Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Robert Vendetti, Nate Powell

Rating: WARTY!

This graphic novel is in the Percy Jackson world, but features a different main character named Jason, who wakes up on a school bus on a trip to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is as scary as it is awesome. Jason cannot remember who he is, although two friends, Leo and Piper (I'm sorry, but I can't take that name seriously. I just can't. I apologize to all who are named Piper, but I cannot. Honestly). Of course these kids are demigods as they soon discover, and all three are sent on a quest for a missing goddess, because gods are useless, and they're flying on a bronze dragon....

Riordan has carved out a fine empire with his take on Greek mythology, but it has singularly failed to impress me. I rather liked the first movie made from these books, The Lightning Thief, but I didn't like the second one and I didn't liked the book that gave rise to that first movie either! Nor have I liked an adult-oriented detective story of his, so I guess I'm done with this author!

My problem with this was several-fold. While Robert Vendetti's adaptation of the original was passable (and perhaps better than the original since it was shorter!), Nate Powell's art work left a lot to be desired. It felt slapdash and hasty. The biggest problem as usual, though, was the overall story. It felt choppy and staccato, and not a lot of it made sense. I don't know if this mirrors the original novel, or if this came about as part of the translation to graphic. All the evil villains had horrible faces or horrible expressions on the faces, and pointy teeth, so cheap stereotype found lucrative employment here.

Conversely, all the good guys have the looks of runway models. In fact, frequently we're taught in this book that women are only really worth anything if they're beautiful, No other quality comes close: not intelligence, not loyalty, nor diligence, industriousness, reliability, bravery, strength (mental or physical). Nope. The only thing a girl can offer is good looks, otherwise she's pretty much worthless. I resent that. Anyone who actually knows women (and it would seem that Riordan doesn't if he's judged by his writing) knows that their true beauty, just as in men, comes from the inside, not from the shallow depth of their skin.

I also didn't like that Riordan's world is pretty much whites only. Yeah, you can try arguing that it's based on ancient Greece which was a largely white world, but since Riordan abandoned Greece in favor of the USA, I think you can argue that he also abandoned excuses and he lost that high ground. I mean why base a novel rooted in Greek mythology actually in Greece when it can be based in the only country in the world worth writing about: the great US of A? The hell with the Greeks. The hell with native American mythology, let's and for no reason at all, simply migrate Greek mythology wholesale to the US! Steal the mythology, but god forbid any of the stories should ever take place outside the US.

The problem with a world like this - or any paranormal world is that you have to have some sort of intelligent framework behind it, to have it work in a coherent fashion, otherwise literally anything could happen and all smart plotting is out the window. I didn't see any framework here. The one consistent thing we learn here is how utterly useless gods are - of any stripe,. It doesn't matter if the god is Roman, Greek, Egyptian, biblical, Norse, or whatever, not a single one of these gods is worth anything! They're always begging us poor, weak, condemned, sinful, worthless humans to help them out! What's the heck is up with that? Why would any god worthy of the name need anyone's help?

So, to cut a long story short, as indeed did the the guy who adapted this, I can't recommend this graphic novel, It had no substance and really delivered no worthwhile story.