August 17, 2010

Trade Up To A More Capable Protagonist Today!

While browsing internet, I came across a link to this website in the discussion of some comics. I rather liked the guy and his little impressionistic reviews. I spent an entire evening reading up on them. While I was reading through them, I stumbled upon this review of a comic called Miss Don’t Touch Me. I clicked on the link to Amazon, assuming it would be some expensive hardcover thing. But it wasn’t. I snapped it up for 10 dollars and gave it a read.

Basically, the story does some very interesting things, as alluded to in the review, if you read it. It starts out as a story about Blanche ending up going undercover, almost by accident, to attempt to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder. However, as the story progresses, it’s obvious that Blanche is not up to the job. She’s become high-profile in a bad way, and is too impulsive and emotional to deal with this problem. However, Miss Jo, a prostitute of questionable gender (Jo certainly seem much happier in the female role, as she never leaves it, but she could just be a crossdresser. It’s never completely explained, though everyone treats her like a woman, for the most part.) soon figures out what Blanche is up to and has the disconnect from the subject matter and the connections to make the investigation come together. It’s this switch of protagonists that’s so shocking. The story is, almost completely, from Blanche’s perspective, but suddenly, Jo steals the show, and becomes the focus of what’s going on while we wonder what might have happened to Blanche. It is in some ways a break of the general trust of the reader/author relationship, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. Following Blanche would no longer have given us anything useful. Someone else had to step up before she made a horrible mistake, and so someone does.

The characters in the story are fairly well fleshed-out. Most of Blanche’s nature is completely believable, being so uncomfortable in her new role as well as completely excellent at it. She’s funneling a hatred towards men and her sister’s murder into her dominatrixing, and it makes perfect sense and works out well. Similarly, Annette’s submissive, loving attitude and Jo’s sisterly devotion and willingness to use her importance to get things done is completely believable as well. They all feel like real people, and that is certainly nice.

At the same time, I can’t call the book a must read. It’s… missing something. I don’t know what it is. It leaves you with a feeling of melancholy, like something just didn’t click quite right. It could be the situation of the main characters at the end of the story, but I don’t really think that’s the case. There’s always a little something off in the tale, and I could never pin down exactly what it is. Still, it’s a good enough time, and solid storytelling. I don’t regret my purchase one bit. But I’d say, borrow it from me if you can, instead of buying a copy of your own? It may not be the sort of story worth owning, but it’s worth reading.

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