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‘Sepulchre Volume 1:’ TPB Review

Loss creates a hole. What will you fill it with?

There’s an emphasis on action in most of our entertainment today.  Movies like Fast and the Furious and Transformers make billions worldwide, where slow-burn westerns tend to have much less appeal, so it’s very refreshing to be brought a tale told in a deliberate way.  This is the best description that I have for Christie Shinn’s Sepulchre. There’s an intention behind the pace that allows us to dive deeper into the fairly straightforward narrative.  This book has an incredible amount of depth, and the draw into the world is irresistible.  Having survived her husband’s attempt on her life, our heroine recuperates with the help of stranger who is dealing with his own loss.  Though the characters, at times, feel the push of time, we as the audience never do. We can feel free to really sit with each panel and enjoy every nuance.

It’s really hard to pull this work apart, as our protagonist is silent even before she loses the ability to speak.  It’s a subtle and powerful device considering all that happens to her; she quite literally has no say in her destiny.  Lady Jaye Hawk is our driving force. There’s passion and fight in her that moves everything else along with her whims.  Her counterpart, Flint MacAllister, plays the part of unwitting narrator and gives voice to both of their plights.  She is the irresistible force, and he the immovable object, though what we find is the pause in the moment just before something has to happen, the freeze frame that allows us to really contemplate each action.  This is what drives us forward with a gentle, yet unrelenting, pressure. We’re not pushed along, but invited into more of the characters’ torments.  There’s a delicate balance between allowing emotion and wallowing in it, and Christie Shinn brings us a full emotional experience without coming near it.

This is a story told primarily though the artwork. There are times I would find myself reading through MacAllister’s thoughts and returning to stay within the panels to just drink in the loss, despair, and rage evident in one or both of their faces or posture.  There are many unpleasant moments for them that can really hit you, and though you know in your mind that you can just turn the page, there is a morbid force that wants you to stay with each image of pain, each moment of despair, to embrace it fully and know it before moving on.  Everything in this world is hard, and even something as simple as dinner reinforces the theme of how stark the line between life and death can be.  Shinn manages to balance the hardness of the world with the fragility underlying her characters’ motivations.  Like seeing a tree growing from the steepest cliff, this balance of life holding despite the towering odds constantly stacked against it.  The sounds of the world are very descriptive and on point, and I often found them echoing in my mind, though I hadn’t really heard them. It’s a powerful and immersive experience, and one I’m very glad to have had it.

If you’re looking for a story that will melt hours away with depth and power, then this is definitely a treasure for you.  I look forward to seeing where this story turns next, and how.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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