When it comes to Neil Gaiman, I believe the author is fantastic at tapping into the supernatural realm of literature and creating his own universe. One of my all-time favorite novels is The Graveyard Book written by this genius and yet I felt meh about this story. The illustrations were okay, the tone of the story was melancholy with a mix of fatigue and in the end I felt indifferent about the graphic novel when it was all over. I do believe if I am not mistaken that Gaiman adapted a classic typical troll story and gave the Gaiman makeover.
The story deals with a boy named Jack as he wonders through the countryside of England until one day he stumbles into a bridge and meets a troll. The troll tells him that he wants to kill him and Jack makes a compromise that because he is a child, he has not experience the world and all the other stuff that one must experience in their life. The troll agrees to wait and be patient and we see how time progresses and how Jack’s life turns out. Overall the whole scenario was a bit too predictable for me except for the ending which I was not expecting.
I believe part of the issue with this story is Jack is not a likable character and even the troll knows that Jack is not completely innocent. As we watch Jack grow up from a child to a middle-age man we see that Jack carries the burden of the world on his shoulders yet at the same time could careless about his wife and kids. The sense of indifference permeates the pages and by the end of it I was praying that the Troll take him away. Its quite possible that Jack’s life would have been better off if he had given in to the troll from the beginning.
One theme that Neil Gaiman touched upon in this story that was extremely relatable is how our environment is constantly changing and yet we are stuck between who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. I live in a city where there is no history in our architecture compare to Europe and its because we do not like to see old relics. We tear them down expecting that the replacement will be better and that is not always the case. Living in the countryside for Jack was beautiful and over a period of several decades we see how this beautiful world full of nature gets teared down by humans and soon enough all the land is ripped apart to create this dull suburban life.
The atmosphere of this story is extremely dark and gloomy and in many ways Gaiman wants you to feel sympathetic to Jack and Colleen Doran is creative at using colors to match those undertones through the narrative. Overall this graphic novel leans towards 3.5 but I love Gaiman so I’ll give him that extra half point to sum up everything.