With things going poorly in the war between the Red Court vampires and the White Council, Harry Dresden has recently been bestowed with the title of warden. As one of the most experienced wizards they have, he's placed in charge of three rookies wardens, and the quartet are sent to a small town in Iowa to protect a group of Venatori Umbrorum, human scholars who help out the White Council. They are supposed to evacuate the Venatori to safety before sunset, when the Red Court is poised to attack. Due to the unreliability of the Blue Beetle, they barely make it in time and find themselves in a brutal fight for their lives, and those of the Venatori, against a legion of vampires and their human mercenaries. All they have to do is hold out until sunrise, but when Harry discovers the secret the Venatori have been hiding, it may prove more dangerous to them all than the evil horde outside.
War Cry is easily the best graphic novel in The Dresden Files series that I've read to date. It's the third original story in the series adapted to the graphic novel format and takes place about four months after the events in Dead Beat. As we discovered in that novel, the war between the Red Court vampires and the White Council isn't going well. Harry and three rookies wardens are sent to the middle of nowhere Iowa ostensibly to protect a group of Venatori Umbrorum, human scholars who help out the White Council. Once there, they find themselves in the fight of their lives with the Red Court, and also that the Venatori are harboring a huge secret.
This story was an action-packed, edge-of-you-seat, thrill ride that kept me glued to the pages. I love how Harry has grown throughout this series, and now he's been made a warden, something he never thought would happen, because he's too much of a liability. But with their forces severely depleted, the White Council is desperate, and Harry is one of the few remaining wizards who's experienced enough for the job. For much of the series, Harry has been something of a loner, but now he has his newly found brother, Thomas, who proves his worth and loyalty to Harry in this story. Harry also finds himself forced into a leadership role, but it seems to come naturally to him. I can't help adoring him for his sense of honor, which makes him feel responsible for the young wardens under his command. Together, the four of them, plus Thomas, make an unbeatable team, but it's a hard-fought win.
As for the illustrations, I thought they were very well done. Each of the artists who've worked on the graphic novels have rendered the characters a little differently. Even in this book, Carlos Gomez did all of the illustrations within the story, while another artist, Stjephan Sejic, did all the comic book covers. I think I liked Mr. Sejic's rendering of Harry just a little better, as he looks more like I've imagined him while reading the novels. I don't think that either artist quite captured Thomas in the way I've seen him in my mind's eye, though. In the novels, he's said to be almost indescribably beautiful, but here he's all hard lines and angular features, which didn't necessarily work well for me. It wasn't in any way a deal-breaker, though, because everything else was great. I also know everyone sees things in a different way, and having him illustrated this way doesn't mean that I can't still inject my own vision of him into the story. Besides, it's the story itself which is the most important thing to me, and that was phenomenal. It was so incredibly exciting, I loved every minute I spent reading it. War Cry is definitely making me eager for future Dreseden Files graphic novel offerings.
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