cover image The Green Woman

The Green Woman

Peter Straub, Michael Easton, and John Bolton, DC/Vertigo, $24.99 (152p) ISBN 978-1-4012-1100-4

First the good news: Bolton’s painted artwork for veteran horror novelist Straub’s first (co-written) graphic novel is as uncanny as it’s supposed to be—richly textured, vertiginous, built around creepily mottled flesh tones and images whose terrors always seem to be bubbling up from their darkest hues. In places, his characters are so obviously drawn from photographs the book might as well be fumetti, but Bolton’s feverish super-realism gives it a hallucinatory tone. Unfortunately, the story (by Straub and Easton, who’s best known as an actor) is a straight-to-video erotic thriller with supernatural elements, alternately banal and incomprehensible. An addendum to Straub’s 1988–1993 Blue Rose trilogy of prose novels, it involves serial killer “Fee” Bandolier reflecting on his formative experiences as his final destiny intertwines with that of a weary but sexually irresistible detective named Bob Steele. There’s a lot of gruesome Vietnam imagery, a number of central-casting stereotypes, a modicum of purple prose, and several pretty young women in various states of undress and intactness. The book’s jumbled chronology and conflation of heavy symbolism with actual plot points do it no favors. (Oct.)