Written by: Matt Molgaard
I’ll be completely honest: reviewing Lucas proposes a major, major challenge. This book offers a wealth of absolutely thrilling sequences yet plays a bit too faithful to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at least in the earlier goings, and often feels a bit disjointed.
The story focuses in on a family of cannibalistic freaks, anxious to turn a handful of unfortunate strangers into a full meal. But there’s a twist here that surfaces as a true saving grace. After about 15-20 pages of redneck insanity, a mysterious and menacing beast of a man known as Lucas makes his presence known.
Is this Lucas character a member of the family? Is he hungry for the flesh of the victimized? Or does he bring with him an ulterior motive?
I won’t divulge Lucas’ relevance to the story, as he works as the center piece of mystery. His introduction is smooth, and his actions are (I will give you this much) wildly violent. I mean, outright ultra-violence, that’s what the titular character brings to this brief tale.
For 44 pages, readers are subjected to animalistic outbursts that leave a decent sized handful of mutilated corpses piling up.
David’s writing is really rather unorthodox. The narrative feels quite a bit like an actual screenplay, yet there’s a measure of connectivity to the tale that you won’t typically uncover when reading an actual script. This is an animal all its own that doesn’t fit into any previously established mold.
Now, having said that, I think it’s important to point out some serious issues I had with the book. This isn’t a lengthy read. We’re talking somewhere in the range of a 3,000-6,000 word count, and when you’re offering up a product as compact as this, there is no room for errors. Yet, Lucas is loaded with grammatical errors and spelling mishaps. I wouldn’t typically nitpick issues such as this, but the story flies by so quickly, it’s impossible to overlook them.
This isn’t a 400 page novel, a story beefy enough to disregard a few technical errors. This is, as I already mentioned a quick piece of entertainment, and when you’re dealing with a story so truncated, these errors just aren’t acceptable. How these calamities slipped through the cracks is actually beyond me. Some brief proof reading could have easily eliminated one of the story’s glaring weaknesses.
For the most part, I enjoy Murdoch’s writing prose. He capitalizes on a creative approach, and at times, he delivers descriptive magic; some truly poetic passages await readers in Lucas.
However, the genuine star of this book is the eerily gorgeous artwork that Murdoch offers forth. I believe Lucas is being billed as a graphic novel. But it’s not a graphic novel in the traditional sense… at all. What this is is an illustrated novella… and there’s a great margin separating a graphic novel from an illustrated novella.
Maybe I’m stubborn, but I simply refuse to recognize Lucas as a graphic novel. It just feels… improper; almost deceptive, in a sense.
Despite the books flaws, I found Lucas to be an enjoyable read and a visual wonder. With some last-minute editing (I hope this one hasn’t already been scheduled for print as it is) this would, without a doubt warrant a solid 3.5 star rating. There’s a lot to be cherished here. That said, the technical stumbles within the actual narrative are impossible to overlook and that knocks a point off my ultimate rating.
Lucas, with a little bit of work could be an outright masterpiece. A tribute to Tobe Hooper’s legendary 1974 backwoods hack and slash flick, with a contemporary and surprising twist, this is a piece of artwork that does indeed command attention.
Would I recommend this one to fans of the macabre? Absolutely. It’s creative enough to keep audiences glued to each page, and even if the story fails to take a firm grip on your heart, the artwork really will leave you baffled. Murdoch’s skills as an artist already surpass impressive. These are magnetic images and any horror fan should find the visuals of Lucas breathtaking.
Rating: 2.5/5 (a thorough and effective editing sweep easily sees this one earn a 3.5)