Showing posts with label Nate Powell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nate Powell. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Robert Vendetti, Nate Powell

Rating: WARTY!

This graphic novel is in the Percy Jackson world, but features a different main character named Jason, who wakes up on a school bus on a trip to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is as scary as it is awesome. Jason cannot remember who he is, although two friends, Leo and Piper (I'm sorry, but I can't take that name seriously. I just can't. I apologize to all who are named Piper, but I cannot. Honestly). Of course these kids are demigods as they soon discover, and all three are sent on a quest for a missing goddess, because gods are useless, and they're flying on a bronze dragon....

Riordan has carved out a fine empire with his take on Greek mythology, but it has singularly failed to impress me. I rather liked the first movie made from these books, The Lightning Thief, but I didn't like the second one and I didn't liked the book that gave rise to that first movie either! Nor have I liked an adult-oriented detective story of his, so I guess I'm done with this author!

My problem with this was several-fold. While Robert Vendetti's adaptation of the original was passable (and perhaps better than the original since it was shorter!), Nate Powell's art work left a lot to be desired. It felt slapdash and hasty. The biggest problem as usual, though, was the overall story. It felt choppy and staccato, and not a lot of it made sense. I don't know if this mirrors the original novel, or if this came about as part of the translation to graphic. All the evil villains had horrible faces or horrible expressions on the faces, and pointy teeth, so cheap stereotype found lucrative employment here.

Conversely, all the good guys have the looks of runway models. In fact, frequently we're taught in this book that women are only really worth anything if they're beautiful, No other quality comes close: not intelligence, not loyalty, nor diligence, industriousness, reliability, bravery, strength (mental or physical). Nope. The only thing a girl can offer is good looks, otherwise she's pretty much worthless. I resent that. Anyone who actually knows women (and it would seem that Riordan doesn't if he's judged by his writing) knows that their true beauty, just as in men, comes from the inside, not from the shallow depth of their skin.

I also didn't like that Riordan's world is pretty much whites only. Yeah, you can try arguing that it's based on ancient Greece which was a largely white world, but since Riordan abandoned Greece in favor of the USA, I think you can argue that he also abandoned excuses and he lost that high ground. I mean why base a novel rooted in Greek mythology actually in Greece when it can be based in the only country in the world worth writing about: the great US of A? The hell with the Greeks. The hell with native American mythology, let's and for no reason at all, simply migrate Greek mythology wholesale to the US! Steal the mythology, but god forbid any of the stories should ever take place outside the US.

The problem with a world like this - or any paranormal world is that you have to have some sort of intelligent framework behind it, to have it work in a coherent fashion, otherwise literally anything could happen and all smart plotting is out the window. I didn't see any framework here. The one consistent thing we learn here is how utterly useless gods are - of any stripe,. It doesn't matter if the god is Roman, Greek, Egyptian, biblical, Norse, or whatever, not a single one of these gods is worth anything! They're always begging us poor, weak, condemned, sinful, worthless humans to help them out! What's the heck is up with that? Why would any god worthy of the name need anyone's help?

So, to cut a long story short, as indeed did the the guy who adapted this, I can't recommend this graphic novel, It had no substance and really delivered no worthwhile story.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

March Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

Rating: WORTHY!

It's easy to think this is water under the bridge now, but it's just as hard to believe that even as recently as the 1960's (and beyond) there was hateful segregation and discrimination based on skin color. It was there nevertheless, and this graphic novel tells the story of one man's perspective on the efforts of himself and others to overthrow it. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale of segregated buses, segregated education, segregated drinking fountains, segregated rest-rooms and segregated lunch counters. He was there at the protests and organized many of them.

Congressman John Robert Lewis worked with Andrew Aydin who at the time of publication at least in 2013, served in Lewis's DC office handling media and telecommunications, and with Nat Powell, a graphic novelist, to recount Lewis's story of his childhood, early upbringing, his striving for an education, and finally his involvement with civil rights and with Ghandi-style peaceful protests and passive resistance. It cost these people their comfort, their dignity at times, and it brought them physical violence, but they stuck with it, their numbers grew, and they won out in the end. The sad thing is that they should never have had to fight at all, not even passively.

It's just as important now to recall what they did and what they won, when police profiling and white-cop-on-black-citizen violence seems repeatedly to flare-up in the news, as it was for these people and their white supporters to take a stand against this evil and outsmart it. That's precisely why this novel isn't water under the bridge and why it, or something lie this if you chose a different publication or medium to refresh you mind on this topic is eminently worth your time. In this particular case, the artwork is interestingly done in black and white, which only serves to highlight the divide that still exists in so many ways.

I have one interesting and amusing coincidence which happened when I opened this to read it and I think it's worth relating. The image colors were reversed when I first started reading: the white page was black and the black line drawings were white! At first I thought it was a glitch in the download, but then I realized that my iPad was set for night reading, which reverses the colors and conserves battery power. I recommend it, but when I realized what had happened, I thought, "How poetic this is!" And what a great shift in perspective this gave for my starting to read this novel. I found myself switching the back-lighting as I read, so different sections came to me in reversed colors. I recommend you try it when you read it. It never hurts to get a kick in the head and realize we're on two sides of the same coin and we either make it together or we have no currency.