Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Graphic Novel Review | "Doctor Who" #1

"Legends tell of the planet Gallifrey, born before the dark time, home of the most powerful beings in the cosmos.

By harnessing the powers of a black hole, they traveled in time. They became benign gods of the universe.

Learned and responsible, they observed the universe, understanding causal effect, and monitoring and protecting the fragile web of time.

But there was a war. A terrible, devastating war, which they were party to...and in one second, Gallifrey, the time lords, a many planets, systems, and galaxies were consumed. Gone forever as the universe itself collapsed. "

What would you do if you were the only survivor of this great race of Time Lords from Gallifrey? What if you were The Doctor - one who can instill fear, respect, love and admiration all at once? What would you do to carry on your heritage and protect the time stream from the many demons out there?

Go on a hunt for the best chocolate milkshake in the known cosmos, that's what!

With the success of the BBC television series, Doctor Who is back in business - albeit in the color panels of a graphic novel series from IDW publishing. This series follows the escapades of the 10th doctor and his companion, the Brit Martha Jones, in the "Time and Relative Dimension in Space" (TARDIS) vehicle shaped like a London police box.

The storytelling and art are typical - tongue-in-cheek humour interspersed with some interesting gadgets, trans-dimensional villains, and of course the really tough choices: "Dark or Milk?", "Belgian or Swiss?" - milkshakes that is.

Not everything is fun and milky joy for the Doctor and his companion of course - they must face off against a villain, Sycorax, intent of collecting the Doctor to use him as prey for Sycorax's clients who like to hunt species on the verge of extinction. Sycorax himself is the paradigm of elegance, exuding class with menace, all the while mouthing lines such as, "Sycorax strong, humans weak, that is why we rock!"

This new graphic novel adaptation of the classic Doctor Who series keeps the spirit of the original television series and books alive. It has enough gadgetry, humour and thrill to keep us involved. The book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger in London. While this was the first of the series, I would definitely love to get my hands on the remaining books.


Graphic Novel Review | "Therefore Repent" by Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam

"The Rapture is the name given to a future event in which Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven,"

What if the rapture went from being mythology to reality? So if you were living a "saintly" life as deemed by God, you would be led into heaven by the Son of God himself. If the rapture event came to pass, and if you were one of the folks left behind, how would you feel? Would you feel like a complete schmuck for either not believing in Christianity, or worse, being a Christian and not living a "saintly" life?

"accompanied by the spirits of all the saints of God, both from the pre-incarnation period and after, who have passed on prior to this event,"

"Therefore Repent", released in the United States by IDW publishing, is set in such a world - in a time after the Rapture has taken place. Those that remain, either were not "invited" to join in, chose to remain, or worse, could not get outdoors in time to be drawn up into heaven! People left behind either spend their time in "repenting" and trying to lead good lives so that they are part of the rapture the next time around, or just watching the world go to hell.

"and then the bodily remains of these saints are transported from the Earth to meet the Lord and be rejoined with their corresponding spirits in the air."

Before you go, "not another one of those morality tales telling us that we should live good lives for the promise of heaven, etc." read on a bit. Matters are not as they seem and there is more to the rapture event than meets the eye. Munroe and Sam have some sharp wit running through the story, and particularly towards the end, where everything is revealed. They are able to twist a morality tale into one with sharp humor and witty undertones. Along the way the story takes somewhat weird turns, such as talking dogs, ravens, third eyes, commando angels, and a real kinky method for email transmissions.

"Immediately after this, all Christians alive on the earth are simultaneously transported to meet the Lord and those who have preceded them in the air. "

They all push you towards the climax that will leave you either really laughing your head off, or forcing you to think deep and do some soul searching as regards religion, life, etc. - worse, it could make you do both!

The art is in stark black and white with some great paneling. It brings out the mood for the book depending on what your mood is - dark undertones for a gloomy world, or a representation of the dark humor that is prevalent throughout the book.

" All are transformed into immortal bodies like Jesus' body, often referred to as the "resurrection body".

It is a good read - something that definitely forces a double take on organized religion and also makes for a good laugh. It is interesting that the book starts with a quote from Revelation 2:16:

"Therefore Repent! If you do not, I will come to you soon and fight against them with the sword of my mouth"