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Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
Patricia Briggs and David Lawrence, illustrated by Francis Tsai & Amelia Woo
Del Rey,112 pages

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
Patricia Briggs, Francis Tsai & Amelia Woo
Patricia Briggs is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who has written more than a dozen novels, including the first three books in her hit series about Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson, a VW mechanic who also happens to be a shapeshifter in touch with the strange, unseen world of vampires, werewolves, ancient fae, and other mystical creatures. Briggs lives in Washington.

Francis Tsai is a freelance illustrator and concept designer. His clients include Marvel Comics, Dabel Brothers, Devil's Due Publishing, Top Cow Productions, Warner Bros., Wizards of the Coast, Rockstar Games, High Moon Studios, and ImagineFX magazine. He lives in San Diego.

Amelia Woo is a Brazilian artist who has worked for Dark Horse and Marvel Comics, as well as a variety of smaller publishers.

Patricia Briggs Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dragon Blood

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charles de Lint

There's a growing trend of authors scripting comic books based on popular characters from their prose series. As a long-time comic reader, I often wonder if the readers of these tie-in comics are ever intrigued enough with the medium to go on and try other titles. I hope so. And this particular title is good enough that it should certainly pique their curiosity.

I read the four issues that make up Mercy Thompson: Homecoming as they came out, mostly because I'm a comic geek and long-time reader of Patricia Briggs and I couldn't wait the months between when the first issue came out and the last issue finally appeared. I wanted to find out "what comes next" -- and that's always a good sign, especially in a medium that often ends an issue on a cliffhanger.

Cliffhangers are fine, so long as you care about the characters and their story; if you don't, not all the bells and whistles in the world will make you care.

Reading it all in one go is an even better experience, plus you get an interview with Briggs and an art gallery.

What I particularly liked about this look at Briggs's established character is that rather than adapt one of the novels (that's coming next, apparently) this book takes us back to the very beginning, when the shapeshifting coyote/mechanic Mercy Thompson first arrives in the Tri-Cities. I loved getting visuals of all the characters I'd been reading about in prose form, but I especially enjoyed finding out how they all first met.

(Briggs is one of those smart writers. Her books assume that her characters have had a life before the first title appears and she fills us in on what we need to know as we go along.)

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming belongs to a recent fantasy sub genre that's being called urban fantasy: stories in a setting where the beings of mythology and horror (fairies, elves, werewolves, vampires, and of course in this case, shapeshifting coyotes) exist side-by-side with a non-suspecting general public. In the Mercy Thompson novels, Briggs excels in the complicated politics of it all, but here she tells a simpler story of a gang war between rival packs of werewolves... with a young Mercy caught in the middle.

In comic book terms, the art is decent. It's vigorous and certainly moves the story forward, but on closer inspection, individual panels present interesting anatomical discrepancies. The good news is that the story is so compelling that you won't focus on that. The artists change halfway through with Francis Tsai's clean lines replaced by Amelia Woo's more painterly style, but as the story gets progressively darker, that almost feels like it was planned.

As for the authors, the collaboration between Briggs and David Lawrence is a treat. The dialogue is snappy and the panel-to-panel flow smooth.

I liked this a lot and look forward to how this team handles adaptations of the novels.

Copyright © 2009 Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint is the author of The Mystery of Grace (Tor), Medicine Road (Tachyon), The Onion Girl (Subterranean Press) and many dozens more. Drop by his web site and discover more.

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