Mia Fleming hates Suzanne, her new stepmom. So when she goes along with Mia’s dad on his annual mountain retreat, Mia makes it her business to find out just what kind of person has wormed her way into her family. With the help of some friends, and a stolen addressbook, they find out that Suzanne has more than a few skeletons hiding in her closet. The suitcase full of cash and bloody knife in the ziploc bag are going to take some explaining, but they don’t have a fish whispering in their ear to kill whoever upsets them like her ex-boyfriend Daniel does. While what Mia and her friends do could be filed under the aegis of “dumb teenagers in a suspense movie” writer/artist David Lapham actually gives his cast more personality and depth than they likely would’ve gotten if this had been a screenplay. Not only are their actions easier to accept, you really feel for Mia and her sister Stacey when things start going bad.
Actually, the movie analogy is pretty appropriate for this title too. Lapham is working very much in the style of “Stray Bullets” with ordinary people getting caught up in twisted crime stories. In fact, this original graphic novel feels like a movie-length episode of a story from that series with its adherence to an eight-panel-page layout and grounded this-could-happen-to-you feel. There is no denying that the story and the way it plays out are very conventional, but Lapham gets around that with his suspenseful execution that wrings tension from even the most contrived scenes. The only real false note here is the too-cute ending which really doesn’t feel true to the creator’s style. If it weren’t for that, I’d have no problem saying that anyone who’s interested in picking up “Stray Bullets,” but isn’t quite sure about shelling out for the trades or omnibus edition, would do well to check this out and see if it works for them. As it is, “Silverfish” is still pretty entertaining though not entirely representative of Lapham’s best work.