This was….a mess. To be honest, it was so poorly written, with plot holes and logic issues you could drive a mac truck through, that it was difficult to slog through. Characters as cardboard cliche’d as they come, the plot jumps around dizzyingly, and nearly every scene is stupefyingly unbelievable. Granted, it is likely aimed at prepubescent boys. But that doesn’t mean it should read like it was written by them, too. This graphic novel makes absolutely no sense. Worse, it isn’t even fun.
Story: Ange is just a happy, if bullied, schoolboy who is driven to school every day in a Ferrari by a Tarzan-looking chauffer. Seems his dad is wealthy from a Chicago fish business (Tuna, of course, because this is friggin CHICAGO (dear French author, please study US geography a bit more – Chicago is NOT by the sea) but there’s something fishy about it (get it? fishy…oh never mind), since he has more ‘uncles’ in his mafia-like family than most mafia families. Oh wait, and they all have Italian names and talk like Al Capone – just to make sure you don’t miss the subtle hint (but shhh, Ange hasn’t figured it out yet and is in for a shock *gasp*). Anyway, he gets bullied and turns into a giant tiger! Turns out, his father tried some mystical voodoo on himself but it ended up affecting his son. But there are people out hunting these mystical shapeshifters and Ange is going to be targeted for death by the FBI, the Mafia, and even the others supernaturals (because one of those wasn’t enough). But first, he has to impress his girl.
If I listed all the inconsistencies, this review would be far too long. Suffice it to say that they are so obvious as to be distracting. I can believe in teenage mutant ninja turtles living in sewers just fine, no problem, because they are fun. But that the main character in Klaw is so incredibly one-dimensionally stupid and dense makes him really hard to like. Nor are there any other interesting or nuanced characters to be found anywhere. From the girl love interest who had a boyfriend horribly murdered but is chipper the next day – to the mentor who adamantly refuses to help our hero attack his dad – then changes his mind in 2 seconds and says, sure! And let’s not go into the tiger needing a costume – it’s a tiger. There’s no identity that’s going to be given away!
The artwork is fine – serviceable though everyone looked like they were plunked from a Tarzan or Jungle Book story (I really didn’t like the character designs at all). There’s even a wink wink nod to fellow French artist Frédéric Brrémaud and his Love: The Tiger graphic novel. But yes, the whole thing felt derivative – from the plot to the character designs. The story reminded me of using Google translate from Japanese to English. It should make sense but comes out as gibberish. But most reprehensible: it isn’t even fun. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.