Children must fight a complicated evil in this dark, disturbing sci-fi tale.
While out playing one fateful day, brothers Sherwood and Orson stumble upon a horrible and mysterious cave. Inside, the boys encounter a demon that will forever alter the paths of their lives. In a parallel universe, a motley crew called the Wrenchies band together in a violent, futuristic wasteland trying to survive numerous foes, especially the Shadowsmen. In yet another place/time, a comics-loving misfit named Hollis (who takes to running about in a scarlet superhero costume) finds himself immersed—literally—in the pages of an enigmatic, purloined comic. These three tales twine together in a somewhat confusing fashion, full of reaching sci-fi leaps into other times and dimensions, creating a brain-aching nonlinear plot. Couple this with a handful of epilogues and an esoteric “fotogloctica” that kind of but not really wraps things up, and expect readers’ brains to be smoking. Dalrymple’s art is impeccable, capturing the horrors of demons that routinely spear eyeballs and great swarms of parasitic insects that can crawl into ears and need to be killed by swords and/or knives; it’s beautiful, dreamy and nightmarishly violent. Think of this as an insidiously macabre Coraline-esque tale meets Charles Burns.
Morbid and discomfiting; not for the faint of heart, but what a ride for those who go with the flow. (Graphic science fiction. 15 & up)