When Karrin Murphy calls Harry Dresden to the scene of the grisly murder of a local business owner, Harry recognizes definite supernatural vibes. As he investigates, a second man is killed while yet another disappears, and he soon discovers that the crimes are being committed by a Golem controlled by a mad sorcerer who wants Chicago all to himself. Harry, along with his apprentice, Molly, and his faithful dog, Mouse, set out for Undertown to defeat the evil sorcerer before he unleashes even more mayhem on the city. But when Gentleman John Marcone, who was providing "protection" to the victims, shows up wanting to handle things his own way, will they all make it out unscathed?
Down Town is the fourth original Dresden Files story that's been published in graphic novel format. It's a fun, action-packed adventure in which Harry must stop an evil sorcerer who has unleashed a Golem on Chicago. The Golem appears to be targeting business owners who've paid for John Marcone's "protection." Harry and his apprentice, Molly, along with his faithful dog, Mouse, track the creature all the way to Undertown, where they find its maker. Marcone ends up forcibly tagging along as well, feeling it's his responsibility to take care of the people who've paid him. Of course, the story ends in a typical Dresden-style supernatural battle with the four of them pitted against the sorcerer and his "pet."
I very much enjoyed the story and was quite wrapped up in all the action. The character interactions were great, too. I like how Harry, Molly, Mouse, and Marcone take on the bad guy together even though Marcone is pretty much a frenemy to the others. He helps out in some situations like this, but Harry and company know that, as Chicago's premier mob boss, there's always something in it for him. Still, for a criminal, Marcone has an odd sense of honor that can't be denied. I liked seeing him in his new role as Baron of Chicago, the title he now holds after becoming the first human to sign on to the Unseelie Accords. I also loved seeing Molly and how her powers are growing and slowly becoming more fine-tuned. It's cool that she has different talents than Harry that she gets to put to use here. Mouse is as brave and loyal a companion as a wizard - or anyone for that matter - could want. Although they don't play as strong of roles, Murphy and Rawlins are on the case, Thomas shows up briefly, and Bob helps Harry find the sorcerer's lair. Although the story was good, I realized at the end that the villain's motivations weren't particularly clear. I never quite figured out why he was targeting people under Marcone's "protection," or what it was he hoped to accomplish. He simply seemed like an unbalanced wizard on a power-trip, which didn't entirely work for me, so this is the reason I knocked off a half-star. Otherwise, I liked the story quite well.
The illustrations for Down Town were done by Carlos Gomez, while the original comic book covers were created by Stjephan Sejic. As with their work on the previous Dresden original graphic novel, War Cry, I really liked both their styles. They seem to be similar and complement each other well. I think I preferred Mr. Gomez's rendering of Molly a little better than Mr. Sejic's. In general, all the characters look much the way I'd pictured them in my head with the exception of Thomas. Once again, his face just seemed too angular for a man who's described as impossibly beautiful. Everyone else was pretty much spot on for me, though. Overall, the story and pictures combined to make a very nice graphic novel that was a great addition to the series, and I look forward to reading more of these in the future. Down Town falls between White Night and Small Favor in the Dresden Files series chronology.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook