Clowes, Daniel. Patience.

Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2016.

Clowes is probably best known for Ghost World, but he’s done a number of other graphic novels, too. This one is sort of science fiction. It’s 2012 and young Jack Barlow, who is scraping a living by handing out flyers on the street, comes home to find Patience, his wife, murdered. The cops decide he did it, and he spends many months in jail before they give up trying to make their case and cut him loose.

And by then it’s too late to start searching for the real culprit, but he spends a great deal of time attempting it anyway. Of course, he has no idea what he’s doing as an investigator, and then it’s 2029 and his life has ground to a halt.

Fortunately (maybe), Jack comes across a guy who has discovered or invented time travel, which seems to involve drinking a special chemical solution. And suddenly Jack is back in 2006, trying to figure out how to prevent the crime before it ever happened. And he finds out a lot of things about Patience’s earlier life he wishes he hadn’t known. And his short temper causes him to generally screw things up. Nor will this be the last jump to an earlier time that he will make before things come to a head.

Clowes is a competent writer, though only an average sort of artist, and the story in this one is pretty good. There are various plot holes — where does Jack get the old money he spends in the past? — but overall, it’s a successful book.

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