A world where nuclear deformed freaks try to live normal lives while battling everyday prejudices from the normals. That’s the setup for Dana Marie Andra’s graphic novel adaptation of Tom De Haven’s cult novel “Freaks’ Amour.” Although it’s interesting it fails to separate itself from the myriad of similar tales in comics.
A 1998 nuclear explosion in New Jersey turned everyone and everything (except cats for some reason) into freaks in what’s called “Caliban’s Night.” Charles “Grinner” Fistick is the son of one of the survivors and now he and he pals try to raise money (by doing “rape shows”) for reconstructive surgery so they can live with the “normals.” Meanwhile, his brother “Flour” sells illegal fish eggs that cause people to go into a coma-like state. That, along with fighting off prejudice from the normals, may be more than enough for Grinner.
If the premise sounds all too familiar, it is. It’s essential the premise to “X-Men,” every anti-racism movie ever made and every Japanese Hiroshima attack survivor story ever written. That doesn’t mean that it actually tries to be interesting. The tone the writing gives off is dark, edgy and it draws you into the sad state of the world the characters live in.
What’s also interesting is that each character has their own unique personality that fits with their name. Grinner for example tends to be more of the optimist of the bunch and Beef is this hulking giant of a beast.
The writing doesn’t help the story long as it eventually starts to drag along as new plot lines start to come into the fray. These plot lines feel like they were put in there for padding and seem to make the story more complicated than it should be. The main story arc of Flour’s drugs also drags somewhat as the comic goes along.
The black and white art style feels like it should be the only art style this story should be adapted into. In this kind of bleak and depressing world where everything goes wrong for every character color seems like a waste. It sets the right mood, it makes the characters feel more alive in black in white (if you can believe that) and it brings out the world’s ugliness more.
“Freaks Amour” is a middle ground story with an interesting ton and fitting artwork that starts to drag as it reaches its climax. It will not shatter any records or change anyone’s world’s view, but it’s worth a look into for the nuclear age/ anti-racism prejudice reader.