Hexed-CoverWhen a routine heist of a rare magical object goes wrong, teenage thief Lucifer Das Neves releases a powerful (and evil) being and accidentally reignites a supernatural war. Soul-devouring Ypres and his sister Cymbaline have been at odds for centuries, and now that Ypres’ soul has been released from its magical prison, the two terrifyingly powerful siblings are coming for each other. In order to clean up this possibly world-ending mess, Lucifer must call in favors from sources she’d really rather not count on, and chief among them is the Keeper of Secretsalso known as The Harlota mysterious, otherworldly being that somehow holds Lucifer’s destiny in her clutches.

As a reader who was not familiar with Michael Alan Nelson’s (Supergirl, 28 Days Later) previous volumes of Hexed illustrated by Emma Rios (Pretty Deadly), the first volume of this new series was a confusing but captivating introduction. Hexed: The Harlot and the Thief can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone story, but the many references to Lucifer’s past adventures, especially when she ventures into the Shade (a sort of limbo where souls go before moving on to the afterlife), were jarringI was left wondering on more than one occasion whether I’d missed an explanation or if I needed to read the previous Hexed series to fully understand the story. While I was immediately drawn into the world and was game to dive right in, it felt like this story only scratched the surface of what was obviously a deeper world. Ultimately, though, the confusion proved to be more intriguing than frustrating, and this volume had me both eagerly awaiting the next issue and wanting to seek out the original Hexed for a better understanding of Lucifer’s story.

Lucifer is a protagonist that will resonate with fans who love Buffy Summers and Harry Dresden. She’s a fierce loner who is always ready with a witty comeback, but despite her hard exterior, she’s always willingeven eagerto risk life and limb to protect the innocent. Her past is riddled with secrets, and readers will be eager to find out more about her relationship with the mysterious Harlot.

Nelson has created a fascinating supernatural world, and Dan Mora’s unique artworkangular, but filled with movementis the perfect complement. He truly shines when drawing the monstrous, hungry grotesques of the Shade, and he has mastered the art of drawing action scenes that flow effortlessly from panel to panel. His liberal use of color is a breath of fresh air in a genre that often prefers shades of gray and brown. I particularly enjoyed Mora’s depiction of the scenes inside the “binding frame” (the magical item that started this story). The delicate lines and muted blues and yellows were a pleasing contrast to the purples and grays of the surrounding panels and drove home the fact that the characters were inside a painting. If I have one complaint, however, it is that all of the (human) female characters look almost identical. It was especially strange that Val Brisendine, who is clearly intended to be a woman old enough to be Lucifer’s mother, was only differentiated from the younger women by her gray hair. Still, Mora is certainly an artist to watch.

Some graphic violence makes this title best suited for teens ages 14 and up, but Hexed will also have crossover appeal for adults that enjoy urban fantasy with a snarky protagonist. Recommend Hexed: The Harlot and the Thief to teens where supernatural horror is popular and readers have devoured Buffy: The Vampire Slayer but aren’t ready to move on to more adult titles like Locke & Key.

Hexed: The Harlot and the Thief, vol. 1
by Michael Alan Nelson
Art by Dan Mora
ISBN: 9781608867189
Boom!, 2015
Publisher Age Rating:

  • Sara Dempster

    Past Reviewer

    Sara Dempster is the Teen Librarian at Orland Park Public Library in Illinois where she lives her dream every day by sharing her love for all things geek with the new generation of nerds. She loved comics even before she could read on her own, and she frequently made her parents cringe by begging them to read Garfield strips to her at bedtime. She fell in love with manga and anime in sixth grade when she discovered Sailor Moon, then immediately started spending all her allowance on anime VHS tapes. In high school, she became a Western graphic novel convert after reading Watchmen blew her mind, and her current favorites include Sandman and Fables. She currently lives in Chicago, where she enjoys yoga, gaming, reading webcomics, and creating digital art.

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