Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Review: Northwest Passage

So, I finally got around to finishing Northwest Passage by Scott Chandler. I honestly just kept forgetting about it. It isn't a bad book, it's just wasn't a particularly exciting one for me. This was probably mis-shelved at the library; its themes and art style would be more appealing to a younger audience.

Yes, another comic book about a strained father/son relationship.
Much like other stories for young boys, from Peter Pan to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a young man is presented with two different role models to choose from. A good, noble (but flawed) father and the evil, tempting (yet charismatic) bad father. 

Obviously, this is the bad father.
None of the secondary characters rise up beyond their stereotypes. Everyone exists in order to provide opposing sides for the big battle at the end. Which is kind of odd, because Chantler chooses to NOT follow through on his theme. It would be a gutsy choice, if it didn't come off as completely unsatisfying. 

Ah, the snobbish officer who will redeem himself...
Part of the problem with the last-minute anti-climax is that it runs contrary to the classic illustration style. His art is obviously grounded in Herge and Eisner, and has certain built-in expectations of standard adventure tropes.

Ooooooh! A battle!

Again, I would recommend this for a ten or twelve-year old boy. Most adults are going to find this story a bit light, but everyone will enjoy the fine illustration. There are some references to the adult world of violence and sex (these are rough frontiersmen, after all) but nothing one wouldn't find in The Last of the Mohicans. This is definitely tamer than The Walking Dead, which all my young customers seem to have vast familiarity with.

Worse things happen on cable TV every night.

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