Titan Comics and Norm Konyu’s The Junction will soon be out and it’s good.
It’s a mystery.
If I hinted at what sort of mystery it is, I’d risk a spoiler, and I don’t want to. It’s safe to say The Junction has the same vibe as Stranger Things in that something weird is going on, and you have to figure it out.
It’s not entirely the same atmosphere as RPGs like Kids on Bikes, even though Lucas Jones, the centre of the mystery, is a kid on a bike or Free League’s version of Tales from the Loop. The kids have plot armour in those games, but they do not in Stranger Things. Does Barb need Justice?
Needless to say, with the artist and author the same person (and damn creative talents like Konyu who can do both), they’re a perfect fit.
The details aren’t often necessary. In art, people and places are brought to life with broad shapes and hued tones.
In the story, the people and places are also brought to life with sweeping comments, not lacking precision but drawing the attention only when needed and letting your brain fill in the rest.
There are some exceptions. There are some visual clues; the photographs and Lucas’ journal. As a reader, I found the first two-thirds of the 170-page graphic novel incredibly engaging as I tried to solve the mystery.
The Junction Mystery
Lucas Jones and his father go missing.
Lucas Jones turns up, simply knocking on the door one day but barely speaks. The kid is adopted by his uncle and aunt. His father is still missing. Cops and a child psychologist try and find out what happened.
The extra catch? Lucas has been missing for 12 years, and he’s not aged a day.
The Junction explained
I’m not going to give away what happens, although that is not the dramatic reveal.
We’re given a thorough walkthrough of what’s been going on but sticking with the concept of “details aren’t always necessary”, we don’t get terribly into “why this is happening”.
The person who solves the mystery in the story surprised me.
The final twist is something else, and it’s not a flash grenade going off. It can even be a little underwhelming. The Junction ends with a whisper rather than a pop.
But, just as Lucas was plagued by dreams and nightmares, I think the Junction is worth sleeping on. It’s an ending that lingers in the memory, and it’s an ending that keeps itself alive in your thoughts.
I found myself thinking through the “so what?” and finding the implications or concepts changing around. When I re-read sections of the graphic novel for review, it wasn’t how I thought it was. I’d misremembered or, more likely, pushed ideas too far, all to try to write clever review connections.
My argument is that any story which does that to you, that keeps you thinking, is one worth recommending.
I recommend The Junction to thoughtful adults and people who like mysteries.
Disclaimer: My copy of The Junction was digital, provided for review, and I cannot comment on print quality.
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