Review by Frank Plowright
Jim Butcher continues his habit of titling Dresden Files stories by separating two words usually run together with Down Town, and again jumps the continuity forward a couple of years from the preceding War Cry. This is set after the novel White Night, so Dresden now has the apprentice Molly Carpenter to consider, while Chicago crime boss Johnny Marcone has become even more powerful and has supernatural allies.
After the step into fantasy land and Lovercraftian horror of War Cry, Butcher and Mark Powers have Dresden back in Chicago for yet another set of gruesome murders. As it’s how most Dresden Files graphic novels have started, this has a certain predictability, but Butcher’s using these illustrated versions as a means of introducing supernatural creatures not featured in the main novel series, and that’s the case here. However, he goes a step further, because what seems to be the menace is only a means to an end.
It’s been a while since Bob, the spirit inhabited skull, was seen in the graphic novels, and the version Carlos Gomez supplies (as seen in the sample art) is far more ornately decorated and convincing as something other worldly than the depictions seen before. He also draws a great menace. It’s supposed to have form, but be indistinct, and Gomez delivers that.
Since allocating artists that can latch onto what needs to be highlighted to make Dresden’s world convincing, these graphic novels have been of a certain standard. A surprise toward the end notwithstanding, Down Town dips slightly below that standard because of too many elements instituting a sense of deja vu. Some slip into spoiler territory, but avoiding that, we have the use of conventional weapons to end a mystical threat, interference and lack of understanding prolonging the problem, and the eventual solution to a desperate problem being the same as seen in War Cry.
This hardcover is bulked out by plenty of sketch pages and Gomez’s pencilled layouts, but they’re not a great inducement unless you love process material. The next Dresden Files graphic novel is Wild Card. Down Town can also be bought in paperback as the second Dresden Files Omnibus, which also contains the previous two graphic novels.