Monday, February 10, 2014

Mini Review: Isle of 100,000 Graves by Jason & Fabien Vehlman (28 Days of Reviews #10)

Isle of 100,000 Graves by Jason & Fabien Vehlman
Isle of 100,000 Graves
Release Date: June 15th 2011
Publisher:  Fantagraphics
: 56
Genre: Fantasy graphic novel
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Five years ago, little Gwenny’s father found, inside a bottle, a map with instructions on how to reach the mysterious Isle of 100,000 Graves and its legendary treasures — and then he vanished. Now Gwenny, having stumbled across another bottle-shipped map, enlists the dubious help of a shipful of pirates, sets out to find the island, and her long-lost dad.

Little does she realize that the Isle comes by its ominous name honestly, as the location of a secret school for executioners and torturers, where apple-cheeked youngsters are taught the finer points of extracting information from prisoners… and then putting an end to their lives in a wide variety of gruesome ways. And they’ve reached the point in their studies where theory should ideally give way to practice, so an influx of uninvited visitors comes as a blessing to the faculty.

And yes, this story is a comedy. Albeit a dark one.

For the first time in his career, Jason has enlisted a writer: Fabien Vehlmann. (Vehlmann has written a number of graphic novels for the French and American markets, including an installment of the legendary Spirou series and the three-volume Green Manor continuity, of which two volumes have been released in English.) Vehlmann has managed to interiorize Jason’s deadpan style and wit perfectly, creating a uniquely smooth and successful collaboration.

As the synopsis say, this story is a comedy but it is definitely a dark one. Gwenny finds a bottle with a treasure map in it and decides she is going to look for her father who went in search of the same treasure and never returned. She finds her way onto a pirate ship and has persuaded a man to make sure she stays alive until she gets home. If she doesn’t then everyone will know his secret. We don’t know what this is and neither does Gwenny, but they pirate is very concerned.

After they make it to the island, they discover a school for executioners and torturers. Most of the pirates make their way into the school and are tortured until they plead guilty for whatever they say they should. Gwenny and the other pirate find a friend within the school and they have to make their way to find the paperwork to see what has become of her father. She discovers something she never thought she would.

The illustrations are very basic. They faces don’t have any real expressions besides basic mouth movements and a little bit of eyebrow work. They have no pupils so it is actually a little creepy to look at. I enjoyed this graphic novel and I would recommend for a really quick read.

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