All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque and Wayne Vansant. Dead Reckoning, $24.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-68247-333-7
This disappointing graphic adaptation of Remarque’s classic novel, by Vansant (The ’Nam), dutifully relays the chronicle of Paul Baumer, who, along with three of his friends, enlists in the German army shortly after the start of WWI and is sent to the Western Front. Like its predecessor, the comic concentrates on the depressing realities of war and the alienating effects of fighting for a homeland from which the soldiers feel a growing sense of distance. But the adaptation reads like a sketched-over executive summary of the brilliant original; the long stretches of narration drag on, and often omit the best parts of Remarque’s use of language, such as his ability to turn a phrase. The realist-style art also missteps, for example where the naive young soldiers, introduced at the outset as “all 19 years old,” can look as grizzled as the veterans, and their awkward proportions occasionally stretch the limits of credibility. The coloring also puzzles, with changing monochromatic backgrounds used without apparent thought or narrative import. The effort feels rushed; educators and fans of the original looking for a quality graphic adaptation would do well to wait for a worthier venture. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/07/2019
Release date: 06/01/2019
Genre: Comics
Ebook - 978-1-68247-450-1
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