Like many writers one of the things I love to do is read. It’s not very often that I pick up a book that I don’t like. What with my strict method of judging books by their cover how could I possibly go wrong? But alas sometimes we do pick up a book that we don’t like. We get 50 pages into it and start to wonder why we are reading this. It’s boring, it has no life, the story is a non-starter. I’m not talking about books that you start and realize you can never finish so you put it down and move on. That’s what happened between me and Game of Thrones. I’m talking about the books you keep reading to the end. Then at the end you realize that entire book sucked, “I can’t believe I just read this. What the hell did I see in that book?”
One of the things I love to read are comics, or more appropriately graphic novels. I love the stimulation of art and words coming together to create a fuller, richer, reading experience that traditional novels don’t always offer. Again using my tried and true method stated above I almost never pick one out that I don’t like, especially when I’ve flipped through the pages before selecting it from the shelf of my local library. Sadly though I recently came across such a book. At first glance the story seemed gripping enough.
HAWKEN: GENESIS is meant to be a prequel and source for the online first person shooter HAWKEN. Normally I love backstories, especially for my other love video games. In this back story we get to know a man, Rion Lazlo, and his partner James Hawken. Ultimately this story is supposed to be an insight as to why you are fighting in the video game. Rion Lazlo is a man who is working his way up through a corporation only to become its unsavory leader by any means necessary. James Hawken is his supposed friend, but ultimately just his means for gaining power. In the end the relationship falls apart and sparks the conditions for which the game is set.
There is betrayal and political maneuvering and great art work from some of the best in the industry. Really there is nothing about this book that I shouldn’t like. Yet I don’t like it. It fell remarkably short of what it should have been. The story, while written by one man (Jeremy Barlow), is all over the place. Which is a shame, because if you’ve read any of his other stuff you would know he’s really talented. This book lacks cohesion. I didn’t know where it was going half the time. Not in the sense that I was surprised by a plot twist or something, that would have been a welcome relief. I mean in the sense that the events from one page to another never seemed to be related enough. It’s as if a different author came in and wrote every page. Sometimes it seemed that way even from one panel to the next.
I have no problem with a story arc written by different authors, usually they collaborate and it all makes sense in the end. This was written by one man and even the whole making sense part didn’t happen. Which is unfortunate to say the least. I expected more and didn’t get it. I wasn’t left wanting more either, which sometimes happens when you don’t get all that you want. By the end I just wanted the book to be done. Well at least that’s one thing I got. It ended, poorly, sadly, predictably, and bluntly. Which is about the best thing I can say about this book.
Image Credit: Khang Le