Charlatan: Preludes

Charlatan: Preludes (General Jinjur – Lawson / Gouveia)

When his daughter Lucy is selected as the next champion destined to save the universe from the forces of evil, Augie Halford steps in to take her place. But how can a man with only a fraction of his daughter’s amazing powers hope to succeed as her replacement?

In the Introduction to the book, Gil Lawson sets out his purpose: To create a book that is both engaging and fun, but without some of the baggage of the modern comic. Now, that is my abbreviated paraphrase of course. You can get the full blown version when you buy the book or checking out the General Jinjur website. The Pullbox will be digging a little bit deeper with Gil on this and the whole “Jinjurverse”in an interview coming soon.

From what I know, this is Gil Lawson’s first full-blown book. Obviously from his plot line, Gil is not a stranger at all to sci-fi/superhero stories. He tells a compelling story that gets the reader emotionally invested right off the bat. I will go into details below, but the summary is for a Freshman project, this is top-notch!

Gil, along with the help of his wife and editor Jen Lawson, sets a pretty solid stage for future stories to be told. This is the first in the One Defender series.

Augie and Mary, a couple dealing with normal life, soon find out that their toddler daughter Lucy is destined to be the Great Defender of the Universe. You would think that would be a good thing, right? It gives you purpose and direction… except now you have cosmic dark forces are out to get you and there is an alien race, who happen to think humans are inferior (don’t they always?), so they want to take your child and keep her “safe and protected”. Being a dad myself, I know that wouldn’t fly well at all.  It’s tough times for mom and dad, but it’s this level of emotional turmoil that allows the reader to dive in willingly with these characters.  The interpersonal interaction and dialog presented is believable without being too cliche or cheesy.  Along with telling Lucy’s story, Lawson also weaves the narrative back on Earth through small intermissions, as he sets up some foreshadowing with some pretty intriguing heroes and villains.

At the base level, the writing is very solid and the story alone would make this book worth looking at.

Enter the art of Eliseu “Zeu” Gouveia (Moonstone books – The Phantom, Infiniteens); his pencils, colors and inks give Charlatan the visual “Wow!”. For being a relative rookie on the scene, Gouveia has great splash pages and is able to capture both drama and action. And while it might not have been the original intent of the creators, a few of Gouveia’s frames showing Mary (the mom) proves that a comic book female protagonist can be eye-popping gorgeous and still have all of her clothes on.

Given Gil’s original purpose for this book was to create a book that adult readers will like but still be family-friendly, I can say whole-heartedly that he and his team have accomplished it. Hands down, this is a great book! Check it out, it has been spotlighted in Previews, order number: FEB094296.

Grade: A

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Updated: February 16, 2009 — 12:22 pm

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