Review Blog

Aug 28 2012

Eagle strike - the graphic novel by A. Johnston, et al.

cover image

London: Walker Books , 2012. Unpaged. ISBN 9781406318777.
(Age: 10 +) Eagle Strike is Alex Rider's fourth mission, parcelled up as a new 'sequential art narrative' written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by sisters, Kanako Damerum and Yuzuru Takasaki. Thanks to the project management and rendering of Kanako, this graphic novel flows logically without too many gaps, which can sometimes disorient the reader in some graphic adaptations.
The opening scene sits outside of the main plot but it does foreshadow the final surprise twist. The story starts with Alex on holiday in Southern France with a friend's family. Alex's curiosity is aroused by the appearance of a known fellow spy right before Sabina's father, a journalist, becomes the target of a bomb and is hospitalized. Since the journalist was investigating a third party connected to the hitman, Gregorovich, Alex has no doubt of their involvement.
The hero's journey for teen spy Alex, means he has to spend the rest of this visual feast collecting evidence to convince his friend, MI6 and the authorities that a famous philanthropist, Sir Damian Cray, was not only responsible for the bombing but will use any means to fulfil his plans for the world. Interesting Gregorovich is lenient with the boy whereas any journalist who stands in Cray's way is murdered. Conveniently, it is up to Alex to prevent nuclear disaster, after Cray hijacks Air Force One.
Billed as a version more accessible for reluctant readers, Eagle Strike is not short changed. This is a particularly fast-paced graphic novel to be enjoyed as a quality example of the genre. The panels use a variety of perspectives and zooms to accommodate orientation scenes, close-ups and regular action. Alternating layering and angling of the frames heightens interest and Yuzuru's considerable background in the world of Manga is evident through the slick, stylized draftmanship.
The feminized portrayal of the villain amongst other choices, makes Eagle Strike a text fit for critical dissection and the typical use of comic book onomatopoeia reinforces that comic book heroes do not necessarily need super powers. A worthy addition to any graphic novel collection.
Deborah Robins

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