Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Booknote: JLA: Riddle of the Beast

Title: JLA: Riddle of the Beast
Writer: Alan Grant. Various artists.
Publication Information: New York: DC Comics, 2001.
ISBN: 1-56389-873-X
104 pages
Genre: Graphic novel
Subgenre: Fantasy

I think that readers of Marvel 1602 might like this work, even if involves DC heroes rather than Marvel heroes. See my note on Gaiman's graphic novel here. Both works share in common the concept of taking popular superheroes and placing them in alternate places or times. Gaiman uses a historical setting (Elizabethan times) whereas Grant uses a fantasy setting. JLA: Riddle of the Beast is closer to stories by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Robert Jordan.

The plot is a basic quest story of a young boy facing his heroic destiny. I don't say that in a negative way; I say it to help readers get a quick sense of what the tale is about. It is a good story, and it is one familiar to readers in the fantasy genre. The art is very good. The strength of the work in terms of art is that each chapter of the graphic novel is done by a different artist. It's like getting a series of works in one volume. The result of this technique is that readers get to see different styles; these styles integrate very well to the story. In addition, the lands in the story are different, so the different styles help to enhance this as the characters travel. I think this is a very neat technique. I am not aware others novels do this, but I will be on the lookout. Overall, this is a work I recommend. I think fantasy readers as well as comics fans will enjoy it.

No comments: