GRAPHIC NOVEL: Razorjack: Collected Edition – Watchmen Colorist John Higgins Produces Harrowing Horror Tale!
John Higgins is best known as the colorist of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons classic graphic novel, Watchmen. With Razorjack, he bounds onto that rarefied level of creativity as writer/creator, artist and colorist.
In simple terms, Razorjack is the tale of a horrific creature – the titular Razorjack – who lives to destroy [and by destroy, I mean the universe] and the all-too human cops who stumble into her path. Allow me to quote from the back cover blurb:
“Three college kids inadvertently create the opening from the alternate universe of The Twist Universe and become a focus for the evil that is Razorjack.
Maverick cops, Frame and Ross, are assigned a disturbingly horrific multiple-murder case which draws them into what is potentially the final battle between good and evil.”
Let me just say that Razorjack is one of the best written horror stories I’ve read in a long while. It’s on those same strata as Joe Hill’s The Heart-Shaped Box, Gerald Kersh’s The Brighton Monster or Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
Razorjack is, herself, a disturbing sight – imagine a female Predator with a substantial bit of tiger shark DNA mixed in there somewhere and you’ll have the beginning of an idea of her physical presence. But looks aren’t everything. Ambition counts for something, too, and her ambition isn’t to enslave or rule – or even torment and kill. That would be too simple. Nope. She wants to destroy. Everything.
Consider, too, that she has the power to do just that. How can a couple of human cops even hope to stop her – not that they even know that’s what they need to do for the better part of the tale. And that’s while dealing with the Alphonse and Gaston of assassins!
Higgins has spent a long time getting Razorjack done [the copyright reads 2001-2009], so I’d imagine that he’s been working on this particular piece around things that have paid his bills. That might be why his human characters feel so human – he’s had to spend time away from them and when he’s come back to them, he’s seen ways to make them better; more interesting. He’s had the time to hone the artwork ‘til it’s – if you’ll pardon the word play – razor sharp.
More than that, he’s had plenty of time to work out the story – and find ways to portray its depths, human and inhuman. Razorjack has unique plot and a unique way of laying it out. Higgins’ art reminds of many other artists [Mike Ploog, Steve Ditko, Todd McFarlane] without looking like any of them. His color palette is dark enough to provoke shivers while allowing light to seep in at interesting intervals. He uses black like a scalpel.
There is nothing out there that looks, feels or reads like Razorjack. If you enjoy a good scare, it’ll do the job most satisfactorily.
Final Grade: A
Eclipse Review by Sheldon Wiebe
Posted on June 24, 2009