The Adventures of Basil and Moebius by Larry Hama

I was left scratching my head at what this graphic novel was meant to be: the blurb about ‘loveable scamps’ must mean ‘doltish man-boys’ and ‘adventure’ must mean cliched, forced, silly (and not in a fun way) storylines. The art was wildly inconsistent and the lack of attention to detail staggering. Something went very wrong here between concept and execution and the result was a muddled and boring attempt at sophomoric humor.

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Story: Two Brits meet up, each believing to be the boyfriend of the same girl – who is then immediately kidnapped in front of their eyes by the legendary Spring Heeled Jack. In trying to rescue her, they get her killed and join up later with an odd bird called “The Collector” who sends them on missions. Cue guns and supernatural elements.

If I was to describe this, I’d say someone took a blender and put in Animal House, Indiana Jones, and a book on English fables and legends – and here is the result. Nothing feels original and honestly, I knew I was going to be in trouble when the duo face off against Spring Heeled Jack – a legend I’ve read in not less than 10 different books (including 3 graphic novels) in the past year. I think there must be some unwritten rule that comic books characters in historical British setting have to either a) battle Spring Heeled Jack, b) meet up with Sherlock Holmes, or c)discover the real identity of Jack the Ripper. It’s not creative any more and it gets old.

The 1950s type pulpy milieu should have been interesting and added interest; however, the trappings just seemed to suck more life out of the story. The art was very inconsistent – characters changed appearances so much that the only way to tell the two leads apart was that they wear the exact same clothes in every story. Women were two-dimensional and poorly drawn: meant to be sex bombs but really looking odd and unattractive instead.

The logic was even more daunting to suspend disbelief – take a scene where the evil villain steals a train by ramming it through closed doors our heroes are behind. With the kidnapped girl on top of the train where the door remains would have quickly taken her out – AND she has time to not only see the heroes as the train speeds by – but also to say, “I knew you’d come to save me.” quietly, despite the din. And all tied up, she’s not even in danger of falling over despite sitting loosely up there. Cue guys arguing who she was talking to rather than being shocked or chasing her immediately. And really, if you kidnap a girl you want badly, do you stick her on TOP of the train or perhaps might it be smarter to stick her IN the cabin with you? It was just baaaaad.

I’m giving this two stars but have to admit I am being generous. I didn’t like the story, the art, the presentation, or the characters. Which is a shame because I know how much work and love, sweat and tears, go into a graphic novel. It all just felt so amateurish. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, graphic novel, Historical, urban fantasy. Bookmark the permalink.

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