In Review: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Down Town #3

Magic, monsters, and the mob mix in mystery filled with murder.

The cover: This was the closing scene from last issue’s cliffhanger. A magical goo has attached itself to Molly Carpenter’s face and she can’t get it off. The shelves and bricks behind her indicate she’s in Harry’s basement. A good idea for a cover, but it looks more like a sketch from Stjepan Sejic than a completed work. The line work on her arms and top is very heavy and the wall and the items behind her are rough suggestions of form. The colorist, whoever that uncredited individual is, had to play clean up to define the image by providing depth through colors. I expect better. Overall grade: C+

The story: The cover is the perfect lead in to this issue, by Jim Butcher and Mark Powers, as Molly is rolling around on the floor in a panic, trying to get the substance off her nose and mouth, as gigantic Mouse looks on in concern. Trying to think of what Harry would do, she calms down and tries to employ the skill that got her into this situation in the first place. She’s successful, but the substance has a life of its own and leaps around the room, going after Mister the cat. With some teamwork from her animal friends, Molly contains the substance, but not without being noticed. The story’s focus turns to the antagonist who reveals why he’s committing murders, and then moves to Sergeant Karrin Murphy at the scene of last issue’s killings. Harry doesn’t appear in this issue until Page 9, and his opening comments show his wonderful flippancy and anger. Upon seeing Molly’s captured menace, he realizes what’s been killing people and backstory is given on this creature. Searching for the monster, Harry comes into conflict with other antagonists, and things aren’t going to go well. This continues to be fun as characters stumble forward to find the magical villain and his beast, only to be hindered by other characters. An entertaining read. Overall grade: A+

The art: Very strong visuals on this book from Carlos Gomez. His ability to move the reader’s point of view around is excellent. I especially enjoyed how Gomez was able to draw Mouse from many different perspectives, as most artists are able to do this with humans, but not animals. Mister is also well done, and particularly expressive in his three pages of appearances. The history of the creature causing damage as well as its present day actions are terrific, with Pages 12 and 14 moving the story into epic territory. The double-paged spread on the final two pages is an great re-introduction to characters previously shown and how they’re ready, or think they are, to handle the situation. Attention should also be given to Gomez’s settings. Five unique locales wonderfully create an air of authenticity to this story: Dresden’s basement, the villain’s lair, the scene of last issue’s crime, the flashback, and the location first introduced on Page 9. All are realistically rendered to make the magic that’s being employed stronger. Gomez is excellent! Overall grade: A+

The color: Mohan provides the colors on this book and he’s aces. On the very first page his work is evident with some sensational shading on Mouse’s coat, Molly’s jeans and hair, and good blending on the floor, which darkens the farther it gets from the candle in the foreground. The villain’s lair is spectacularly illuminated in candle light, with corners of darkness to make elements of the panels creepy. The location on Page 9 is nicely darkened with blue and grey to allow the reader to see what’s being shown, but also identify a poorly lit environment. Mohan also provides a nice brown, almost sepia, tone to notify readers of flashbacks. Well done work throughout. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration, sounds, dialogue, yells, and a “To be continued” tagline are crafted by Bill Tortolini. All look good, and it’s impossible not to be moved by Mouse’s vocalizations. Overall grade: A

The final line: Oh, yeah. You want this. Magic, monsters, and the mob mix in mystery filled with murder. A must buy. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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