Tuesday, August 17, 2010

3 Graphic Novel Reviews

Joker - Brian Azzarello

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 128
Format : Teenage Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

A one shot graphic novel after the Joker is proclaimed sane and let out of Arkam Asylum. Jonny Frost is sent to pick him up and quickly gets drawn into his world which clearly is not sane! Since his stink in Arkam the city has been split between the various mobsters and crime bosses and the Joker has nothing. He has returned to claim what is his and he isn’t of the mind to ask nicely.

A whole host of villains turn up in the story including Harlequin, Penguin, Riddler and Two Face/Harvey Dent. Batman is always in the background and only appears at the very end. The Joker makes comment though that he is always watching from the shadows. He leaves behind him a wake of death and destruction and Jonny who narrates the tale gets sucked further and further in to the madness.

Dark and very well drawn. Excellent story and I loved the twisted ending which I won’t spoil here. A classic and you don’t need to be a Batman fan or have read any of the other graphic novels to enjoy this. Although perhaps, enjoy is not the right word…

Hellblazer : Dangerous Habits - Garth Enis

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 160
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

A one shot story of Constantine. Enis was wondering what to do with Liverpudlien John Constantine who has been to hell and back. Literally. He fights demons and is a poor mans magician and con man who although he doesn’t do bad will not be going upstairs when he finally kicks the bucket. Unfortunately that day may not be too far away now.

Enis has the radical idea of killing Constantine. He has always been a chain smoker and after coughing up blood and bits of his lungs, he finally goes to see a doctor and is diagnosed with late stage, terminal lung cancer. He runs various scenarios in his head and visits the few “friends” (human and otherwise) he has left alive before coming to the conclusion that there is nothing he can do. Instead he devises a plan that just might work, a way to preserve his life and miss out on an eternity being tortured in hell. Problem is he has to die first.

The film with Keanu Reeves was based partially on this graphic novel so I knew portions of the story. This however was much more explicit, dark and dangerous. Very gripping but best not to read it right before bed like I did as it may give you nightmares!

Saga of the Swamp Thing v1 - Alan Moore

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 176
Series : #1 Saga of Swamp Thing
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

The first volume of Alan Moore’s take on Swamp Thing. In the introduction he gives an overview of the previous comics that introduce Swamp Thing and his origin story as scientist Alec Holland who works on a plant growth promoting “bio-restorative” with his wife. His experiment is sabotaged with a bomb and he is blasted into the swamp covered in his own untested bio-compounds. And thus The Swamp Thing is born and he acquires a group of confidants including Abby Arcane, neice of his one time nemesis.

In the first few panels of Moore’s version, he literally takes Swamp Thing apart and recreated him. He kills the character and reinvents his own in a fantastic twist. Once he has established his own version of events which tie in with the previous comics, he is free to begin his new tale.

This was a dark comic and one of the best I have read in some time. I can definitely see why this is a cult classic. Written back in the 80s it looks like Moore has finally returned to the series and the collected volume two is out later this year. I loved the end twists and can’t wait to see what Moore has in store for the characters next.


Ladytink_534 said...

If the rest of the illustrations are anything like these covers then I'll have to see about picking them up.