Schreiber, Nathan – Power Out


Power Out

Hey, shouldn’t this have a “Volume 1” on here somewhere?  That’s right, I’m starting off with a quibble.  Still, it’s easy to get the impression that this would be self-contained (as the vast majority of small press graphic novels are just one volume), and that is very much not the case with this one.  This is the story of a 14 year old boy  (Justin) and his slightly older sister (Carrie).  OK, it’s really mostly about Justin.  Anyway, things start off with their parents heading out of town on a cruise for a week, but leaving the kids behind because Carrie needs to work on her college applications and Justin won’t go without her.  Justin has some serious issues, which are only hinted at this time around, and our first impression of him is as a video game zombie, an impression he doesn’t do much to dispel… until the power goes out.  What, you didn’t know that was coming from the title?  I’m skipping over some stuff (Carrie throws a party, Justin just wants to be left alone, Carrie ends up going away with these people she just met to a beach house for the weekend, leaving Justin alone), but I’m trying to focus on Justin here.  Oh, and we also see an old postcard to Justin from Carrie, with the reason he wasn’t allowed to go on that trip intriguingly crossed out.  If Nathan was trying to make that mysterious but readable he failed, if he was trying to pique my interest without giving it all away yet, well, kudos.  Once the power goes out and stays out, Justin is forced to wander out into the real world and he isn’t at all prepared for what he finds there.  The rest of the book is a mad mix of him being talked at by his (attractive, close to his age and unable to speak English) neighbor, wandering off and waking up at the local clock festival, and being so overwhelmed with the huge mass of people that he runs off into the forest by himself.  I’m coming very close to giving away the whole book again, so that’s it for the descriptions.  I will say that this depiction of a disconnected 14 year old was perfect, with his main contact with the outside world being a video game hint board, and the perpetual deadness of his eyes that start to show signs of coming back to life.  What I loved about this book was that nothing was ever neat and easy, and at every chance Nathan had to send the story into a cliched direction he zoomed off the other way, while keeping everything as true to reality as possible.  Believe me, that’s not an easy line to walk.  Everybody out there probably already knows about this guy (what with the Xeric award and everything), but in case you’re like me and hadn’t heard about this, it’s worth picking.  Nathan even has a deal going on at his site at the moment, so if you hurry you can get a free watercolor if you order it from him, which I was nice enough to link to in the title.  You’re welcome!  $9.95

Posted on May 24, 2010, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Schreiber, Nathan – Power Out.

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