Early in this graphic novel, a character says, “Then I saw it…a monster. And I was happy.”
A golem isn’t the easiest monster to love. It’s built from ugly clay and mud, and it has an uncontrollable temper. Readers who are familiar with the old, Jewish golem legends will find the story relatively familiar, though there are a few surprises. Brik the golem has his name graffiti-tagged on his chest, and he fights off bullies and Russian gangsters. The story is full of surprises, and there’s a genuinely shocking plot twist toward the end of the book. Unfortunately, the impact of the moment is reduced by the pacing, as Singh’s panel-to-panel transitions are often confusing. His use of texture, however, is very skillful and makes Brik a visually compelling monster. Other characters are just as memorable, especially Drew, a lanky, redheaded Jewish boy. Most of the major characters are Jewish and white, though a brown-skinned woman named Sera works for the Jewish funeral home. She’s an expert on cabala, and she teaches the put-upon Drew how to create a golem. She’s one of the most appealing characters in the book, but then, every character is engaging—particularly the villains—because of the sharp, fast-paced dialogue.
Not everyone loves a golem, but monster fans will speed through the pages, trying to guess the next surprise. (Graphic adventure. 13-19)