Beowulf has been one of my favourite legends since I was a little girl, so when I saw this after reading another of Gareth Hinds' illustrated/graphicBeowulf has been one of my favourite legends since I was a little girl, so when I saw this after reading another of Gareth Hinds' illustrated/graphic novel adaptations, I had to check it out.
I liked it better than most adaptations of Beowulf I've read. I particularly liked how real the clothes, armour, ships, and surroundings in general looked. I've never before seen someone depict the sea monsters in Beowulf's boast-tale as actual sea creatures, either, which was interesting.
It also lent more contrast to the incredibly unreal depictions of Grendel and Grendel's mother. (I admit, when I was first reading, Grendel reminded me of a cross between a cave troll from Middle Earth and Venom from Spiderman.)
Perhaps my favourite of the artwork were those pages depicting the dragon at rest, or first waking, watchful over his hoard. The final pages of sea and sky were beautiful, however, and the fade through the story to a close was smoothly and subtly presented through shifting colours and lines.
The adaptation presented balanced nicely between the poetry and rhythm, archaic words and patterns, that hark to the original tale, and an easy to understand format that didn't require a reader to slow beyond what was needed to appreciate and follow the artwork telling the story. Or at least it began that way - it was honestly a little strange how quickly the text faded out to only pictures (which is acceptable enough for high-action scenes, although many of those pages were slightly hard to follow).
After it returned post the first battle scene particularly, the text began to switch between a drier 'report on a tale' feeling (as though I was hearing someone tell me about the tale of Beowulf, rather than telling me the tale) and the occasional resurgence of the nicely-balanced poetic/simplified tone....more