In Review: Wisher – Nigel

Wisher 1 A
As Cinebook complete or catch up with the French publication of many of their ongoing series they have been introducing new titles to their line-up. The latest of these new titles is Wisher which begins its ongoing story with Nigel written by Sébastien Latour and illustrated by Giulio De Vita with colours by Emanuele Tenderini.

In modern day London Nigel Grant is a fixer, someone who is able to facilitate others getting what they want, things that are not entirely legal. His latest contact is a painting forger called John Karfeld who during an otherwise normal meeting panics, gives Nigel a pendant, and runs into an Underground station where he apparently commits suicide by jumping in front of train. Police Inspector Grey investigates this suicide and informs Nigel that Karfeld has a hidden room in his home, the walls of which are covered in photos of Nigel, a revelation which makes no sense to either of them. At Karfeld’s funeral Nigel meets the mysterious Glee who appears to be a young homeless boy and appeals for his help but who then disappears when the police arrive. Nigel soon discovers that not everyone is as human as he thinks and that a secret government agency, MI10, are after him.

Wisher 1 B
Wisher is something of a departure for Cinebook. Given that all their modern-day series such as XIII, Largo Winch or Lady S involve, to a greater or lesser extent, some sort of spycraft, Wisher is a change because it is a series based on the supernatural. Faeries, goblins and elves feature while Nigel himself, the Wisher of the title, well let’s just say that he is able to give people their heart’s desire despite suffering from claustrophobia and leave it at that. MI10 are the be-suited and bowler-hatted agents shown on the cover who use fairies trapped in walking sticks as trackers to find the supernatural creatures that inhabit the shadier parts of London – think The Avengers’ John Steed mixed with Angel’s Wolfram & Hart. Indeed you could look at Wisher and see echoes of many of the current crop of supernatural TV series such as Grimm or True Blood despite it predating most of them.

Yet that sort of comparison rather does a disservice to the book’s creators. Sébastien Latour’s writing gives readers a fast-paced and twisty plot that takes both Nigel and the reader to unexpected places as we learn firstly about Nigel’s shady deals and then as he learns that all around him is not quite what it seems. He also throws in a few nice little in-jokes for good measure such as the banshee in the book, traditionally a female Irish demon, being named Eireann (which is Gaelic for ‘Irish’). On the art side Giulio De Vita’s work is lovely to look at – detailed, dynamic and slightly stylised to emphasis the otherworldliness of the many supernatural creatures that he is portraying without losing the reality of the London setting.

Wisher 1 C
Wisher is the first title that Cinebook have published by ether De Vita or Latour and Nigel was originally published in France in 2008. The series is currently up to its fourth album in France so while it is relatively new it has a reasonable backlog of books for Cinebook to translate. Like the recent Red Baron, Cinebook have to be congratulated for publishing Wisher at full French bande dessinees size rather that shrinking it to the US size that most of their adventure books are published at, and like Red Baron it benefits from the extra space.

With Wisher – Nigel Giulio De Vita and Sébastien Latour have created a modern-day supernatural book that gives the reader an enjoyably intense experience and, considering that it is an ongoing story with a rather impressive cliff-hanger ending, it is one new series that I will look forward to reading further chapters of.

There are more details of Wisher – Nigel on the Cinebook website.

The next book in the Wisher series, The Faeriehood, is due to be published in November 2014.

There are more details of the original French Wisher series on the Le Lombard website (in French).

Cinebook will be attending the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal over the weekend of 17 to 19 October 2014 where their sales table will in the Comics Clock Tower.

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Jeremy Briggs

News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.

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