Saturday, April 11, 2009
Two Sides of a Coin
Manhattan is a special city and in Avi's story "City of Light, City of Dark", Manhattan is not the city we think it is. The island which the People believe they own belongs to the Kurbs, a dark species. The Island is loaned only as long as a very specific ritual is performed. The energy that keeps the city warm comes from the Kurbs' Power. The People, as people usual do, put the entire responsibility of performing the yearly ritual to a line of women and forgot the loan from the Kurbs. The story takes this premise, and shows the greed of modern man as he fights the scared woman to get the Power and prevent the ritual. The comic-book novel is an interesting story told in an interesting manner.
Avi creates and intriguing story of a group of people entwined with the secret world of the island. Additionally, the illustrator, Brian Floca, creates a familiar city with an unfamiliar air. The story has an interesting feel as it is a novel wrapped in images. While it is a unique idea to put a novel in a form closer to a pure comic, it does not work well enough. The story might have been better suited as a novel with the occasional picture. The comic setting at times is a distracting. The Kurbs would be more powerful as a mental image than a physical image. Brian Floca does a fine job, but it was not the place for images.
The story had a lot of potential, but the reliance of images to tell the story hurt the overall prose. The role of women as heroines and men as villains is interesting, as it is men who are traditionally builders and women nurturers and protectors. The women protect the entire island while the villain wants the power to prove his supremacy. Without much depth of the story, the message is superficial and just a repetition of stories that do it better.
"City of Light, City of Dark" had potential, but was buried in images. While I am a fan of comic books, the medium is not right for all stories. Sometimes a novel should be a novel.
Overall, I give it a 2.5 out of 5.
A bit disappointed at a waste of potential,
J.R. West the Raccoon