REVIEW: ‘Lodger,’ Vol. 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What secrets do the small towns of America hide? Crimes in big cities make the news nationwide but the happenings of small-town America go unnoticed by the world at large. People travel through small towns every day and sometimes a small town can snare a traveler, trapping them before they can escape. Lodger TP Vol 1 from IDW Publishing’s Black Crown Imprint, presents a shifting map of America, one whose murders form landmarks for travelers to follow. Co-written by David Lapham and Maria Lapham and illustrated by David Lapham, this noir takes readers on a dark ride through the forgotten roads of America.

Like the best of noir, Lodger TP Vol 1 is a mystery that shifts and warps over the course of the story. A young woman named Ricky travels across the country, a gold plated revolver as her only companion. Everywhere she goes, she stumbles upon small-town murders.

Each crime appears freshly committed, but Ricky shows no fear. At the same time, a young travel blogger makes his way across the country as well. Sometimes known as “Dante,” he writes of life in the small towns he visits carrying a St. Christopher medallion, the patron saint of travelers. What connects these two wandering hearts, and how much blood has been shed between them?

It should come as no surprise to crime comic fans that Lodger TP Vol 1. is good noir. Damn good noir, in fact. As co-creators of the Eisner award-winning Stray Bullets, David and Maria Lapham set the bar with their seminal crime series.

They bring the exact intensity that earned them an Eisner Award to their latest project. Elegantly complex in its storytelling, Lodger TP Vol 1 weaves a narrative whose shape shifts constantly. Every chapter of the book asks readers to reassess their understanding of what they’ve seen and read. It transforms this mystery from a standard whodunnit into more.

To achieve this flexible experience,  the book makes the most of the comic format of images overlaid with text. Throughout the Lodger TP Vol 1, Dante’s travel blogs appear in their own unique text boxes. They run through the length of the blog primarily consisting of Dante’s poetic phrases. But the panels tell a different story, one marked by blood and golden guns. Dante’s role in this hidden story is unclear so readers will have to find out for themselves. But rest assured, it’s one worth discovering.

Like Stray Bullets, Lodger TP Vol 1. paints its story in the classic noir palette of black and white. The book’s crisp inkwork is laid down by David Lapham. Lapham’s style has a brilliance in its stark economy. Throughout Lodger TP Vol 1. you’ll find pages where both black and white are used for positive and negative space. Some panels are staggering in their level of detail, a tough task to pull off with such rich inkwork. Lodger TP Vol 1. hits the high bar of comics whose panels tell its story as masterfully as its text.  

A top-shelf example of pitch-black noir, Lodger TP Vol 1 delivers a striking mystery set along the backroads of America. Narratively complex and full of brimming with atmosphere, this is one comic you’ll want to reread as soon as you’ve finished it. While held back by its low-resolution art style, Lodger TP Vol 1 remains a fine entry in any crime comic library.

Lodger TP Vol 1 is available now everywhere comic books are sold.

 

Lodger Vol. 1
5

TL;DR

A top-shelf example of pitch-black noir, Lodger TP Vol 1 delivers a striking mystery set along the backroads of America. Narratively complex and full of brimming with atmosphere, this is one comic you’ll want to reread as soon as you’ve finished it.

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