cover image The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen, Del Rey, $25 (225p) ISBN 978-0-345-50538-5

The Exile is a fine addition to any Outlander fan's collection, but as a graphic novel, it's a disappointment. A rewrite of Gabaldon's bestselling time-travel romance from the point of view of her 18th-century Scottish hero, the graphic novel suffers under the weight of dialogue intended for a much longer book. Scenes that ought to be exciting, such as sword fights and escapes from the law are breezed over in a page or two. Approximately four out of five panels are simply talking heads, and despite Nguyen's most valiant efforts, it simply isn't visually interesting. While Nguyen draws charmingly expressive faces for the rest of the characters, the hero spends half the story in the same close-lipped grimace, even when he's talking. Even without the novel's rape scenes, both straight and gay, the story itself remains problematic. The time-traveling Claire, who is already married back in her own time, is forced to marry Jamie in order to save her life. The otherwise sympathetic hero beats his wife because "I will have to punish you," and her objections to this are treated like a joke. Still, Outlander fans should enjoy seeing the character rendered to Gabaldon's exacting standards. (Sept.)