What would you do if you had the magical ability and responsibility to protect the island of Manhattan from supernatural forces of evil? Well, if you’re Thomas Alsop, you get a reality television show and make some money off of it, that’s what! Alsop is the current “Hand of the Island,” a title handed down from generation to generation. He guards Manhattan from evil, using his family’s prowess for magic. Thomas has money and fame, but also the burden of a being this generation’s occult warrior. Can he survive the battles both within and without?
This book reads a little like Harry Dresden meets John Constantine with a touch of Criss Angel. Chris Miskiewicz delivers a clever, if not terribly original concept in the character of Thomas Alsop. Although the supernatural detective has been done to death, Alsop gives us a little more to work with in that he is also reality tv star. It’s a twist that makes the read a little more interesting despite his constant boozing, which bored me. Another twist that I enjoyed, was the 9/11 tie-in. Some people may be offended by that aspect, but it is done very tastefully, with nary a trace of disrespect to either the victims or responders who lost their lives that horrible day. The dialogue however, does need work in several places. A few conversations lost me completely, and I had to re-read panels multiple times to get the gist of what the author was trying to say.
Palle Schmidt’s art also left a little to be desired. For covers, and big single, or double page spreads, it’s beautiful, but the individual panels tend to look half finished. Sienkewicz fans may appreciate this but I found it made the story difficult to follow. In a few of the flashbacks, I had a hard time discerning the difference between Thomas and his drummer, Martin. And finally, there are many, many flashbacks to Thomas’s ancestor, and to Thomas’s past. In spots, the delineation between timelines is very ambiguous.
All in all, this is a good book, but not a great book. More traditional comic book fans will probably be turned off by the presentation, but if you are willing to look past that (or enjoy it) the story is rather good. For me the build up was rather slow, but Miskiewicz throws in enough action that it’s worth it for the $14.99 price tag.
This trade paperback collects issues 1 – 4 of the Thomas Alsop series.
For more information about Thomas Alsop, or other great titles by BOOM! studios, please visit BOOM! Studios.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.