appear in the comic for a couple pages (or just a couple panels) still have fully developed personalities that shine through with pitch-perfect dialogue and Modan’s Tin Tin-esque artwork. (I should note, her art is similar to Tin Tin with solid outline drawings and strong colors, but it varies enough as to not feel derivative.)
You may recall my past diatribe about the indie comics problem (in short, indies are often absent of plot). Exit Wounds strives for a lifelike feel, like many indie books, but it has a plot that chugs along constantly, leading Koby and others in a hunt for the truth. This is to say, there’s a story here, and a darn good one at that.
The Grade: A You may have noticed the “bad” section is blank. I know it’s hard to believe for me to not have anything bad to say, but I honestly don’t. This year has been an epic one for non-superhero comics, and Exit Wounds stands as among the best of the best.