Sunday, November 8, 2015

Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm - Phil and Kaja Foglio

   2010; 144 pages.  New Author? : No.  Book 9 in the “Girl Genius” series.  Full Title : Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm – A Gaslamp Fantasy with Adventure, Romance & Mad Science.  Genre : Graphic Novel; Gaslamp Fantasy.  Overall Rating : 8½*/10.

    We’re going to eschew most of the format we usually use in these reviews, since this is essentially a reread of one of the Agatha H novelizations that I finished a short time ago.  That review is here, and Agatha H. & the Heirs of the Storm constitutes the last third of that book.

    I’ve been wanting to compare the Graphic Novel format to the Novelization format for some time now, and felt that this was a good opportunity to do so, since the storyline was fresh in my mind.  I also just recently figured out where my local library has been stashing these graphic novels; there is a small “Teen Library” section tucked away on the fourth floor of the main branch that I was hitherto unaware of.

What’s To Like...
    The artwork is stunning.  The book’s credits list Phil & Kaja Foglio as creating the story, Phil for the “penciling”, and Cheyenne Wright for the colors.  It is all a visual treat.

    There is a handy, 1-page “The Story So Far” section at the very beginning.  The novelizations cover the entire Graphic Novel series, three per volume, and I’ve read them all, so  it’s hard for me to judge how helpful this brief backstory is.  It felt very “bare bones”, but perhaps it’s like picking up a comic book; say, Wolverine Issue #88.  You don’t really care much about all that went before.

    There are no page numbers.  Amazon says Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm has 144 pages, and that feels accurate.  The storyline in the two formats seemed to jive closely, so I don’t think you’re missing much by choosing one or the other.  There’s a way-kewl “Jagermonster Comics” section at the end.

    There’s nothing R-rated at all in the graphic novel.   I had heard rumors to the contrary.  The worst that can be said in this regard is that all the girls are “buxom”, but that’s standard fare in any comic book series.

Paperback Details...
    Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm sells for $21.48 at Amazon.  There appear to be 13 volumes in the Girl Genius Graphic Novels series, and they all in the $15-$25 price range.  This feels steep to me, but I know very little about pricing graphic novels.  The only other graphic novel I’ve read is Watchmen, which sells for $11.99.

The verdict…
    I had a bit of trouble determining who’s who in the graphic novel, which inherently does not occur in the novelization.  OTOH, you have no trouble envisioning the people, the environs, etc. in the graphic novel; there is much more inherently left to the imagination in the novelization.

    So it’s a toss-up.  You basically can’t lose no matter which format – or both – you select to follow this series with.  Reading the graphic novel was a delight, but I will probably continue to wait for the novelizations to come out.  This is mostly due to my reading habits; even as a kid, I preferred books to comics.

    8½ Stars.  Listen, Girl Genius is still a fantastic series, and I highly recommend it no matter what format you read it in.

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