Review: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland

Sunday, June 4, 2017
Title: Spill Zone
Authors: Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland (illustrations), Hilary Sycamore (colorist)
Genre: post-apocalyptic
Series: The Spill Zone #1
Pages: 224
Published: May 2 2017
Source: finished copy for review from publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.

The Spill claimed Addison s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death or worse.

When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits and it seems to be calling Addison's name.

Like The Spill Zone itself, I'll be brief, blunt, and just a bit undeveloped in my review of it. This new graphic novel can be a pretty inventive and is a very fast-moving read, but it fell through on creating any real emotion or investment for its world or characters. 

Things move too fast with too little clarity in both the art and the text about what happened before and what, exactly, is happening now. If you're the type of reader who needs definitive answers about inciting incidents or what or how the "meat puppets" exist, or what exactly that thing is chasing Addison... well, be aware that Spill Zone is the kind of book that provokes more questions than provides answers.

Good points:
strong bond between two orphaned, pariah sisters
Vespertine - a creepy doll? may or may not be eeevil but is certainly sinister and needs to be "recharged" by the Zone
interesting storyline hinging on a unknown Incident sure to come up in later books
sinister atmosphere - even with little narrative and unclear pictures
wolf-ghost thing with long-ass legs?
badass motorcycle adventures in mysterious Spill Zone 
weirdly memorable and unique

only Addie and creepy doll have any presence 
the art is rather... hazy? It can be hard to see exactly what's happening
way too shot; events are quick and sometimes rushed
complete NONENDING
seriously, there is no ENDING, the book just STOPS.

For the launch of a new graphic novel series, Spill Zone entertains in its 224 pages, but it also leaves something to be desired. There's a lot of potential for both Poughkeepsie and for Addie but later books will need to spend more time developing the world and its people to sustain any real interest.

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