‘The Last Roast’, reads the title of the first chapter in ‘Crema’ and then… the next page filled my senses with the dreamy aroma of coffee. I could feel myself readying to fall in love with this graphic novel by Johnnie Christmas and Dante Luiz. Everything about the first few panels of this supernatural sapphic romance would be relatable to coffee enthusiasts with sleeping difficulties. Esme the protagonist is scared of falling asleep in the night, fearing monsters would swallow her, so she arms herself with cups and cups of warm coffees to drown all sleep. With too much caffeine running through her veins, Esme can see things others can’t….
The artwork in this graphic novel is lovely and the creators use a lot of warn yellows and peaches that add a nice nostalgic touch to the story. However, what starts off as an interesting ‘girl meets girl’ plot, soon warps into a muddled tale of ghosts, unrequited love and revenge. Esme works at a coffee shop and is enamored by the gorgeous Yara, who happens to own the place and wants to sell it. While the protagonists interactions is pleasantly adult in tone, the supernatural bits thrown in the tale is too child-like. You get a hurried story that might leave both sets disappointed – the ‘young adult’ readers and older bibliophiles.
While the first-half unfolds in America, the second leg of the book is set in Brazil, where readers get a glimpse of coffee plantations and a brief history of how Esme’s favorite brew came into existence. The ghosts in ‘Crema’ get a hilariously exaggerated part in the climax, leading to a rather cliched ending. But the art, the artwork is so good, it makes the graphic novel worth reading.
It’s a 3/5 from me.
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