Sunday, September 11, 2011

Graphic Novel early review: Dark Swan: Storm Born #1

Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Sea Lion Books (October 4, 2011)

Story: Grant Alter
Art: Dave Hamann 
Original story: Richelle Mead

Blurb: Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she's been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld's most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...

Our review: Richelle Mead's novels are always entertaining and it's great to see her stories come alive on the pages of graphic novels. I used to think graphic novels were a less respected format, usually categorized as just being 'comics'. Over time I've witnessed their change from merely being considered 'comic books' to becoming their own fully realized genre, one that is respected and admired. With the Dark Swan: Storm Born Volume 1 graphic novel series now being published by Sea Lion Books, we are happy to announce we'll be incorporating this genre into our blog for reviews and passing on newsworthy items.

Storm Born #1 introduces us to Eugenie (Odile) Markham, a self-described shamanic mercenary. Complete with cool body art, she carries a gun and a wicked athames, and casts circles to keep supernatural creatures trapped within so she can banish them back to the otherworld. We first meet Eugenie doing what she does best--kicking bad spirit butt. This go round she faces off with a tough Keres (a really old death spirit). Stuck inside the circle with it, she gets shoved around and even propositioned, which annoys her even more. Eventually though she successfully sends him back to the nether regions and heads home. On the way she checks in with her secretary, Lara, and gets a rundown of the day's calls. One in particular piques her interest--a teen girl has allegedly been taken by fairies, or as they're respectfully called here, gentry.

Eugenie knows in order to go searching for humans in the otherworld she would have to travel in her physical body, which is dangerous and something she hasn't done before. Still, the idea of a young girl in the hands of the fey upsets Eugenie. After sitting in the sauna and trying to do a puzzle, she still can't relax, so she finally decides to visit Wil, the brother of the missing girl the next day. He directs her to the park where Jasmine disappered and Eugenie notes the pathway forms a perfect crossroads where she feels the tingling of the otherworld. 

Grant Alter condenses the novel in such a way as to not lose any of the original essence and the dialogue flows realistically. I especially liked the bantering between Eugenie and Kiyo at a bar scene and also the scenes with her stepfather, Roland. I became so engrossed in the story I forgot this was a graphic novel and not a book. The pacing of the story flowed well, the opening scene grabbed me and kept me reading and admiring each pane until the cliffhanger ending.

This installment may seem short but it sets the foundation for what promises to be an intriguing series. The art is colorful, Eugenie's red hair is great to look at and not overly bright as in some other comics. I enjoyed Dave Hamann's art. Each pane truly brought Mead's world to life succinctly and quite impressively. Eugenie's facial expressions conveyed the right amount of emotion and she wasn't over drawn or portrayed like a caricature (like some females are in much of the manga I read). Storm Born #1 is a quick, entertaining read which promises more of the same to follow.

Rating: Really liked it.

Cover comment: I like the stark blackness and how Eugenie is to the right, athames in hand and her face says don't mess with me.

Book source: From the publisher for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the review ! I've pre-order this book, and can't wait to read it. I'm very curious to compare it with the book !