Review - Tall Shadows

"I was pushed into this against my will and now I have to finish it."

The better someone gets at their profession, the harder is it for them to leave. When a criminal like Sam in Tall Shadows wants to leave, he's got to work through some tricky relationships first. The graphic novel is written and illustrated by Pezhmann Mokary.

A man, once innocent, struggles to leave the dark world of criminals behind and start a new life overseas.

Sam is the lead character in the graphic novel and he's an interesting one, with Mokary presenting him as a criminal of sorts looking to get out. Most of the graphic novel takes place in the past, explaining to the reader who Sam is and almost explaining how he got to be in his current predicament. That being said, there's a lot of pieces of the puzzle that don't seem to be present, although it's wholly possible Mokary has future issues planned to further delve into his backstory. The dialogue is pretty typical for a noir story such as this, yet still manages to tell the story. Mokary paces the book somewhat erratically at times, most of which is the result of an illustrative style that's rigid.

Mokary also handles the illustrations and the entire book is in black and white. That definitely helps to establish the mood as a pulpy crime book, but it also slows the momentum of the book. Mokary's linework is defined by the absence of lines where the characters all appear to be in black and white oil paintings. This really works for the more somber scenes, but there are more frenetic scenes where the action seems to be crawling because of the density of the black, white and gray on the pages. Mokary also arranges the panels very neatly that somewhat constricts the momentum of the book.

Tall Shadows is a crime story about a criminal looking for a new lease on life, but having trouble finding it. Sam seems to be a very capable criminal in his heyday; with his reputation though comes a list of enemies and rivals. Mokary's script has an idea in mind, even if the dialogue and pacing don't quite achieve everything cohesively. The artwork is actually pretty unique in its presentation, albeit a little lethargic at times for what should be an otherwise intense story. Fans of noir stories will find some interesting bits in Tall Shadows.

Tall Shadows is available now.