cover image War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

Stephen Stern, . . Best Sellers Illustrated, $13.99 (185pp) ISBN 978-0-9764755-0-7

Just in time for the release of Spielberg's movie adaptation, this graphic novel updates H.G. Wells's familiar story of alien invasion and sets it in modern-day New York, adding such details as the face-like formation on Mars photographed by the Viking Orbiter. Hero Geoff Wills is a reporter with a pregnant wife who goes into labor at just the wrong moment. He and a ragged group of civilians face the deadly invading Martian tripods, fighting to survive as the military fails to protect them. This adaptation retains the most identifiable elements of the original, but loses all the power of the classic story. Stern and Starr's version tries to convey the horror of a war on humanity, but moments of human interest continually lose out to simplistic action. Stern is aware of the repercussions of setting an apocalyptic story in today's New York, but a throwaway line about the 9/11 attacks comes across as flippant. The attempt at vivid Saturday morning action is often undermined by the sometimes clumsy b&w art. (May)