Graphic novel review
A war is raging between the vampire forces of the Red Court and the White Council - a war that the wizards are losing. So desperate are the Council that they've dragooned the experienced and the outcast to reinforce their thinning ranks of Wardens. One of these draftees is one Harry Dresden, Chicago's only wizard-for-hire and a guy who's long been looked upon with suspicion by the supernatural authorities. Now, he's one of them, and his first big mission as a Warden is a doozy: take a small team of greenhorns to a frigid town in the middle of nowhere to rescue a handful of mortals who've been targeted by the Red Court. The question is, why exactly are these particular mortals so crucial to the outcome of the war? The answer will come only if Harry can keep them, and his team, alive for one very long night.
Warning to reader, I do not have much familiarity with graphic novels. I read the Asterix and Tintin comics as a child, but that’s really as far as I got in the genre. My thoughts and opinions most likely will come across a little skewed, and while I know it’s not right to compare a traditional novel to a graphic novel, it’s the only frame of reference I have to work with.
While browsing NetGalley this week I came across this little nugget and being a huge Dresden fan I was quite excited.
Having never reviewed a graphic novel before I was unsure how to shape my review. Deciding the best way being the simplest, I decided to list it's positives and negatives. So here I go.
The lead-in for the back-story was handled very well, and having read the books I can't fault it. If you have never read the Dresden novels, you are given a good introduction to the Dresden universe so that the rest of the story line in the graphic novel makes sense.
The story throughout all 5 graphic novels was consistent and in keeping with the narrative being told. Obviously, I would have liked a bit more wording, but I know you can only do so much with a speak bubble.
The colouring and tones of the graphic novel was very good and highlighted the dark nature of the theme, as well as not coming across too cartoony.
The depiction of magical usage was not too flashy or over the top. When the characters were employing magic, it was restrained and within context for the action being portrayed.
True to form even in this shortened story line, there were a few funny moments that made me chuckle. During one scene Harry is engaged in battle but unable to use his magic. He does what I think Harry would do in the books - he kicks his opponent in the nuts.
In the fifth and final series of the GN we see Harry try one of his crazy schemes in order to save the day. This felt like a true representation of Dresden's character from the novels, and I was glad to see it come across in the graphic novel.
This is obviously a personal opinion (yes, I'm aware a review is always a personal opinion) but the graphic novel Dresden is not the Dresden I know or imagine. One example where I felt he was lacking was his Rune inscribed coat (which I will be honest I don’t remember if at this stage of the books was missing or damaged). In this version of Dresden his coat is not Rune inscribed, it kind of like Big Bird without his feathers, you know it's Big Bird (or a reject from Jurassic Park), but it's just not right.
While the dialogue is consistent as mentioned previously, it doesn’t feel like Dresden dialogue, its came across more Power Rangers than a scrappy, rebellious wizard.
One issue unrelated to the graphic novel style and form was consistently missing dialogue from the speech bubbles. While not a big negative, it did make the scene before and after there occurrence a little hard to understand.
The action noises (words for actions) used in the graphic kept reminding me of the old Batman series with Adam West - BLAM, KAPOW, etc. I'm sure I'm being a little picky but it just felt wrong.
Overall, the transfer of Dresden from novel to graphic novel should be one that ports well. The Dresden universe has magic, violence and monsters, just like every good graphic novel and cartoon needs. Speaking as a traditional novel reader however, I would say this is a nice interlude in to the Dresden universe, but I would probably still prefer to have read the story.
Due to the fact this isn’t my usual genre for review I will try something a little different for my marks out of 10. I will start at 5 (middle of the road) and remove a point for each negative and add a point back on for each positive.
Review by Fergus McCartan
6/10 from 1 reviews
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