Review: Exit Wounds

Exit Wounds HC

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It took me much too long to get to Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds. I meant no disrespect to her or her book, though.

At SPX 2007, this book had recently came out and everyone was raving about it and how she was doing watercolor paintings in people’s copies of it and just generally being awesome. Being overwhelmed and out of money, I didn’t buy it.

And while I never forgot about it, in the year or so since, I also never quite getting around to buying it. But that’s where the library comes in.

Exit Wounds is the sort of comic (or “graphic novel” if you prefer to call it that) that you give to people who aren’t sold on the medium. This is a story for grown-ups. It’s not humorless or overtly dark, but it reminds me of what my mom would say when I’d ask her what certain movies were about when I was a kid.

This is a book about people.

Koby, a Tel Aviv taxi driver, gets mixed up in a woman named Numi’s obsession with finding his father — her lover — who may have been killed in a terrorist attack. As the story unfolds, both Koby and Numi begin to realize how little they knew of Koby’s father, Gabriel. Gabriel’s presence looms over the entire book, even though he never once appears.

Koby harbors a lot of anger toward his father; Numi, for her part, seems to have idealized the man. As they search for the man that they both actually knew little about, they do connect with each other. It’s a painful and beautiful journey. Modan never heightens the drama for effect — she’s just telling a story. The raw moments are always quietly told and Modan doesn’t shy away from the preposterous humor of these character’s lives.

Modan’s style of art here is clean and simple but still emotional, reminiscent the European ligne claire style. Her muted color palette gives the book a certain amount of warmth. She has a lovely eye for people and facial expressions, making this book engrossing. I loved getting to know both Koby and Numi and I want the best for the both of them, whatever their futures may hold.

I’d actually love to see this made into a movie (provided, of course, it was done right). It’s a beautiful story and I think one that would do well on screen.

Buy this for yourself. Buy it for your friends, comic-book doubters or otherwise. I really can’t wait to see what Rutu Modan does next.

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