Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Knights in a New Light

Templar – Jordan Mechner, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland (First Second Books)

Full confession. I am an utter newbie when it comes to the world of graphic novels. A couple of year ago I came on a nice collection of graphic novels, a mix of things, dominated by a large number of the Hellboy series at of all things a church rummage sale (hello irony) and I thought my son might be interested. Since I could get the whole set for a ridiculous price, I bought them.

For years I had thought graphic novels were simply comic books on steroids. When I thumbed through the books, I was amazed at the level of skill not only of the artists, but of the writers. Granted I wasn’t going to find a new slice of classic literature, but there was a level of skill to hold the storyline together and stand up to the work of the artists.

That brings me to Templar by writer Jordan Mechner, and artists LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. The story of the Knights Templar has been tackled not only by historians but by any number of poplar fiction authors, most notably Dan Brown. So it seems like a natural leap that a skilled writer and artists team would take a run at the Templar story.

Mechner and company have done a spectacular job of pulling together an epic tale of adventure featuring the usual suspects of love, treasure and battle.  Here, the Templar reign is coming to an end as they are rounded up in France; a of the band  manage to escape arrest and the story is off and running.

The characters are well drawn, both in the written and art sense. The storyline carries a nice mix of action and adventure with a touch of romance and just the right amount of comic relief. Mechner captures the historical period well and this 470 page tome has the perfect feel of an epic adventure.

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