Nils: The Tree of Life by Jérôme Hamon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was initially drawn to this because of the drawings. As I read, I still think the very best part of this graphic novel IS the art. It tells much more story than any of the words.
Is that bad? Well, possibly, if the words don't amount to that much character building or emotional connection. Indeed, the greatest portion revolves around technical worldbuilding that's about as creative as any number of Japanese video game ideas or even feeling like a Nordic version of Final Fantasy or one of the early Miyazaki films (Nausicaa).
I really WANT to like all of that. I've always liked these kinds of themes. Tree of Life, yo! Spirits of the dead and of Life itself!
So what happened? Why didn't I like it more?
I believe that you must love the characters, ease into them, establish them firmly before trying to go all out with the cool tragedies or big magics. There was little enough meat, here, to enjoy. Things happened and then other things happened and then a really big twist that came out of freaking nowhere changed the entire tone of the entire comic and while the RESULTS were cool, the JUSTIFICATION was really bad.
I'm almost of the opinion that we could practically wipe out all the TEXT and have all the artwork carry the entire tale. It was very strong. Maybe not perfect, but really gorgeous art.
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