Written & Illustrated by Matt Kindt
Lettered by Steve Wands
Published by DC/Vertigo
With Sweet Tooth’s Jeff Lemire and now Matt Kindt in house, Vertigo’s done a fine job enlisting two of the best talents from Top Shelf Comics’ roster. Lemire’s Essex County trilogy and Kindt’s books, Pistolwhip, Pistolwhip: The Yellow Menace, 2 Sisters and Superspy, rank among the most promising graphic novels of the past decade.
Kindt’s latest book, Revolver, verges on science-fiction, though in the oblique manner Kindt’s previous books touched on genre elements. The book’s protagonist, Sam, finds himself shackled by dead ends: his job, his relationship and his self-righteous boss. He wakes up one day to find himself in a terrifying world of avian flu outbreaks and dirty bombs, an apocalyptic landscape with danger in every minute. And then he reawakens and finds himself again in his dull old world. Flipping back and forth between two worlds, one dynamic but life-threatening, another safe but lifeless, Sam explores the limits of his relationships and searches for an answer to which world is ultimately his.
Although he briefly looks at how the same characters react to the differences between the two worlds, Kindt keeps Revolver’s plot front and center. Sam’s discovering connections between the worlds, and finding ways to take advantage of his dual experiences. Organic and believable in a forehead-slapping, “why didn’t I think of it” sort of way, the links between worlds that Sam discovers set in motion a cunning, and very surprising, scheme.
Colored in flat two-tone, Kindt uses blues and browns to highlight the switch from one world to the other, and his loose, sketchy line art allows both worlds to breathe and adds a sense of frenetic, worn-in life to each page. The character designs aren’t the strongest, but with only a few characters, readers will have no trouble distinguishing Sam, Jan and Maria.
Hinging on a palpable sense of isolation and indifference to Sam’s life, Revolver manages to be both hauntingly personal and engagingly plot driven. In the end, the book doesn’t seem to mean as much as it could’ve, but it’ll still keep you guessing until the end. Wrapped under a nicely designed hardcover, Revolver is engaging, twisting and haunting. What would you do if you found yourself in two worlds? Chance are, not what Matt Kindt explores in this book.