Graphic Novel Review: Turf

(Titan Books, �19.99)

COMING in the wake of various examples of mash-up fiction ranging from Pride, Prejudice and Zombies through to the current blockbuster Cowboys Vs Aliens, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards’ period clash between vampires, gangsters and aliens was just following that trend.

In fact, this is an intelligent, multi-layered narrative which doesn’t purport to be merely a pitch for a movie adaptation – as with many of today’s strips – but uses the comics medium to craft a story which works best because it unfolds on the printed page.

Prohibition-era New York, and the usual gangland rivalries are disturbed by the arrival of a new group of players, whose strength and bloodlust is quite unlike anything witnessed in the city before. This ancient vampire sect is making a play for power, and woe betides anyone who stands in their way…

Yet unexpectedly, shockingly, a new player enters the arena, an alien traveller with technology far beyond anything witnessed in 1920s America, and all of a sudden the odds are evened out between the vampires, the mobsters and this extraterrestrial interloper…

In a comics market saturated with superheroes, it’s refreshing to discover a story which so successfully combines such a disparate set of genres – crime, horror and sci-fi – to produce a must-read comic which does not forgo strong characterisation, period detail and narrative structure in favour of more bangs for your buck.

Although Edwards has a strong reputation within the industry for his works on the like of Marvel: 1985, Batman and X-Men, Ross proves he is more than just a passionate comics fan by crafting a first-rate series right off the bat.

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Highly recommended.