26 April 2008

Review:: Ojo (Graphic Novel)

I was perusing the graphic novels shelf at the library and saw this one staring out at me with a curious and benevolent eye.


So, yes, I was immediately drawn to it-- partly because it's published by Oni Press but mostly because the title is Spanish for "eye." Culturally, when you give someone "ojo"... well, it's like the evil eye. Bad luck can run rampant simply with an ill-meaning stare. Although this story is more about coping with loss instead of flaky luck.

Annie is a young girl who has lost her mother and is rather obsessed with death. She's struggling, as anyone would, to come to terms with the loss and how it affects the people she knows: her well-meaning grandfather, her rather grouchy sister, and the father that may or may not ever come back. This story could have gone either way-- really sappy or really goth-- but instead it's, gloriously, somewhere in between. The creativity is impressive (watch out for the charismatic mysterious trout!) and the story only lulls right before it ends.

The best part? Seeing Annie love. Seeing her mess up. Seeing her grow. Seeing her begin to acknowledge the pain in her life. In other words, this story is all about Annie, even when you can see her making the wrong choices.

This one has been illustrated by 3 different artists and I found the differences really distracting. Plus, some pages are jam packed with graphics, making the content really hard to read. Clearly, that's the point, and that's quite alright. For every page that didn't work with me, I was given a masterpiece.

7.13 of 9.
One of the strongest elements of this piece is the characterization of Annie. She may be a troubled ten-year-old but she is quite maternal and fierce. This is definitely one to be remembered.
Moderate. At times I felt that the page was much too crammed with information and the story definitely lost me right before the last few pages.
Mature teens and up. I felt particularly nauseous after a humorous take on inner organs. Nope, not for me, so I would not necessarily recommend it to a younger audience. Although, some of them do love that stuff.
Like it? Try this!::
I couldn't help but be reminded of Emily the Strange through all this.
Further Notes::
I was riveted to this one during the appetizer portion of this book, then it lost me during dinner. The dessert, however, was extra sweet and special. Definitely a worthwhile read.