Now here is a pleasant surprise: a female protagonist in an adventure/action graphic novel story, whose wit and expertise carry the day. In Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, by Tony Cliff, the heroine — Delilah Dirk — meets up with Erdemoglu Selim (the lieutenant), strikes up a friendship in the midst of escaping one trap or another, and moves on to even more danger in her life as a freewheeling spirit whose never known to pass up the possibility of treasure, no matter how dangerous it might be.
This book by the publishing company of First Second evolved from a webcomic series that Cliff has been developing and publishing online, but I enjoyed the adventure book without knowing a single thing of the backstory of Delilah Dirk. Her swashbuckling energy drew me right into the story. In fact, I found it fascinating to catch a glimpse of her character through her actions, although Cliff focuses more on Selim as the psuedo-narrator of the story here, which begins when Selim is kicked out of his job because of Delilah, is almost executed because of it and then has his life saved by the story’s heroine.
There’s a breathless rush of action here, sort of like Indiana Jones, and the artwork is beautiful. We never quite resolve how a woman of Delilah’s talents conflicts with the mores of the Turkish society (male-dominated) but I appreciated Cliff’s restraint from developing a love interest between the two main characters. In fact, Delilah is not sexualized at all, although she is beautiful in mind, spirit and intelligence. Plus, she’s the most skilled sword fighter in the book.
And did I mention her flying ship?
There’s a lot to appreciate in Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant and I look forward to more adventures.
Peace (in the book),