GRAPHIC NOVELS
Crude
Orlando, Steve (text) & & others (illus.). Vol. 1. Image. 2018. 136p. ISBN 9781534308619. pap. $16.99. Rated: Mature. THrIlLER
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Piotr Petrovich Bilibin's son, Kiril, thinks his father is a depressed, milquetoast insurance salesman. He doesn't know that prior to Piotr's retirement, he was one of the deadliest soldiers in all of Russia. Frustrated with having to hide his sexual identity from a repressive culture, Kiril takes a job at the Blackstone Refinery—a factory the size of a small city, where workers are promised total sexual and religious freedom. But various factions are warring for control of the city, and after being drawn into the conflict, Kiril is killed. He may have died without learning about his father's past, but soon enough those responsible are more than aware of it, as Piotr infiltrates the city seeking answers and revenge. GLAAD Media Award-nominated Orlando (The Shadow/Batman) and illustrator Brown (The Massive) deliver plenty of twists as this gritty thriller careens toward a conclusion, but what lingers is their exploration of the limitations of modern masculinity.
VERDICT Readers might find themselves reaching for a notepad to keep track of the multiple groups and allegiances here, but a close reading is definitely rewarded.

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