Saturday, June 17, 2017


AREA 10 (2010), by Christos N. Gage and Chris Samnee, is a black and white, original graphic novel published under the Vertigo Crime imprint. A serial killer is terrorizing New York City. His victims are found beheaded, leading the killer to be dubbed "Henry the Eighth". Investigating detective Adam Kamen has no leads in the killings until he's injured in an attack in which he's stabbed in the forehead with a screwdriver. He recovers from his injury but finds that his long dormant "third eye" has been activated, granting him the ability to "see" the future. Or at least possible futures.

The killings continue and Kamen, unable to sleep, finds himself haunted every waking hour by the case and the things he sees. The investigation takes him down some truly twisted paths involving the art of trepanation, the practice of drilling small holes in a person's skull in an effort to expand their consciousness.

The trail leads Kamen to a mad doctor conducting such experiments. The doctor is killed in a battle with Kamen and enough evidence is found to indicate that he was indeed Henry the Eighth. Case closed, right? But the killings continue and it looks more and more like Kamen himself may be a killer.

AREA 10 is a fast paced, gritty thriller that mixes the police procedural novel with a whiff of sf/horror. A final act between two people, one wielding a scalpel, the other a power drill, is appropriately gory and loaded with tension and suspense. Author Gage does a good job of  playing fair, showing us all of the clues we need to figure out what's really going on and Samnee's artwork is clean and expressive, moody where it needs to be and always delivering clear, straightforward storytelling.

You'll have to read the book to discover the meaning of the title but trust me, AREA 10 is a winner. Thumbs up.

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