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Robert Jordan – New Spring: The Graphic Novel

April 27, 2011

55. New Spring: The Graphic Novel by Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon, Mike Miller, Harvey Tolibao (2011)
The Wheel of Time, prequel (graphic adaptation)

Length: 256 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 10 April 2011

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I’m a big ol’ WoT-geek.

If time really is
a wheel, then it’s destined that
I re-read the books!

Summary: Moiraine and Siuan, two young women in training to become Aes Sedai, overhear a dire prophecy that the Dragon – humanity’s only hope in the Last Battle with the Dark One – has been reborn. In secret, they vow that they will be the ones to find him and guide him as he grows, thus keeping him from the clutches of the Darkfriends that are hidden everywhere – even within the Aes Sedai stronghold of the White Tower. Meanwhile, Lan Mandragoran, the uncrowned king of a vanished land, rides from Tar Valon back to his home in the Borderlands to resume his private war with the Shadow. But when Lan and Moiraine’s paths cross, the Pattern shifts… for they both fight against the Dark One in what might be humanity’s most desperate hour.

Review: I’d seen some of the pages of this graphic novel a while ago; the first issues came out in 2005, under a different publisher, and between publisher issues and Jordan’s death, I wasn’t particularly expecting this series to ever be finished. But, good news: I was wrong!

Bad news: the later issues go off the rails a bit, both in terms of the artwork and in the way that the story’s told. It’s pretty evident where the original team stopped having a strong hand guiding the process. I don’t dislike the latter artwork, per se, but it’s enough of a shift from the first 2/3s of the book that it’s pretty jarring. (Even the lettering style changes, which I found much more distracting than the shift in the artwork.) However, some of the artwork, especially in the early parts, is fantastic. Not all characters looked like I pictured them when reading the main Wheel of Time books, but the important ones (Moiraine and Lan) are pretty darn close, and Cadsuane might actually be better than I pictured. Likewise, a lot of the art for things like buildings and clothing was fantastic; the full-page painting of Tar Valon was just gorgeous, and they handled the weaving of Saidar (which is technically invisible, but obviously can’t be drawn that way) really well.

Similarly, the storytelling in the last few issues isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as it could be, and it’s not always clear what people’s motivations or importance to the story is. However, since this is a) a graphic adaptation of an existing novel, and b) likely to appeal most to established fans, a little vagueness in the storytelling isn’t a terminal flaw. Jordan wrote a good story, and I enjoyed revisiting it in graphic novel form (although now I really want to re-read the actual book). 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I’ve read the WoT books too many times to have any idea whether this would appeal (or even be understandable) to newbies. For WoTiphiles, though, it’s definitely worth adding to the collection, even with some of the problems in the last few issues.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The Aiel seemed like a horde of Darkfriends when they suddenly spilled across the immense mountain range called the Spine of the World.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011 1:27 pm

    One day I am going to read the rest of this series. I read the first book, but I was a bit daunted by the size of the series…. I also meant to get back to it when I finished a couple other big fantasy series and I still haven’t done that…

    • April 28, 2011 8:48 am

      Kailana – Once the final book comes out and I’ve read it, I’d like to go back and re-read the whole series. If you’d like to join me (probably next year), I think that’d be great! I love talking about WoT with people who are reading it for the first time.

      • April 28, 2011 9:52 pm

        The final book actually has a publication date now? Wow!

      • May 1, 2011 5:27 pm

        I don’t know that’s there’s a date set to they day, or anything, but Sanderson’s website says spring of 2012, and he’s usually pretty good about being on time for that sort of thing.

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