Review by Frank Plowright
Until now the Dresden Files graphic novels have followed the chronology of the novels, the first of them predating those novels, and Ghoul Goblin set between Full Moon and Grave Peril, but War Cry jumps forward several years, being set after the events of the seventh novel, Dead Beat. Much has happened, and we’re now into a continuity that’s sustained all but the earliest novels, with Dresden one cog in a massive picture. He’s placed the White Council into a state of hostilities with the vampire Red Court, his marriage proposal has been rejected, and he’s made a sworn enemy of the extremely powerful vampire Mavra. The situation between the White Council and the Red Court has become so serious, that they’ve done what they’d have previously considered unthinkable and made Harry a Warden of the Council and entrusted him with training young wizards.
He’s accompanied by them as he’s sent to a remote Iowa farmhouse to protect the inhabitants. It’s quickly very obvious there’s far more to the place than Dresden has been told, as the Red Court are willing to suffer major losses just to get at what’s within, and the vampire corpses begin piling up, but there are always dozens more. Think of War Cry as a supernatural Alamo, as Jim Butcher and Mark Powers have constructed a siege situation against impossible odds to protect something almost unmentionable.
Something of the Spinal Tap drummer’s curse applies to The Dresden Files graphic novels as we have yet another new artist, Carlos Gomez, although at least he’ll be around for the following Down Town and Wild Card as well. Gomez has that practical, but anonymous European style with instinctive storytelling skills, everything there in his art, erring toward cartooning, and knowing when to zoom the viewpoint in close and when to move it to a distance. His battles have the necessary epic quality, and he’s not afraid of detail, yet place a page of his between two others with similar styles and you’d struggle to spot the individuality.
Is it likely anyone will be reading War Cry without having dabbled with the novels beforehand? If that is the case, they’re going to consider the ending to the third chapter an extremely convenient piece of plotting, whereas Dresden novel readers will be cheering the bravado. The narrative splits at that point, and works to a very neat solution. The only way to defeat an unbeatable foe is to unleash something worse, but that of course brings its own problems.
One word of warning, if you’re reading the Dresden Files chronologically, novels and graphic novels intermingled, the final page reveals a secret that won’t come into play until the novel Turn Coat a bit further into the continuity. It’s a strange reveal, as the novel keeps that secret for some while. War Cry is also available in paperback, as part of the second Dresden Files Omnibus, combined with the previous Ghoul Goblin and Down Town.