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Review: The Dresden Files Omnibus Vol. 1

Pages from DresdenOmniVol1TPWhen criminal investigations take a weird turn, the officers of the Chicago Police Department call in Harry Dresden! A wizard and private investigator with formidable yet unrefined skills, the young Dresden is more than capable of tracking down and facing the perps, whether they be black magic practitioners, blood-hungry werewolves, or worse! This first volume of The Dresden Files Omnibus collects three complete comic book story arcs, including the exclusive-for-comics tale, Welcome to the Jungle, the adaptations of the universe-defining Storm Front and Fool Moon novels, plus additional content set within official continuity of Jim Butcher’s beloved magic noir universe.

Unlike most genre fans, I did not become a fan of Jim Butcher through his books, but actually through his short-lived TV show on SyFy, about the uncanny wizard/private detective, living in Chicago dealing with weird cases and wizard council politics. I thought it was a brilliant show, whose life burnt out too soon before it captured its core audience, but what it did for me was got me sold on who Harry Dresden is and his very cool world. So when I heard that Jim Butcher was bringing his world to Dynamite, I wanted to see just how well it translated to comic books. This omnibus collects adaptations of three previously published Harry Dresden novels and an original story just for the comics, providing a perfect way to check out what’s been released.

In the first adapted novel, Welcome to the Jungle, we find our hero on the case of solving a mysterious murder of a local politician’s son at a zoo. Harry’s often CPD partner, Lt. Karrin Murphy, asks for Harry’s help on. What draws so many readers to this character is on full display here as Butcher’s mastery of urban fantasy is on full strength. He combines the best elements of crime noir and high fantasy. Harry has to pay bills just like a regular Joe, he’s considered a joke in the real world and the wizard world and always down on his luck, pretty much the archetype Dashiell Hammett originated. But he also has to deal with the “White Council” on this one, he has enough of sense of humor to charm his way out of things but can turn his “Badass-ness” on like a switch harnessing his powers through his runic staff, which makes Butcher’s character, an archetype all his own. This story is a great introduction, as it takes place before any of the novels that fans have come to love, basically who they were, before we knew them” book.

The next story, Storm Front, focuses on a double murder that reeks of black magic and a case of a missing husband who incidentally was messing with sorcery. This story has him dealing with all types of unsavory folks: vampires, junkies, fairies, mobsters, demons, and every type of hell only the mean streets of Chicago could descend on him. Ardian Syaf’s art on this story is beautiful with the right amount of pulp, which would only exceed the visuals that the average Dresden fan would have. A great story, that got the graphic representation it deserved.

The third book, Fool Moon, finds Harry’s life in a catastrophe, everyone seems to be mad at him, Murphy does not trust him, everyone think he is mobster Marcone’s supernatural weapon, and the White Council has their suspicions about his activity, while Harry protects the city against werewolves. A great story, which is probably the strongest out of all the novels that so far have been adapted.

The final story that is collected in the omnibus is Restoration of Faith, which was part of Free Comic Book Day a few years ago, and delivers in the same vein as the rest of stories, but not quite as satisfying.

As this is an omnibus, I can see why they put these stories together; I kind of wished they put War Cry with this collection, but maybe next volume, otherwise, solid storytelling and excellent art.

Story: Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Grant Alter Art: Ardian Syaf, Brett Booth, Chase Conley, Kevin Mellon
Story: 10 Art:  9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review