Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: Battling Boy

The adventure begins in the new graphic novel by comics legend Paul Pope.

Monsters roam through Arcopolis, swallowing children into the horrors of their shadowy underworld. Only one man is a match for them - the genius vigilante Haggard West.

Unfortunately, Haggard West is dead.

Arcopolis is desperate, but when its salvation comes in the form of a twelve-year-old demigod, nobody is more surprised than Battling Boy himself.



STORY: (4/5) A Godling who just turned thirteen is sent on a Ramble, a coming of age ceremony, where young gods prove their worth. He is sent to Arcopolis, a human city riddled with monsters, and his task is to defeat the monsters and save the city.

I don't usually like graphic novels very much, as I prefer manga, but I really enjoyed Battling Boy. It's a superhero type story about a young demigod. I don't really enjoy superhero stories anymore because I've watched so many TV shows and movies with them that I've become sick of them. They all tend to be the same thing. I think the reason I liked Battling Boy so much was that the story just worked so well with its graphic novel format and it wasn't overwhelming in any way.

The graphic novel was very fun to get through and I think the only flaw was that the story felt more of an introduction to the city, the characters, and the conflict.

MAIN CHARACTER: (4/5) What I liked about the main character was that he wasn't a headstrong youth who wanted to prove his worth (we've seen enough of those). On the contrary, he really didn't want to go Rambling and wasn't eager to throw himself into battle. I like that this whole graphic novel series felt like the rise of a young hero as opposed to someone who's already a hero right from the start (like most superhero stuff).

I also found him being a demigod very interesting and I'm curious about what that entails. I hope the second graphic novel provides more detail. I still feel like there was more to his character that wasn't revealed, and we didn't get as much time with him as I would have liked.

OTHER CHARACTERS: (4/5) I liked Battling Boy's parents and I hope we see more of them. I found the mayor of Arcopolis to be an interesting character; he's not quite as he appears to be. I think the whole tragedy with Haggard West at the beginning was a nice sort prologue and introduction to the character and what he meant to the city. An important character was Aurora West, Haggard West's daughter. I didn't really see enough of her, so I'm not sure what to think of her yet. I really hope she doesn't come off as one those "strong female heroine" template types and will have more personality, but we'll see. There also seems to be much more to the villains - and ah! - I wish this graphic novel wasn't so much of an introduction!

SETTING: (5/5) I really wish we stayed longer in the other realm where Battling Boy comes from, but we probably won't be seeing much more of it in the sequel. Arcopolis is the main setting, a human city riddled with monsters. It's interesting seeing the effect the monsters have on the people and how that impacts everyone's daily life. I'm really interested in seeing how this city is going to turn out by the end. There seems to be much behind the monsters, as no one knows where they came from, and I'm really intrigued to learn more about them. Battling Boy wouldn't be Battling Boy without this setting, as it's the whole plot of the story.

ARTWORK: (5/5) The reason I wanted to try Battling Boy was because I loved Paul Pope's artwork:

He's beyond talented, and Battling Boy just wouldn't be the same without its particular art style.

OTHER COMMENTS: There's actually going to be a prequel graphic novel about Aurora called . But since I'm not particularity interested in her, have rarely seen good prequels or spin-offs, and it's not drawn by the author, I won't be picking it up.

OVERALL: (22/25) At first, I only wanted to read Battling Boy because I loved the artwork, but it proved to have a great story to go along with it. The only flaw was that the graphic novel felt like too much of an introduction to the world and only a lead up to the sequel. But the whole thing was such a fun read that I think graphic novel/comic lovers and even those who are not into that willfind Battling Boy highly enjoyable. I can't wait to read the sequel!
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