terça-feira, 26 de maio de 2009

Malaak: Angel of Peace Part II - Graphic novel review

Lebanon´s first ever comic book heroine is back for another action packed and emotional ride.

I must admit I haven´t seen a comic book character being fleshened out with so much substance so fast. It´s like the skinny girl next door that suddenly blooms into a full woman without you noticing and you´re like "whaaat? when did this happen?".

And it´s like this in this gorgeous and utterly compelling gigantic graphic novel, the author takes you by the hand like the clueless tourist you are and take you to visit secret and fascinating places you didn´t know existed and suddenly, you´re part of there, like a wide eyed witness of events unfolding in real time right before your eyes.

This is the real Beirut, presented to you not unlike Amelie Poulin´s neighbourhood, with it´s real people, staircases, windows and local expressions and slangs you´ll find yourself repeating.

Part "slices of life", part "action movie serial", this second edition chronicles the ascencion of local superheroine Malaak into "stardom" as she easily defeats the evil Jinn, spiritual perpetrators of the ongoing war, until she meets a sudden forced stop as she meets a "Boss" she wasn´t yet prepared to meet.

A regular comic would only present the hero grit their teeth, present a little blood in the corners of the mouth, laugh a little bit, present a maniac smile "Is that all you can do idiot?" and then that hero in question would give a ultramegapowerful blow in a splash page (just after the candy bar add), just to show how badass he is. Not in this case.

Malaak takes a hard beating, experience fear, flees and scapes to the arms of her friend and confidant Adrian. She is tired, overwhelmed, injured, patched up, and take days to recover, lick her wounds and figure things out. I wonder when was the last time a superhero is really shown as a normal human being, even the low powered ones.

We all take beatings out of life, and we all need time to breath and recover our strenght. It is sort of a relief to know that we are allowed to feel confusion, to acknowledge that our mutant healing factor is kinda slow, and that we all need time to find again that drive to guide us out of a messy situation, paraphrasing the Beatles, "with a little help of our friends". And that´s Malaak does, as she gather her mind and spirit together in an admirable comeback trail.

This book is beautifully rendered in a glossy paper, and it´s bigger than it looks in the photos. Buy this for great work of art it is and the treasure hunter inside you will be very pleased I assure you.

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