Panel to Panel
By Nathan Patton
Recently, Jeff Lemire has gotten a lot of acclaim for his “Essex County Trilogy.” In those stories, Lemire crafts a lush tale interweaving different themes and characters through the lens of a small farming community. “The Nobody” doesn’t get far from Lemire’s wheelhouse, even if it does struggle to be near the quality of his previous work.
John Griffen strolls into the fishing village of Large Mouth, past the welcoming giant fish statue, wearing bandages that cover his entire body, and goggles over his eyes. Being a small town, people immediately start gossiping about who he is and where he came from. But by the time Lemire starts to reveal that information, the reader has already guessed. There are no surprises here.
We’ve seen the story before and we’ve seen the character archetypes even more. There’s the nosey innkeeper, the young girl fascinated by the mysterious stranger, and of course, her father, who is overbearing but ultimately just wants to protect her. It’s been done. Way too many times.
Lemire’s art, however, is exactly the opposite. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s gorgeous, even while being kind of ugly. That conundrum is part of its charm. He uses heavy inks to set the dark tones apart from the light shade of blue that he uses as a backdrop.
The art does a great job of setting the mood of the story. I just wished he had told me one I hadn’t already heard. But sadly, “The Nobody” is meandering, and ultimately pointless, retelling of H.G. Wells’ “The Invisible Man,” and Lemire brings nothing new to the tale.