rating: 4 of 5 stars
The story elements (plot, characters, dialogue, etc.) are very solid, often brilliantly funny yet never quite ‘comical’ to the point of being, in a sense, comfortable (which is a great thing, a hard thing to manage).
The art is absolutely on another level — worth 50 more stars and then some. As cliche as it is to say, it really must be seen to be properly experienced or even remotely understood.
Wormwood very much feels like a kind of bastard child (stated in the most complimentary sense) between Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I mean this in both aesthetic and literary senses. There seems to be a certain black, dry wit that these guys (Gaiman, Ellis, Templesmith) manage to pull off that is rare; it almost feels like a kind of grotesque (again, this is admirable), evolved version of what most people think of when thinking of ‘British humo(u)r’.
That all said, this is a gorgeous and absolutely visceral graphic novel. I’d never hope or think that the likes of Gaiman and Ellis are ‘done’ in this genre, far from it, but if Templesmith represents something of a new generation, we’re in good (decaying) hands.
I’m admittedly naive about how the graphic novel industry works, but these seems like a series just begging to get picked up by a major brand, specifically DC’s Vertigo imprint.