(This review first appeared in the June edition of The Edge of the Forest)

Three Shadows
By Cyril Pedrosa
First Second
ISBN: 9781596432390
$15.95
Grades 9 & Up
In Stores

*Recommended*

Graphic novels that set out to tackle tough subjects have their work cut out for them. Fair or not, graphic novels often come with the presumption that excitement and fun are contained within. GNs that can tastefully handle heavy emotional content are worth noticing. “Three Shadows” is one such book. Written in response to the death of a friend’s child, Cyril Pedrosa confronts fate and grief with affecting results.

Joachim is an only child living with his mother and father in the countryside. Their life together is a happy one until three mysterious horsemen appear, ominously watching their goings on. Joachim’s mother decides to consult the town exorcist, who foresees a grim future: the horsemen have come for their child and there is nothing that can be done. Upon hearing this news, Joachim’s father takes his son and steals away on a last ditch effort to allude fate. Their travels take them across rough seas and into contact with an old man who offers to solve all their problems for a price. But even that cannot change the inevitable.

French writer and artist Pedrosa honed his skills on Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Hercules”. This influence is apparent his fluidly exaggerated illustrations. They add to the mood of tension that is tangeble throughout. The heavy subject matter and very “French” depictions of innocent nudity make “Three Shadows” most appropriate for mature readers. A moving graphic novel.

Also reviewed by A Fuse #8 Production, Boing Boing, Panels and Pixels.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.