Peter Kuper’s The System in Library Journal

The System

By Thomas L. Batten
Library Journal

September 2014

Following a huge cast of characters from every tier of urban life-including an oily stockbroker, a love-struck interracial couple, a disgraced detective seeking redemption by catching a serial killer, and an international saboteur-Kuper (World War 3 Illustrated) presents an absolutely epic tale, all the more impressive for being sans dialog or captions. Inhabiting New York City at the peak of a political scandal, Kuper’s characters navigate a city in which each brief meeting or missed connection serves as another link in a chain connecting every life, escalating in some cases to moments of grace and in others to catastrophe. Illustrating in a distinctive stencil and street art-influenced style, Kuper manages to pack an incredible amount of detail into every panel, so what at a glance looks like a breezy read is actually incredibly dense and absorbing.

Verdict Although told with a relative lack of text, The System has the heft of a literary novel and should be embraced by both comics fans and open-minded readers of literary fiction.

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