Back in August, I participated in the Bout of Books 14 read-a-thon. To make it bearable and to make sure that I would complete something, I threw a couple graphic novels into the mix. Saga, Vol. 2 and Rat Queens, Vol. 2 were a given since I read the first volumes of both and enjoyed them immensely. I also included the New Spring graphic novel because I’ve wanted to try one of the Wheel of Time graphic novel adaptations for some time now, and I selected The Battle of Blood and Ink to round it all out. Nothing special compelled me to read this one. I saw it in a Book Outlet sale and thought the premise sounded interesting so I bought it.
I’ll break up these graphic novel reviews and do two per post.
New Spring: The Graphic Novel by Robert Jordan, adapted by Chuck Dixon, illus. by Mike Miller, Harvey Tolibao, and Joseph Cooper
Like the novel, this is a prequel to the books that make up Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. In this installment, we see the prediction that the Dragon will be reborn as well as Moiraine and Siuan’s induction into the Blue Ajah. Lan is also shown and we learn how he became Moiraine’s warder.
My thoughts: (spoilers)
It’s been about a year and four months since I read the novel version of this and I still think this installment was unnecessary. I think all of it could have been surmised from character’s flashbacks or whenever they mused on the past. I don’t think it added any pertinent, new information except, maybe, for letting us know why Moiraine and Siuan made it their duty to find the reborned Dragon but the reasons given for this were weak. Seriously, if two Accepteds could easily figure out the Amrylin Seat’s plan, then I’m not surprised that she died.
Regarding this graphic novel, I appreciate that it gives me a visual for the events that occur in this installment, but I don’t think it was well done. There were some inconsistencies in the story line because some minor things were cut. For example, Ellid dies when trying for the shawl and it’s only then that we learn that she wanted to be in the Green Ajah, but she wasn’t mentioned before so I felt a little confused there. Also, when Moiraine decides to leave Tar Valon, her seamstress is mentioned but we don’t see her visiting the seamstress. Maybe I’m just nitpicking with that last one but there are some inconsistencies that confused me a little and would baffle others if they’ve forgotten most of the novel.
However, I understand that much had to be cut to fit the story to one graphic novel. The reason why I decided to get New Spring instead of The Eye of the World is because the entire New Spring story is in one issue whereas The Eye of the World is spread over six issues. Despite the inconsistencies, it does a good job of giving a visual for scenes in the novel. We see Elaida helping the girls practice for their testing in her cruel way and we see how some Aes Sedais are punished. (Why must the women abuse each other so?)
As for the artwork, it’s okay. I’m not a big fan of it but there are certain things I like, for example, the details in the trollocs and the collages on the full-page spreads. There are some inconsistencies in the illustrations as well because towards the end the characters’ faces look different. Also, I’m not a fan of the typography used for the narration. It is inconsistent and the script typography in the early pages dazzle my eyes whenever there’s a bunch of words grouped together. I prefer it towards the end.
The graphic novel does a good job of showing the major events that occur in the novel but there are inconsistencies in the story, artwork, and typography. However, I do recommend you read it if you were confused by any events in the novel.
The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City by Jared Axelrod, illus. by Steve Walker
Ashe, our headstrong heroine, runs a newspaper that reveals the secrets of Amperstam, the famous flying city. The newspaper, The Lurker’s Guide to Amperstam, is treasured by tourists who look to it as their go-to guide for navigating the city. But those in power are starting to take note of Ashe’s paper, which they see as bad press, and seek to shut her down. Unwilling to give in to the government’s bullying, Ashe decides to write a story that will further expose their corruption and her digging leads her to a dark secret about how the city is powered.
I enjoyed this story. I didn’t know what to expect since I wasn’t aware of it before purchasing it and didn’t bother reading the reviews before I read it. I’m not going to say much about the story because I like how it ends and the moral behind it. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I think it has potential to be a series and when I was done, I hoped it was so but since this is a fable, it’s probably not. 😦
I liked the protagonist. She’s strong, brave, and isn’t easily swayed by others. I think she could have shown a bit more emotion when she loses her printing press (I’ll only give that bit away. I don’t think it’s a major spoiler) because it’s dear to her but otherwise she’s okay. The other characters didn’t stand out to me. They weren’t very complex and since this is a fable, I didn’t expect them to be.
As for the artwork, I’m not a fan but there are a few illustrations I like. My dislike is due to the illustrations being in stark black and white. There isn’t even a bit of grey in there. Because of this, some action scenes were a bit confusing to me, but I believe that the creators chose to use only black and white to further emphasize the story’s message.
The story is okay and there’s a nice lesson at the end. I’m not a fan of the artwork but it fits the story’s purpose.
Discover more comics and read other thoughts on the ones above
- Comic Books I’m Reading, Part Four: Graphic Novels (benjaminherman.wordpress.com)
- Molasses (Vol.1) (indiecomicreview.com)
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