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Julia - The adventures of a criminologist

Julia Kendall

Original title: Julia - The adventures of a criminologist
Julia Kendall, Alan J. Webb, "Big" Ben Irving, Leonard "Leo" Baxter and Emily Jones
Author: Giancarlo Berardi
Sergio Bonelli Editore

Country: Italy
: October 1998
Gender: Yellow Comic, Thriller
Recommended age: Teenagers aged 13 to 19

"Julia The adventures of a criminologist"Is the comic of Sergio Bonelli Editore released in '98 conceived and written by Giancarlo Bernardi, which you can find in all newsstands on a monthly basis.
The genre in which the author has ventured is a well-conducted and documented 'noir': he draws inspiration from real crime events and draws his resources from the most up-to-date criminology studies. The latter intersects, making use of it, important disciplines such as psychology, psychoanalysis, anthropology, sociology, juridical-political sciences etc. Each register of the series consists of about 130 pages, compared to 98 of the other Bonelli books. This expansion has allowed a Berardi to give a more incisive cinematic gait - typical in his style. Also thanks to the use of a diary - where the protagonist notes practically everything - through which the reader will understand the complex personality of Julia, the reality that surrounds it, the facts and the dynamys of the various crimes. Julia KendallJulia Kendall a fascinating woman of our time in her thirties (whose features are similar to those of Audrey Hepburn) and lives in the imaginary city of Garden City (a hundred meters from New York). The expedient of creating a fictitious city - as a background to the various crimes - has allowed Berardi to exploit a human material as rich as it is heterogeneous and complex, in order to describe the thousand facets of the different social strata without making mistakes and / or trivializations. The protagonist, precisely a successful criminologist, in addition to collaborating with the district attorney in order to solve the most difficult cases, teaches criminology in a prestigious local university: her lessons are remarkably successful, because the same it gives an interesting and engaging cut to the issues it faces from time to time; it also tries to establish a dialogue with the participants that goes beyond the mere and formal teacher-student relationship. Observing her acting on the field, we immediately notice tenacity, determination and meticulousness, but the salient features that characterize her work are these: marked sensitivity and intuitive ability. In fact, in the course of the numerous and engaging episodes Julia, making use of a scientific and rigorous methodology, it will search for the formal and social causes of a crime, nevertheless the hidden ones: the unconscious and traumatic reasons that push a killer to commit the greatest atrocities on his victims. To better understand it, I quote from his diary (episode N 1, 'The eyes of the abyss'): "For the police, a murderer is always and only a culprit. The criminologist, on the other hand, is also interested in how much he was a victim in turn. Violence is always the result of another violence". This implies that the criminologist tries to identify with the murderer in order to predict his moves. This is why Berardi himself, by tracing the psychological profile of the protagonist, likes to call her a 'soul detective'. Descending into the darkest abysses of the killer's personality means embarking on a tiring and agonizing journey; a journey that holds many pitfalls and dangers. However the courage, Julia's intelligence and above all his particular aptitude to want to understand, and not just punish, the obscene and terrifying nature of certain behaviors, will prevail. But who is it Julia in private? A convinced independent and single woman (following some unhappy romantic relationships), who lives in an elegant and comfortable villa with only the company of her cat Toni and Emily (on which I will dwell below). She loves cinema (especially that of the 40s), music (she also plays the piano) and literature (she has a vast and well-kept library). Especially in the first episodes of this series we will see her prey to nightmares and sleepless nights: aftermath of traumatic experiences of her work. As mentioned, Julia has the habit of writing a diary, thanks to which we will be given a vision of her thoughts, to the point of capturing the most intimate and fragile part of this young woman ... as well as a little of her loneliness. She and her younger sister, Norma, orphans of both parents, were raised by their maternal grandmother, Lillian Osborne (currently over XNUMX). Norma is an internationally renowned model - always around the world, far from the closest loved ones - with drug addiction problems behind her that have not been completely resolved. The two sisters love each other, but because of their respective jobs and the fast pace they see and hear little. Julia he shares with his grandmother his apprehension towards Norma. The elderly lady lives in a boarding house for convenience, she loves to chat - Julia goes to see her as often as she can - and remember the past, especially the days happily spent with her missing husband, Walter (world famous archaeologist). Lillian makes her wisdom available, offering her niece food for thought for her own investigations. As a loving and caring grandmother, he would like to see her happily married. There is to be part of the protagonist's everyday life Emily, a black woman with a turbulent past: she has had several husbands and as many separations to lose count; endowed with common sense, she is a nice guy, perhaps a little grumpy, and with a certain dislike for "the white man in government". Towards Julia she is very maternal and protective (she reproaches her for not eating enough and always leaves her something ready). Knowing the young woman's fears and anxieties, she often stays out of work hours, with one excuse or another, so as not to leave her alone during the night.

EmilyEmily is a solid presence, indispensable in the life and affective sphere of our friend. During the investigation, Kendall makes use of the collaboration of the private investigator Leo Baxter (owner of Baxter Investigation); despite being quite calm temperament, the scenes of action and violence focus on him. The same has an ironic and nonconformist attitude, despite this he is an attentive and prepared professional: in step with the perspicacity and method of the criminologist, with her in perfect professional harmony. Also single, he has a weakness for women (especially if they are black), from which he is widely reciprocated. Leo and Julia are united by a fraternal and lasting friendship, as well as by a relationship of mutual trust and esteem. Among the public and private tasks that the criminologist deals with, some are entrusted to her by the county chief prosecutor, Micheal Robson, a fifty-year-old with a polite manner and particularly gifted with the ability to put together the elements of a crime, so as to understand its internal logic. He also has his hands in politics, which is why he does not enjoy the sympathies of Lieutenant Webb. Alan Webb is another decisive reference in Julia's professional life; temperamentally he is a bit harsh and impatient man, he deals with inquiries in a hasty way (as indeed in interpersonal relationships, especially when it comes to the charming detective ;-). Due to a different approach on the field, the two are often and willingly engaged in animated discussions, which is amused by the good-natured Irvin Ben (also known as 'Big' Ben, due to his enormous size: a clear sign that his wife Rose is really a cook with all the trimmings!); the latter is the assistant, more than reliable and competent, of the lieutenant. While the central police district is headed by Clyde Carter, a black man in his sixties, who stands out for his composed and determined personality. Doctor Trait is the one who deals with the autopsy of the corpses: his reports are precise and infallible. But how not to spend a few lines on the '4 Morgan 4/67 white convertible Julia? Received as payment for a job, she causes the young woman a multitude of problems, which is why she would like to replace her with a less demanding machine. Except that his trusted mechanic Nik, who has been entrusted with the task, deliberately sends the commission back: his opinion is that Julia should only learn to love this splendid jewel. In the meantime he takes care of the Morgan, according to the cult of the car collector). Among the many episodes we remember the four books dedicated to the serial-killer Myrna Harrod, who after a terrible succession of crimes, will be exposed. But it will not end like this, given that the murderer will manage to escape due to a hasty intervention of the police: we will find her in the following episodes, more cruel than ever, and this time intending to kill Julia, for which she feels impulses of a contrasting type. An important note to make is the appreciable ability through which Berardi focuses on the serious pathological conflicts of the serial killer, as well as her homosexuality, without trivializing them. In fact, Julia will discover that these conflicts arise from the unhappy relationship with the mother figure, to whom Myrna was unable to forgive for having abandoned her for a man, when she was still a child. With the consequence that this trauma has degenerated into a form of sexual attraction mixed with a feeling of hatred towards women and therefore, in different circumstances, with acts of homicidal violence. Among the most successful Albi we still remember No. 44, "The mirror of the soul", which revolves around Julia's reconstruction of the death of a successful young musician, Elisa Perht. Even in these pages the author - not without the help of the skilled designer Claudio Piccoli, who was able to give the right expressiveness to faces and above all to the looks - has managed through Julia's ideas to introduce the reader, in an unequivocal way to understanding of the young woman and her intimacy: fragile intertwining of fears and anguish, absolute love for music, dreams, contradictions, fragility and loneliness. Furthermore, the description of the victim's father Graham Perht, a cold and demanding man, unable to give affection to his daughter, should not be overlooked. This month (April 2004) is on newsstands No. 67, "They called her Betsy Blue": it is the story of a pretty fifteen year old, Elisabeth Frost, excellent in school and sports activities, who is miserably killed. The investigations relating to the case will bring to light a series of misdeeds, such as to deny the prestige and good name of the school; one of these is the illicit use of photographs taken secretly in the girls' changing rooms. The narrative moves in such a way as to make suspicions fall on more suspects, only at the end will we discover the culprit: the apparently more harmless and unexpected one

Review by Helga Corpino

The character of Julia, the names, images and registered trademarks are copyright Sergio Bonelli Editore 1998 - Giancarlo Berardi and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.


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