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A zombie in possession of brains...
on May 18, 2010
Everybodu knows about "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" -- Jane Austen's classic comedy of manners, zombies and ninjas, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, the book doesn't really translate well into a graphic novel -- it falls completely flat because of the patchy editing and some of the laziest artwork I've ever seen, which ends up confusing an otherwise enjoyable spoof.
You know the drill: the Bennett family is in an uproar when wealthy Mr. Bingley moves into the neighborhood, and Mrs. Bennett is especially happy when he takes a liking to the eldest Bennett daughter Jane. At the same time, Elizabeth matches wits with the haughty Mr. Darcy, rebuffs her toadyish cousin Mr. Collins, and befriends the hunky flirty Mr. Wickham (who claims to have been wronged by Wickham). Scandals, weddings and nasty old bats ensue.
However, this isn't exactly the Jane Austen story one would expect. England is overrun by a plague that turns people into shambling zombies. The Sisters Bennet are deadly Shaolin-trained warriors (Lizzle "has something more of the killer instinct than her sisters"), Lady Catherine is a feared zombie-slayer with an army of ninjas, balls are crashed by the undead, and Charlotte Lucas accepts Mr. Collins' proposal after she's infected by the zombie plague. I guess marriage to the professional toady isn't quite as bad as becoming a zombie.
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was the start of the current ongoing fad for adding zombies, sea monsters, werewolves, vampires and other horror tropes to classic literature. It actually seems like a really cool idea for a graphic novel, but unfortunately the result is a hastily slapped-together cash-in -- and the biggest problem is the artwork.
The concept is still pretty cool, and of course the dialogue is pretty hilarious ("I prefer a great many things to cards, Mr. Hurst. Not the least of which is the sensation of a newly sharpened blade as a punctures the round belly of a man"). But the editing is rather patchy, jumping quickly from scene to scene.
And the artwork is just TERRIBLE. The character designs look realistic and well-proportioned, and there are some very gross action scenes included. BUUUUUUUTTTT.... the artwork is abysmally lazy and halfhearted -- it literally looks like somebody started sketching out the artwork in pencil, decided, "Eh, this is good enough. I'll just release these rough sketches," and slapped together the graphic novel on the spot. It literally looks unfinished! Would it have killed the publishers to include some ink?
Additionally, both men and women look way too similar -- Lizzie, Lydia and Mrs. Bennett (yes, Mrs Bennett!) are almost identical, and I have trouble telling Darcy from Bingley or Wickham. I can only tell Jane apart from the other girls because she has dark hair, and Charlotte because she... well, never mind.
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel" is as disappointing as Sir William's zombie-slaying abilities -- while the story is diverting, the haphazard artwork is absolutely disastrous. Avoid this as you would the unmentionables.