Prime Cut Review Flashback: 2012 Eisner Award Winner-Green River Killer: A True Detective Story
By Nolan P. Smith
Writer: Jeff Jensen
Artist: Jonathan Case
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It’s no secret that the medium of comic books and their often-collected counterparts, graphic novels, can be used to tell any story in any genre. Superheroes are of course the most well known of tales that the genre has, but look at the success of the horror genre with 30 Days of Night and The Walking Dead, the television inspired books like Buffy, and you will see that comics can be more than capes and spandex. Take this book, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, a story based on the horrific Green River Killer and the men responsible for his arrest.
Story: It was one of the scariest times in the nation: a serial killer was on the loose and showed no signs of stopping. In the 1980’s, Seattle was plagued with these fears as the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, murdered at least 48 women, up until his apprehension 20 years after he started. This was a twenty-year manhunt, headed up by Detective Tom Jensen, which ultimately led to the confession by Ridgway of the 48 murders.
Jeff Jensen, who is the son of Lead Detective Tom Jensen, is the writer of this graphic novel. The book shines an insight on all of the hard work all of the police involved put into tracking down this menace, as well as a look into the mind of one of America’s most infamous serial killers. It also shows how today’s advancements in technology helped in pinpointing the murderer out of literally thousands of possible suspects. Jensen does his father’s name proud with this graphic novel retelling of a dark piece of American history, capturing the life of the characters, as well as the sacrifices made to insure justice was served for all those that lost someone to this madman.
Art: Jonathan Case provides the black and white artwork for this story, which fits perfectly. With flashbacks to certain years of importance to the more present times, Case illustrates the frustration shown by the detectives on the case, as well as the pure eeriness of Ridgway, the Green River Killer.
Overall: I think Dark Horse Comics took a chance on this book, being the nature that it is. I also think that chance paid off massively. This book showcases the artistic ability to marry words and art in order to bring a feeling to the readers not seen in novels and films. A gripping, twisted story that shows when something matters as much as justice, there is no such thing as giving up. Highly Recommended, I give Green River Killer: A True Detective Story a perfect ***** out of 5.