Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Night At The Belfry” by Xavier Saxon starts off somber but quickly takes a dark turn. This graphic novel opens with a mugging, where 74-year-old James Ransom is robbed of his wallet by a young man on a deserted subway train. This incident triggers James to reminisce about his boxing training days, leading him to devise an unusual plan to regain control of his life.

For a debut work, “Night At The Belfry” is an impressive graphic novel, with an intriguing introspective plot and artwork that complements the story quite well. The creators employ a changing color palette to reflect the mood of each scene. The illustrations are simple, clean, and captivating, keeping the reader engaged until the very end.

Despite the protagonist, James Ransom, being in his 70s, “Night At The Belfry” is uncomfortably relatable for anyone concerned about aging or the overall nature of life. With a watchful daughter who monitors his every move, James feels coddled and frequently dreams of his younger self in the boxing ring—a tenacious fighter who always bounced back after taking hard hits. The symbolism is evident, drawing parallels between life in the ring and real life, where adversity may knock you down, but you must find the strength to rise and persevere.

It’s a 4 on 5 from me.

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