01/09/2009. Contributed by Ewan Angus
pub: Dabel Brothers. 32 page comic. Price: $ 3.99 (US).
check out website: www.dabelbrothers.com
A few years ago a project between the Robert Jordan estate and the Dabel Brothers was hinted at, causing excitement and speculation in equal measure. Throughout the rumours, a trial run was introduced and this culminated in the short lived comic mini-series that dealt with the prequel novel 'New Spring', set before the events that transpired in the eponymous 15 book long 'Wheel Of Time' series.
For those of you who have not been immersed in the world of 'The Wheel Of Time', the premise is one heard in almost every page of fantasy. A young boy is chosen to save the world from a massive evil entity who wants to destroy it. Except, in this case, never before has it been so perfectly written.
Using hundreds of characters and a fictional geography so precise you could be forgiven for looking at a real map to find the city of Camelyn. The plot is played out with the underlying storyline of good versus evil but it is filled with so many other arcs and plotlines it is a challenge to keep up. But as challenging as it may be, it is definitely worth it.
Delays, financial difficulties and cancellation hindered the first series and, as of today, it is yet to be published past issue five in an eight issue arc, although this has recently been rectified for the American subscribers.
Whilst the legal problems are weighed out by the Dabel Brothers, there has been a step forward for the franchise. Universal Pictures have snapped up the rights to the series to create a set of films and the comic for the main series has hit the shelves.
Was it worth the hassle and wait?
Well, for a start it's 'The Wheel Of Time', a series which up until now has done no wrong. Meticulously written with a scope and plot that are almost unrivalled, 'The Wheel of Time' has sold millions of copies and dominated the 'New York Times' bestsellers list on its multiple release dates.
This first issue, tentatively labelled issue 00, is responsible for dealing with the first chapter in the series which introduces us to its core characters. Rand Al'Thor is portrayed accurately as a red-headed mischief-making boy who dreams of adventure along with his sarcastic, possibly even more mischievous best friend Mat Cauthon.
The first book's love interest, Egwene Al'Vere, is also introduced as a hard-working girl confused over her unofficially arranged marriage to the man who will become the centre of the novels plot. Rand Al'Thor, who you will know if you have read the novels, becomes the world's biggest hero and villain in equal measure and in the first part of this new issue is shown in his cushioned innocence convincingly, long before the political intrigue, the invasions, assassination attempts and the magic.
The first part of the issue deals with the sheep shearing event in 'The Two Rivers' and with Egwene's growing unease at the presence of crows. It's well founded I suppose. How many fantasy novels have depicted the crows as the bad guys?
Now, although the series started off as a piece of pure fantasy with one big bad guy and everyone running away, it did progress to become a work of undeterminable scope and one that, due to its size, will pose problems in its conversion to other mediums.
With its orchestra of characters, Jordan's biggest achievement was his conducting of the whole affair and how seamlessly it all fell into place. It is this that has me worried. Although the characters are shown accurately in this comic, at least to my own mind's eye, there is the problem that big companies have a lot of issues with deep plots, especially in movies.
Take a look at the recent 'Wolverine' film adaptation for how to successfully take a massive multi-tiered plot and turn it into absolutely nothing in order to make money. So how will 'The Wheel Of Time' fair in its different approaches? With only one issue out, it's hard to predict what's in store for the franchise but it is a very good starting point. The scenes are kept fairly accurate to original material, I even checked, and the second part of the issue's use of the prologue, which introduces us to the fabled Lews Therin Telamon or, in other words, the Dragon, is excellent save for one slight hic-cup in the art when he realises he has more or less destroyed everything.
However, the art is steady throughout the rest of the issue and I get the feeling it could be successful in its rendition of characters and places. The one instance of magic being used was not how I had imagined it but it certainly looks very good and adds to the mythos well.
A good start for a comic that has taken a few years to get started but one that has heaps of potential. Let's hope that it sells well and isn't cancelled half-way through. Although, if my calculations are correct the series will take approximately 200 years to be completed in this form considering there is still another three novels of the main series to go.
Boasting sporadically impressive artwork 'The Wheel of Time' comic may go on to great things and it will keep the avid fan, whether they are a regular comicbook reader or not, entertained and satisfied enough in the time between now and November when the next instalment of the main series comes out.
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