Review – Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

By Mike Mignola and John Byrne

Dark Horse Books

ISBN: 1-59307-094-2

3.75 stars

I don’t know where to start with this so please be patient.  It’ll probably be short anyway…not for lack of enjoyment or appeal but more from the fact that, as I said, I don’t know where to start.

Hellboy, on a trip back to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, finds Professor Bruttenholm struggling to remember something.  Before he is able to explain his thoughts to Hellboy, an attack takes place killing the Professor and sending Hellboy and his cohorts, Elizabeth Sherman and Abraham Sapien, on a dangerous mission that answers no questions and leaves them knowing more terror is to come.

I don’t read graphic novels nearly enough and I’ll even admit to buying most of those currently in our house knowing my husband likes them but really what I’m looking for is an excuse to buy more of them because I think they’re cool.  I have a not so secret love of the Hellboy movies and this one is the basis for the Hellboy II: The Golden Army movie although I will say that a lot is imagined in the movie because this one is rather bare on the details.  I’m all right with that and can see what was used and what was ditched.  I know there are a lot of bloggers out there that don’t like movie adaptations of books but with a graphic novel, I think you have to allow more leeway.

The artwork is done well but I don’t feel the horror that it’s supposed to inspire, hence the only 3.75 stars.  It does give you the same destructive feel that is always present with Hellboy though and I like that this personality trait came through.  If you aren’t familiar with these characters, I’m not sure this is a good starting place although this is the first in this particular series storyline but not the comic series itself.  Actually, that’s just what I think; I didn’t Google that so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  Without much background, you’re dropped in and moved along at a fast pace.  I enjoyed that but can see how it might induce confusion.

If you’re familiar with the story and characters, or share my guilty pleasure for the movies, I’d recommend this one.

Review – The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

By Diana Gabaldon

Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

Ballantine Books

ISBN: 978-0-345-50538-5

3.5 stars

The Exile is Outlander from Jamie Fraser’s point of view.  Being a graphic novel, it took me a few pages to move past and tell the voice raging in my head that while I didn’t picture Jamie Fraser this way, someone did so get over it.  Once I moved on, it was all good and the visions in my head and those on the page began, inexplicably, to merge.  As a side note, this book is beautifully illustrated so it was hard to be all that disappointed.

However, the story itself didn’t work for me and I think it’s because I know the story too well.  In graphic novel form it feels too light and that too much information is missing.  All the basics are here — Jamie’s story is pretty much the same as Claire’s so there isn’t much that differs — but it’s the little details that I loved about the first book that I missed.  And let’s face it, Gabaldon, if you’ve read any of the Outlander books, likes details.

For those not familiar with the story: Jamie Fraser is a Scotsman returning to his homeland with a price on his head.  Claire Randall is a 20th Century woman who, while visiting Scotland and touring a group of standing stones, passes into the stone circle and goes back in time to the 18th Century.  As two outsiders, Jamie and Claire are thrown together in a marriage of strange convenience but fall in love despite their circumstances.

Jamie and Claire are true to their characters, there’s still a lot of sex, and somehow Claire is much more voluptuous than I ever imagined her to be but that might just be due to the fact that I don’t add extra boobage to female characters instinctively.  Jamie remains the hot Scottish guy in a kilt too so plus for that.

There was one scene from the original book that I wish had been left out.  At one point, Claire tries to escape back to her own time and makes a run for the stone circle that brought her to the 18th Century.  She gets captured by a British Captain who is looking for Jamie.  Jamie is able to get her back before any damage is done but as punishment, he beats her.  I almost put the book down when I first read it in Outlander and hoped that the scene had been expunged from this version.  It hadn’t.  I had an even more visceral reaction to it this time around.  I tried to explain it to myself in terms of the time frame (1700s) but it will never be something I can overlook.  I’m sure many may think I’m making too much of one rather small part of the story but it just soured it for me.

If you’re a fan of Gabaldon’s Outlander series, you’ll probably, like me, want to read this one.  I wasn’t thoroughly sold but it hasn’t ruined the series for me either.  As I mentioned earlier, it’s really beautifully done and worth a look for that reason alone.

The Sunday Salon

We had visitors this weekend so not much reading was done. I did get in a few chapters here and there but mostly it was filled with football games and touristy things.

In the last week, I finished The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, The Sherlockian by Graham Moore, The Exile by Diana Gabaldon, and started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling so even if I didn’t get to read this weekend, it was still a good week overall.

I don’t have much to say today which is probably due to the lack of sleep I’ve had the last few nights.  Even the nap this afternoon didn’t help so I’ll be making this a very short salon today.  I was planning to talk about cleaning off the bookshelves or maybe even holiday reading but I don’t have it in me today.  🙂

Happy Sunday.

Today’s Book

I finished The Sherlockian by Graham Moore last night which has left me with a craving for some Sherlock Holmes tales but I’m going to pass on detective stories for the moment (although The Sign of Four is on my TBR to be read sooner rather than later) and move onto The Exile by Diana Gabaldon.

The Exile is a graphic novel based on Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander.  I’m excited about this book especially after hearing her talk about it at the National Book Festival back in September.  Outlander ranks high on the favorites list and the only problem I expect to have is being annoyed that the characters don’t look like the ones that have already been established in my head.  I’ll get over it but there’s always that initial shock of, “Hey, that’s not what Jamie Fraser looks like.”