by Dugomier & Clarke
Urbex is a mystery / paranormal graphic novel released at the tail end of 2021 by Europe Comics that is unlike any other comic I’ve read. The main characters, Alex and Julie, spend most of their nights in the French Urban Exploration community seeking out the thrills of visiting places that should be off-limits to most people. They take pictures on message boards and document their questionable hobby online. One day they visit a huge villa and their fun and games change completely forever. Now faced with the possibility of ghosts and other monsters, this is an interesting story right off the bat.
“School friends during the day, Alex and Julie meet in secret at night to enjoy a little urban exploration. Deserted villas, forgotten clinics, and derelict factories are their favorite playgrounds. But one night, their exploration becomes a nightmare when they come face to face with the ghosts of two young girls in an abandoned mansion. Alex and Julie are certain about one thing: they can see the dead. But what if they’re also able to heal the wounds of the past…?”
While the premise for Urbex is very interesting, the execution is somewhat iffy for a few reasons. The book introduces a lot of concepts such as a pair of ghostly twin girls that may or may not be real in a derelict villa haunted by a huge snarling dog that only appears at night. Ghostly visions of the past and present start to obtrusively lead the characters somewhere as if fate is creating a way for them to be psychic problem solvers or something. I was hoping for some sort of closure as to what all of this meant, but sadly the overall plot of who or what the villa is all about is left unresolved and a small portion of the mystery is revealed that seemingly doesn’t have much to do with the main plot. I have a feeling it all comes together in a later volume, but with only having book one, I was left somewhat confused as to what was happening at times.
The artwork is great and the plot has promise, so as long as the writer untangles some of the plot threads, this could end of being a pretty solid story. If I get a chance I wouldn’t mind reading more of this book to see if it all comes together in the end. If you like weird mystery books with concepts you may have never seen before, Urbex – Part 1 – Villa Pandora by Dugomier & Clarke may be right up your alley.
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NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.