"Good Vs. Evil: The Awakening" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Stone Arch Books
Written by Donald Lemke
Illustrated by Claudia Medeliros
2011, 48 Pages
Graphic Novel Released on August 1st, 2011
It's the 1980s. You're in Japan. You find a mysterious cassette tape (the ancient ancestor of the mp3) and pop it into your Walkman (the ancient ancestor of the iPod). Suddenly a hideous monster rises up from the earth and starts terrorizing your family! Such is the premise for the latest from Stone Arch Books's Good Vs. Evil series, The Awakening.
This graphic novel is geared towards a younger reader with simplistic dialogue and an emphasis on the images. The story itself is still pretty solid and that's a credit to author Donald Lemke as any writer that can pump out a story without depending on dialogue to move it along knows what he's doing. The Good Vs. Evil books are split in half. The top half of each page is shaded blue and is from the point of view of our hero. Meanwhile, the bottom half is shaded red and shows things from the villain's perspective. The book can be read all at once or you can pick a side to read first and then re-read it for the other version.
Claudia Medeliros's art style has some major nods to anime which works very well considering the story's setting. The monster of The Awakening is the Oni, a beast found in numerous pieces of Japanese art and folklore. Medeliros makes him spooky, but not enough to give a kid nightmares. The red tint of the Oni's panels makes him look a bit fiercer.
After the comic wraps up, there are some notes and discussion questions, as well as some behind-the-scenes information about how the book was put together. A page of the script is shown and the author takes us through the creative process from the words to the pencils to the colors to the final product.
As with their previous release, Alien Snow, the folks at Stone Arch Books continue to release comics suitable for a younger audience, but with an advanced enough story for the more mature crowd. Unlike Alien Snow, which had more of a sci-fi angle to it, The Awakening is a straight up horror story. Plus, the twist at the end of the comic is something right out of a Twilight Zone episode. Kids might question it but adults should enjoy it quite a bit.