Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado and John Novak
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Dragons Beware is a delightful graphic novel in the distinctively European style of a Tintin or Asterix book. The novel is light in tone and geared towards the 8-12 age group. It features many of the endearing qualities of the graphic novels mentioned, and holds an adventure guaranteed to appeal to a much wider reader base.
The story is well laid out, with enough turns and twists, to delight even the most discerning older reader and will keep the tweenies’ enthralled. The story grabs characters and provides just the right amount of background to make the characters a lot more than their two dimensional counterparts would garner. The writing is fresh, fun and original and follows the five act formula common in a lot of fairy tales.
And a fairy tale describes the book well. There are princes, princesses, fire breathing dragons (if you couldn’t surmise that from the title), evil wizards, and stone gargoyles that stand in the way of the young heroine, turned warrior, Claudette, her younger brother, a princess, a warrior and Claudette’s father who has had past, fateful dealings with both the wizard and the dragon. Claudette takes up the reigns and proves that innocence can often save the day; in the proud tradition of the most Tolkienesque of endings. Although geared towards younger readers, adults will find humor over and above what children might read. It really appeals to all ages.
Every age group will appreciate the art that complements the story beautifully, with clear, concise, lines, distinctive characterization, and a tendency to often mimic the fun, adventurous campaign the youngsters set on. Light and airy watercolors, are exceptionally well pulled off and showcase the art in this novel beautifully, rather than mull it down or make it seem too garish. In fact, I was reminded a lot of Tintin and Asterix while admiring the art in both its breadth and simplicity.
The novel lends itself well to the European style which compliments and coexists with the story almost effortlessly. I really can’t tell you the last time I saw color art this beautifully drawn. It’s most definitely a must have for graphic art connoisseurs.
In this age of grim and gritty, violence prone literature, it’s definitely a pleasure to read something just for fun, an escapist high adventure novel that is well written and drawn equally as well. Fans of Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, or other European graphic stories, this is a sure fire pick-up. Even those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading those timeless tales, will get a bang for their dollar. Tolkien lovers especially, will also find a lavish tip of the hat to that fantasy genre.
Dragons Beware is something that everyone will bring something into and get something out of this fantastic graphic novel of high adventure.