REVIEW: Malice and Mistletoe

Writer: Nathan Graham Davis, Artist: Jack Purcell

Malice and Mistletoe is an odd book to read.  One hand crime story, one hand revenge story, one hand not afraid of an exploitation story and on another note, its a Christmas book! Now that is a lot of hands!

Eldon Carrillo is the kind of character that always seems to pop in crime stories.  He is a bad guy insofar as he kills people, but he does have a personal moral compass.  What made him like this? Well, we do get a bit of a recap, so you have that to look forward too.  Carrillo is employed by Mr “Don’t call him Santa” Claus to go after elven tot torturer Krampus and distiller of Mistletoe, a sinister whisky drank by the elite, distilled from elf blood.

Nathan Graham Davis has written an odd tale that tries to take itself seriously, but I have to say, I found it hard going.  The fact that he is trying to cover as many bases as possible, has the unfortunate side effect of leaving the outfield uncovered.  Carrillo is a man of few words, leaving the exposition to the secondary characters, which does have the benefit of meaning that Carrillo learns as we do.  On the flipside though, the characters do come across as clichéd throughout.

Jack Purcell provides pencils and inks and for the most part does an admirable job.  There is enough storytelling across the pages even if there is a lack of dynamism throughout the panels.  Regarding the colors, by Davin Pasek, what starts as sparingly used, quickly moving into overdrive when Carrillo drinks the mistletoe and suffers a hit of reds on greens to demonstrate a trippy experience.

Reading the book reminds me of Dusk Till Dawn, in execution; everything is going great till the vampires/elves show up. The book, for me, neither impresses as either a crime book or a fantasy book.  Mixing the two genres only dilutes their individual strengths of the story telling styles.

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