And Then I Read: RED PROPHET Volume 2

Red Prophet V2 cover
©Orson Scott Card.

I reviewed the the first volume of this story a while back, this is the conclusion of this graphic adaptation of the alternate history early American fantasy by writer Orson Scott Card. By the way, if you want to see where the draw is for this book, you need look no further than the size of Card’s name on the cover, when he had little to do with this adaptation other than writing the original story, as far as I can see.

Overall I liked it. There are flaws, but it’s what I would call an earnest attempt to be true to the original material. The adaptation is by Roland Bernard Brown, and he does a better job of making comics in this volume. In the first one a few pages had so much text you could barely see the art. He’s over that mistake. In a few places he tries a bit to hard to make the story go where he wants it to by describing things that aren’t in the art at all, but mostly it works okay.

Red Prophet V2 page

The art by Rodney Buchemi and Miquel Montenegro has its moments, but suffers from distortions of anatomy in places, like the face of the boy at lower left on the page above. The kind of distortions I tend to associate with young artists who have the basics down, but aren’t yet quite able to draw the human figure from any angle, which is what you need to do in comics. Again, an honest effort, though, and mostly successful.

It’s been a long time since I read the original novel, and I’d forgotten what a cruel and bloody story it becomes in this second half. At times the art pulls back from that, not focusing on the gore, and that’s probably best. There’s still lots of pain there. If one is going to adapt a story like this, you have to tread a fine line, and these folks do it well. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a gripping one that resonates with our knowledge of our own history in compelling ways. And the fantasy elements are not there as entertainment, they’re an integral part of the tale.

If you’re a Card fan, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you’re not, you probably will as well, though you might want to try the novel first.

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