Where the first volume of Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier’s conspiracy-noir tale “November” built itself on its mystery and jagged plotlines, the second volume ramps up the pace with a focus on characterization and rapidly rising stakes. Along with Matt Hollingsworth on colors and letters from Kurt Ankeny, “The Gun in the Puddle” is a tight and jarring chapter with impeccable pacing and stellar character writing that compliments the prior volume with a focused manner.
“One phone call for help and all hell breaks loose for three strangers connected by bad luck, a twist of fate, and a gun in a puddle of rain. In the middle of a dense criminal underworld, these strangers’ lives collide on one fateful and bloody night.”
Writing & Plot
Matt Fraction‘s writing on “November” Vol. 2 is more pointed and deliberately focused than that of the first part. Whereas “The Girl on the Roof” set up a larger mystery, this volume deals with the fallout of those events. There is a welcome renewed focus on the intimate lives of those trapped in this conspiracy, especially on the girl who found the titular gun in the puddle. There are a couple of meditative flashback scenes of her in childhood and they actually fit into the story nicely. Their quiet introspection delivers more humanity to a character we didn’t get to see much of in the first volume, and they’re a nice contrast to the other events in the book. As with before, the narration is poetic and works wonderfully with the art to deliver characterization. The dialogue, what little there is of it, is naturalistic and reflexive to a point of almost heightened believability. If you woke up locked in a trunk, what would you say besides whimpers and swears? If the first volume’s choppy narrative turned you off in any way, “The Gun in the Puddle” is sure to remedy those dislikes with a much more straightforward narrative.
The striking visual style in “November” is once again crafted by Elsa Charretier‘s unique pencils and Matt Hollingsworth’s moody colors. Charretier’s brand of character work and environmental detail in her lightly cartoonish style create the character-centered noir atmosphere in a manner that’s gritty, but not overpoweringly so. Hollingsworth fills the pencils with thick shadows and often all-consuming colors. There are entire pages and sequences that are bathed in one specific hue, and it works wonders for establishing the story’s tone. The visual aesthetic is topped off by Kurt Ankeny’s handwritten-note style of lettering. His take on adding words to images is admittedly a bit hard to read at times, but it creates a sort of intimacy in the reading experience that becomes an irreplaceable component among the rest of the visual work within this comic’s pages.
“November Vol.2: The Gun in the Puddle” is a tightly-paced and intense ride of a noir-thriller. Fraction’s more streamlined script in this volume engages the reader in the plot of this conspiracy while still allowing for plenty of intimate character building. The artistic vision of Charretier and Hollingsworth is a dreary yet gorgeous look at New York that is perfect for this type of story. If you were a fan of the first volume, then be sure to order Volume 2 from your local comic shop by its release date on May 3!