- Writer: Christopher Sebela
- Artist: David Stoll
- Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
- Letterer: Justin Birch
- Editor: Chris Sanchez
- Diversity Reader: Jamie Vander Clute
- Book and Logo Design: David Reyes
Thanks to Mad Cave Studios for the review copy!
The graphic novel collection of Pantomime includes six issues that tell a complete story. Narrated by Haley, the title follows her, her brother, and their friends as they dip their toes into burglary. If you’ve read crime stories, it will come as no surprise to you that things don’t go as planned and start spiraling out of control.
Pantomime brings a lot of originality to the crime genre. First, Haley and the other main characters are deaf (they meet at a school for deaf children). In a nice little detail, the ‘speech’ bubbles are pointing at the character’s hands, which deftly show movement indicating signing. Being deaf doesn’t really stand out as the main feature of the characters, but it occasionally pops up as a challenge to work around or an opportunity. This approach allows the story to feel original while avoiding making the characters feel one dimensional. The relationship between the characters is one of the strongest points of the book along with its ability to make us root for characters who are breaking the law.
Haley is also an interesting narrator. I often question the decision to use the ‘narrator tells what happened’ technique, because you know that character does not die. Here, it works well based on where the story goes and plenty of surprises are kept hidden. Haley being the narrator also sets up a pretty powerful ending that wouldn’t be as effective with another storytelling method.
The art feels very noir, with darker coloring and plenty of shadows. The coloring is also used subtly to reflect the mood/situation of the characters, as happy times are depicted in much brighter colors. There is about as much action as you’d get from a heist movie – there’s a lot of planning compared to the actual crime. With that said, the action is depicted clearly, allowing us to picture what is happening with ease.
Pantomime is rated T+, and this is a fair rating due to its relative glorification of criminal activity and violence, some of which shows blood.
THE THRILL OF THE HEIST: PANTOMIME VOLUME 1 is now available.
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