Review Graphic Novel Age of Bronze 2

Minggu, 20 November 2011

Age Of Bronze Volume 2: Sacrifice
by Eric Shanower (Goodreads Author)

While Trojan prince Paris returns to Troy with Helen, the Achaean fleet mistakenly attacks Mysia, then is scattered by a storm. High King Agamemnon gathers the army again, but for the fleet to sail, the gods require the life of Agamemnon's eldest daughter, Iphigenia.
Rr: Eric Shanower is writing and drawing a multi-volume graphic novel epic of the Trojan War. I read the first volume (A Thousand Ships) two years ago, and it's taken me this long to read the second (Sacrifice). I doubt that I'll pick up the third. Shanower has steeped himself in all the variants of all the ancient stories that relate to the Trojan War, and his account has an encyclopedic feel to it. But by choosing to pack so much in, Shanower departs from the spirit of ancient myth and ancient epic, both of which are fairly selective about what they include and highlight in particular instances and what they don't. Such selectivity is, I think, an important part of any artistic rendition of a myth: an author chooses X over Y because X helps him to highlight something in a way that contributes to his portrait of the universe. Of course, Shanower isn't obligated to harmonize with the feel or purpose of ancient myth and epic, but his account packs in so many Xs and Ys and has such an ambitious scope that it's hard to feel that there is a focus, that there's something he's trying to show or demonstrate beyond the events of the narrative. In Shanower's epic, we lose something significant from the ancient literature about the Trojan War, and I'm not sure that we get something substantial in its place.
On a visual level, there are occasionally interesting moments. But I can't tell his characters apart much of the time, and somehow in making his heroes look like "real" men, he makes them less real for me.
Ryan: Continuing the story of the Trojan War. This volume continues to look at the build-up to the war itself; there are some initial skirmishes and conflicts, and we see how close the war comes to not happening, as the fragile alliance between the different groups of Acheans tries to keep itself together.

What's really interesting here is how Showalter depicts the Greek belief in fate. We're dealing with kings and legendary heroes here - the types of people that you would assume would be strong, commanding people - and they're unable to move, or to come to a consensus, without a sign from the fates that their course of action is right, and without confirmation that the gods will be on their side. Often people writing historical stories write them as a reflection of their own society, but Showalter doesn't do that - he's telling the story from a very classical Greek sensibility, which helps to show how well-thought out and researched this story is.
Paul: In this second of seven projected volumes, Shanower continues his top-notch epic of the Trojan War. Considering that the Greeks never even reach Troy at the end of this book, this book could have been slow and plodding. Instead it is utterly absorbing. Put simply, I cannot think of any possible way this comic could be better. Some of the best comics of the past ten years.
George: What can I say? Brilliant! I adore this series which is one of the best things in the world of comics. The writing is superb. The art is consistently good, is sometimes a little scratchy. And the tale is gripping. I have written to Eric Shanower to beg him to keep going for the full course.