"Fifty Shades of the Twilight Games" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Bluewater Productions
Written by CW Cooke & Crystal Vandiver
Illustrated by Gabriel Rosswell
2012, 46 Pages
Graphic Novel released on December 4th, 2012
Blockbuster movies based on best-selling novels have been tearing up the box office as of late. When you can't write a book that will be loved by the masses, the next easiest thing to do is shit on what's popular. And thus, the parody is born. In the right hands, a parody can be fantastic, such as films like Airplane! or Young Frankenstein. Unfortunately, the bar has been dropped pretty low in recent years for what is considered a hit parody. That's where things like Scary Movie 5 and 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo come in. It's also where Fifty Shades of the Twilight Games sits. Bluewater Productions, the publisher behind bio comics of everyone from Sarah Palin to Stephen King, is poking fun at these big name titles, but it's a little late to do so.
Fifty Shades of the Twilight Games brings in characters from The Hunger Games, Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and somewhat haphazardly, Harry Potter. It throws them all together where they start fighting for no reason. In comic terms, this is how a team up usually starts. Two or more heroes run into each other and start a battle thinking that the other is a villain. Then they figure things out and set out to stop the real bad guy. That moment never comes in Fifty Shades. Instead, the characters duke it out with no real purpose. No one is forcing them to fight, nor is one group threatening another. Sure, there's a vampire and a werewolf in the mix, but they're also adults and should be able to have an actual conversation with another human being. That doesn't happen though.
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Each of the characters are magically transported to this world by a large moon-like light. We never learn why this happens or who is ultimately behind it. There's a vague hint at the end but nothing that links to any of the franchises. It's more of an all-encompassing evil and it feels like it was tacked on at the end when the writers realized the book was over and there wasn't a conclusion. There still isn't one.
All of this would have been pretty rough, but Fifty Shades of the Twilight Games fails on more levels than story. I called this a graphic novel review, but it's hard to even consider this a comic. There are images laid out like a normal funny book, but the text is presented in prose on separate pages. It's like Bluewater commissioned the art and the story but didn't want to pay a letterer, so this was the solution that was dreamed up. This wouldn't be that bad, but the pages don't line up with the pictures. There are two pages of text to open the book, then you get the image for the first page. The rest of the book alternates between text and images, but since it started differently, you'll read the text and then two pages later, you'll get the image that went with it. This throws the entire book off.
The editing problems don't end there. The actual text is filled with contradictions and just plain bad writing. Characters perform an action and then the next sentence has them doing something completely opposite. The worst offense comes when the writers can't keep the names of the characters straight. I think the names in the book were not the first choices, so changes were made somewhere down the line, but they weren't all fixed. This results in characters being called two different names often in the SAME PARAGRAPH.
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The one aspect of Fifty Shades of the Twilight Games that is somewhat bearable is the artwork from Gabriel Rosswell. It's light and cartoony, but it often looks unfinished, like this was just a first pass. Rosswell is light on the details and perspective is often a little wacky. Anatomy is also thrown off with characters having large heads and tiny limbs. This can be seen as part of the parody style, but it is inconsistent.
Admittedly, I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight, but I know enough about them thanks to the Internet and the various jokes that have been made at their expense. This comic is a blatant cash grab and makes fodder like the crap the Wayans Brothers have been pumping out look like Oscar gold. Just like those lame parodies, this one misses the mark by a few years. Twilight jokes are so three years ago. Harry Potter ended five years ago, with the last film coming out 18 months before this comic was released. Plus, a quick search on Amazon will show you that this isn't the first book using the title "Fifty Shades of Twilight." Granted, this one adds in "Games" at the end, but it really doesn't matter at this point.