Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Re-Gifters by Mike Carey

Dixie. Korean dwarf fighting frog. 

Re-Gifters by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, Marc Hempel
Genre: contemporary romance fight story
Publisher: DC Minx, 2007
From: local library

Story: High schooler Dixie only cares about two things: the martial art hapkido and Adam in her class. But obsessing over Adam is interfering with her focus, her "ki." If she can get Adam the perfect gift for his birthday, she'll be able to focus and everything will turn out all right. Right?

Thoughts: What a fun story! I loved Dixie and her crazy family. As one who has been tempted to re-gift, this story shows the dangers of the practice. What goes around, comes around.

Re-Gifters starts off strong and keeps it up as Dixie and her friends are introduced right in the middle of the action. Dixie is clumsy and scattered. She's strong but not sure how to use her strength except to beat people up. Dixie's friend Avril, with her cheerful openness, is a great counterbalance to Dixie's spiky moods, and the other secondary characters are realistic teens with their own problems and obsessions. One of the things I like best about graphic novels is their refreshing brevity. Re-Gifters tells its story with no extra padding. It's fun but focused. Balanced.

The Re-Gifters' artwork is black and white. The drawing is loose with a freestyle, sketch-like appearance that adds a lot of energy to the hapkido fighting scenes. I was confused in one place where thugs tell Dixie to get back to Koreatown, but the buildings right next to them all have Korean signs. Maybe the Korean businesses are encroaching the punk's territory and that's why they're upset. Since I'm illiterate in Korean, I missed all of the hidden jokes, but I did like how the black guy was wearing a shirt with the Chinese character for black (黑).

Final thoughts: The Karate Kid meets Pretty in Pink, Re-Gifters is another excellent Minx title. I'm going to be sad when I've read them all.

Grade: 5 out of 5

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