Nicholls, Stan

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

2 out of 5

(2 books)

David Gemmell's Wolf In Shadow: The Graphic Novel

(Art by Fangorn)

 A graphic novel adaption (obviously) of the first book of David Gemmell's Jon Shannow series.  Three hundred years into the future, after a great flood wiped out civilisation as we know it, the gunslinger Jon Shannow travels the lands in search of lost Jerusalem.  Encountering farmers, settlers, mystics and cannibals, Shannow sets himself in opposition to the Hellborn and their sinister leader Abaddon.

There's lots of intriguing elements at play here, be it the post-apocalyptic gunslinger story or the magical powers which have arisen thanks to ancient secrets unearthed from Atlantis.  There's also a large cast of characters to get to grips with, who all seem to have engaging stories to tell.

The problem is that none of these elements get the development or explanation needed to fully and satisfyingly flesh them out.  There's simply too much going on and not enough time to explore it all in any detail.  Put simply, this is a graphic novel adaption that just doesn't work.  I've not read the original novel, but I know Gemmell's work well and you can tell how much more there is to this story that just can't be put across in graphic novel format.

So, lots of interesting but undeveloped element which just leave you with the overall feeling that you probably should have just read the full-length novel instead.

2 out of 5

 

Orcs: First Blood

An omnibus edition containing 'Bodyguard Of Lightning', 'Legion Of Thunder' and 'Warriors Of The Tempest'. 

The story involves Captain Stryke and the Wolverines, an Orc warband.  It was interesting to see the orcs simply as professional soldiers for a change, as opposed to the remorseless agents of evil they usually are.  The Wolverines become caught between their evil and vengeful former employer, the sorceress Jennesta, and the armies of humanity, who view the orcs as monsters and become embroiled in a quest to find the mysterious and magical 'stars'. 

Sadly, aside from the interesting new perspective, this book is pretty bad.  The battle scenes are repetetive and dull, in a needlessly brutal sort of way, the quest presents plot holes you could march a warband through and the characters of the Wolverines themselves are pretty unremarkable.  There are also times when Nicholls adds a particularly gory or violent scene as if to simply see if you're still paying attention.  For instance, there's one scene when Jennesta has lesbian sex with a woman, killing the woman in the process ('she climbed down from the altar and unstrapped the bloodied unicorn horn she used as a dildo'), and for the life of me I don't know what that scene was in aid of. 

Oh, one other thing that I did like about it is the subtle twist at the end.  Throughout the book we are presented with the familiar concept that humanity is the invader, encroaching on the territory of much older races, but Nicholls disabuses us of our preconceptions when he reveals that the humans are in fact the natives of Maras-Dantia and the other races are the interlopers.  Still, not enough to prevent this book from being dull and fairly trashy.

2 out of 5

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