Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Tony Cliff. First Second, $15.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-59643-813-2
Cliff pulls out all the stops for his first graphic novel, which he originally published online, pairing a wisecracking, death-defying heroine (“Guard!” she calls good-naturedly from her prison cell, “I’m escaping”) with a sensitive minor military official prone to overthinking when lightning-fast action is required (“Jump? Surely not! What about the other options? Are there any other options?”). The plot, such as it is, follows Lieutenant Selim as he is dragged willy-nilly into Delilah’s life of action and danger when all he wants is a hot cup of tea; really, though, it’s a vehicle for blood-pumping episodes of derring-do and heroism involving swordplay, artillery, aqueducts, piles of treasure, tyrannical Ottoman rulers, treacherous officials, and the occasional quiet idyll in Delilah’s flying boat. Sunlit landscapes, candlelit interiors, and nighttime explosions give Cliff opportunities to show off his splendid draftsmanship, while the dialogue provides a constant stream of sardonic banter (“Kill me with what? That rope? You’ll give me rope burns ’til I yield?”). Cliff apparently took five years to write this, but fans will hope a sequel doesn’t take that long. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
Release date: 08/27/2013
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