In Odd We Trust

I'm not too sure what to say about this one. Odd Thomas is a brilliant book, and one of my favorites. It's had some good-but-not-as-good-as-the-original sequels. But now it's traveled into new territory: the graphic novel. In Odd We Trust is a prequel to the first book, and fits into the same level as the sequels (not quite as good as the first).

The story here is that Odd Thomas, a young fry cook who can see the dead (though they don't speak), who tries to help them either pass on or seek vengeance, gets caught up in yet another caper. A young boy gets brutally murdered, and it seems that some kind of crazy stalker/child-murderer is responsible. So now Odd, along with soul-mate Stormy Llewellyn, just has a few days to find and stop the man before he strikes again. But things aren't looking that easy.
 

     What was most interesting about the graphic novel was the fact that it had to give a face to what was, in essence, a faceless character. The novels are in first-person, and no description of Odd is ever really given, except that he's handsome without being stunningly so and that he's basically an everyman. The face given to him in this still doesn't quite meet my expectations of how he's supposed to look. Stormy, on the other hand, got really close. And while I didn't dislike Chief Wyatt Porter's look, he's supposed to be older and fat. In this, he's only older. And I was disappointed that Ozzie didn't make an appearance. I would have loved to see him. But otherwise, the art style, while not original or groundbreaking (it's basic manga style), is nice to look at (though sometimes awkward, as characters don't look like themselves when at specific angles).

     One of the key elements from the books is the humor. The books are very witty and really funny, most of the time because of the first-person narration (though from the dialogue, as well). Because this is a graphic novel, it was really hard to get that humor down in the same kind of way. The second half of the book did it a lot better than the first half. The first half seemed to be just cheesy and stilted. Even the normal dialogue seemed awkward and forced. It didn't feel right or natural.

     But the biggest issue with this graphic novel was the pacing. The pacing at the beginning was fine, but then every now and then, usually when the bad guy would show up, things would just start rushing before it abruptly ended. The ending also felt nearly anti-climactic. There's all this build-up, and while the ending is funny, it just came off as (using writing terms) telling instead of showing. And I know that doesn't exactly work with graphic novels, as you do see it, but you see it with a very brief, narrated flashback with short-detailed descriptions of what happened. It's over in about one or two pages. Now maybe it's just the form of the graphic novel that I'm not used to, but after I finished it (rather quickly, in a little less than 2 hours), I almost felt like "That's it?" It could have used more bulk/meat to it, I thought.

     There's a great attention to detail from the books that otherwise wouldn't even be noticed by those unacquainted with the series—for instance, the fortune teller's fortune for Odd and Stormy on the plaque on Odd's wall in the background. I really liked that. Overall, if you're a fan of the books, much like the sequels, I'd recommend checking it out. However, if you've not read at least the first Odd Thomas book, I'd suggest reading that one before delving into In Odd We Trust (as it'll add an entire other level of meaning, understanding, and/or emotion to this graphic novel. Not to mention it's just better).

Reviewed by: Nick