Propaganda stomps across the countryside in a Tripod yelling “ulla!”
“No-one could have guessed in the early years of the 21st century that a reviewer would regard the graphic novel adaptation of War of the World with critical eyes. Across the gulf of cyberspace he slowly and surely drew his review together…”
This is Propaganda, I’m Richard Bruton and this is what I’ve been reading lately:
War of the Worlds
by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli (and some bloke called H.G. Wells)
After successfully taking the War Of The Worlds concept and producing two incredibly good sequels from it in Scarlet Traces (reviewed here) and the follow up – Scarlet Traces: The Great Game it was only really a matter of time before Messrs Edginton and D’Israeli received the call to adapt the original Martian invasion from HG Wells’ story. The good news is that it’s a delightful volume, beautifully presented and full of many of the lovely clever touches that made Scarlet Trace and The Great Game really fun books that evoked a real old school British Sci-Fi Adventure comic that many of us grew up with. The bad news is that it’s co-written by some Wells bloke.
And that’s the only criticism I can level at the book. Before I get lynched by the hardcore Sci-Fi fans (er, that would be me! – Joe) allow me to explain. What made both Scarlet Traces and The Great Game so wonderful was the inventiveness and vision Edginton and D’Israeli applied to a Victorian society suddenly benefiting from all of this incredible technology and the way they used this as foundations for a couple of really enjoyable stories. The problem with War Of The Worlds is that the story is too set, too well known for anything to really leap off the page.
(the opening page from Dark Horse’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, written by Ian Edginton, art by D’Israeli)
Having read the Wells book and watched the recent Tom Cruise/Spielberg movie adaptation, there are very few scenes here that won’t be immediately familiar. Indeed the nature of the adaptation is such that certain scenes, particularly the extended scene of the house search by the Martian tripod unit reads practically as a storyboard from the Tom Cruise film. But that’s a small and pretty insignificant criticism in truth (and be fair, it is so well known because it is pretty much the original alien invasion story and influenced pretty much every one that has followed for more than a century, so much so we’re still seeing new works like Scarlet Traces born from it – Joe).
Just like their previous work, this is a true collaboration between writer and artist, with D’Israeli providing the delightful and expansive visuals to go with Edginton’s well-paced storyline. D’Israeli is an old hand by now at this rendition of 1900 Victorian England and he pulls off every visual required of the art with both style and a simple, effective storytelling ability.
So whilst War Of The Worlds might not be as good as Scarlet Traces or The Great Game purely because it suffers by comparison and is overly familiar it’s still a very nice piece of work, a valuable prelude and a great way to waste a couple of hours of reading time.