The Best And Worst Of Graphic Novels, Part 2.

Now, I’m probably going to be mauled for speaking blasphemy for some of these graphic novels, but there are some that I couldn’t enjoy. These novels are entertaining, but I felt disconnected to them and believed the hype is considerably bigger than the story. Overrated is probably the best word to describe them. Now, these stories are considered the greatest in the medium, so definitely check them out if you can. Well, different strokes for different folks.

1. Watchmen

Alan Moore’s seminal piece is considered the absolute graphic novel. It was even mentioned in Time Magazine’s 100 best English-language novels of the 21st century. So it’s gain critical praise, and yet I didn’t care for the story.  The story is about an outlawed vigilante searching for the killer who is murdering former superheroes. He uncovers a bigger scheme that could very well obliterate the entire world. While the concepts were interesting, I didn’t care for the heroes or the villains. The art by Dave Gibbons was painstakingly detailed, but I felt the art was outdated and bland. Supposedly multiple readings will engage the reader, but I couldn’t even pass the first time. Hopefully the movie version will be far superior in entertainment.

2. Maus

Maus is an intelligent read that tackles the issue of the Holocaust.  Writer Art Spiegelman produced a fantastic autobiographical tale that won the Pulitzer Prize Special Award in 1992. The topic is very engaging and a personal account about a son’s desire to reconnect with his father, a survivor of the Holocaust.  But what disconnected me was the art and its depictions. The Jews are mice, the Americans are dogs, and the Nazis are cats. Not really engaging. The drawings are black and white, but the art was pretty rough and cluttered. A great tale, but the execution left me uninterested.

3. DC: The New Frontier

This novel is a tricky one. While DC The New Frontier provided fantastic art from Darwyn Cooke rivaling the dynamic yet simplistic art from Jack Kriby, the story itself was strenuously long and boring. The story is about the heroes during the McCarthy Age and their rise to prominence. It’s a semi-origin story for the DC Universe. It’s been hyped as a tale that returns the DC Universe to its golden age, but alienates new readers who haven’t any prior knowledge on the characters. I knew Superman and Batman, but many of the characters are obscure with similar undistinguishable features. This may have been a great read, but it’s mainly for the hardcore DC fans.

4. Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past has been renowned for setting the bar high. Writer Chris Claremont and John Byrne created unpredictable storytelling about a grim future. Heroes are usually flawless, but this tale brings the mortality and humanity of the heroes as the X-Men are thrusted to save their world where a vision of an apocalypse is brewing: mutants hunted by killing robots, the Sentinels. The idea is wonderfully brilliant, but I didn’t feel the grand epic feeling I once did for the Dark Phoenix Saga. Everyone dies, but I felt the hype was greater than the actual story. If anything, it’s an above average graphic novel. Better than most stories out there.

5. The Dark Knight Returns

This was hard to read as I was completely turned off by the first 20 pages. I couldn’t even finish it. The plot is about an age-old Batman returning to Gotham to bring the city back to justice after a long period of absence. He faces off with familiar, yet altered villains. So what’s the major problem: I couldn’t get past the art. Art shouldn’t be the criteria for a great read, but thia “stylized art” was rushed, sloppy, and too incomprehensible. Also, the character of Batman felt off: over-the-top violent, pessimistic, one-dimensional killer. I couldn’t see the greatest of this novel being compared to the Watchmen (which still had it’s intelligent merits). I’m sorry Frank Miller, but what was the point?

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