Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 Is More Information, But Not Better, Than The Cinematic Twilight.

The Good: Character growth and development is great
The Bad: Mediocre artwork, Very unclear sense of movement through much of the book
The Basics: The Twilight graphic novel series continues with Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2, which seems to be more of a boon for those who are already fans than a comprehensive story on its own.

Not that long ago, I got my hands on Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 1 (reviewed here!) and I was, to be honest, somewhat unimpressed. I enjoyed how there was more to the book than there was in the film Twilight (reviewed here!), but I found the book problematic. The artwork was especially underwhelming to me, though I did like the few pages that were presented in color. So, I was admittedly biased somewhat against Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 when that crossed my desk. I have enjoyed the Twilight films more than most reviewers, but the graphic novels seem very much geared toward the fans. In other words, the lesson I am getting out of Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 is that it is not trying to get people into the Twilight Saga, it is attempting to retain the audience the books already had.

The Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 continues the story of Twilight where the first finished, so those who are just picking up this book independent of the other volume or of foreknowledge of the story are likely to be very, very lost. This graphic novel is dripping with exposition, but because most of it focuses on fleshing out the characters, it is fairly easy to forgive. Even so, the medium is not used in an extraordinary way in Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2.

Bella and Edward are now romantically together, so Edward decides that it is time Bella meets his family for real. After telling Edward the backstory of Carlisle, Rosalie and Alice (what he knows), and of his own history, Edward brings Bella to the Cullen home for a pleasant afternoon. As Bella backs Edward into a rhetorical corner over the issue of marriage, it seems their relationship has the potential to progress safely, despite Edward’s concerns.

One day, as a storm is on the horizon, the Cullens take Bella out to play baseball. While there, Alice has a vision of three vampires approaching and the Cullens try desperately to protect Bella. When the meeting between Laurent, James and Victoria initially goes fine, the wind shifts and the new vampires realize Bella is human. While Laurent is content with Carlisle’s explanations, James is a tracker and he has an innate need to hunt Bella as a result. The Cullens scramble to get Bella to safety while James hunts her from Forks to Phoenix.

Perhaps the biggest problem on the character front in Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 is that James makes almost no sense as a villain. For much of his portion of the book, he seems like a strangely monolithic villain, a villain for the sake of villainy. The explanation Edward and Alice give for why he is hunting Bella rings are terribly thin. Unfortunately, the problem is not solved when the “truth” about James is revealed at the end.

While the exposition on the Cullen family members is interesting, no one benefits from the graphic novel treatment more than Alice. The film version of Twilight eliminates the whole backstory of Alice and thus underwhelms the viewer on the motivation for James. In Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2, there is a mini-mystery which pertains to the origins of Alice. When James captures Bella, he actually reveals some of Alice’s backstory and that is interesting, if not reason enough to buy the graphic novel.

That leaves us with the artwork problems. And Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 is full of them. The graphic novel features characters who look more like anime characters than characters from a comic book series and as such, many of them look alike. Laurent, who stood out in the film version of Twilight is caucasian in Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2. That's fine, but he looks a lot like James and James, for his part, looks a lot like Jasper. With so many characters who look like one another, the lack of color makes much of Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 less comprehensible than it ought to be.

The other big artwork issue with Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 is in the sense of movement. The book goes from being exceptionally clear - like Edward picking up Bella and running with her in his arms - to very opaque on the movement front. As a result, there are moments in the book where characters do not speak, do not appear to move and yet get reaction bubbles like "!" that leave the reader somewhat baffled as to why.

Ultimately, the second volume of Twilight in graphic novel form has elements that might intrigue those who fell in love with the films, but presented in a way that pretty much undoes the benefits of picking the book up.

For other graphic novels, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Flight – Volume 1
Wonder Woman: Land Of The Dead
Lost Girls


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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