One of my greatest weaknesses (when it comes to books) is art. If I see a nice cover I will want to read a book, regardless of what other people are saying. Of course, like many people might know, having a good book cover doesn’t translate to a good story. And yet I still find myself reading a book with a nice cover over something meh
This is what happened to me when I requested the book Golem by Lorenzo Ceccotti, published by Magnetic Press on January 26th 2016**. Buy on Amazon (paperback)
I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a bizarre form of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows a young boy kidnapped during a political protest gone sour, who learns that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself. This intensely imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti, better known as “LRNZ,” whose design-influenced illustration is a lush, fluid blend of manga masters like KATSUHIRO OTOMO with western comic icons like JOSH MIDDLETON, creating a style that is wholly unique and absolutely breathtaking
An interesting story, however, it completely missed its mark with me. The cover is gorgeous and was the reason I requested this book, however, the art does drop in quality. Perspective, anatomy, and facial expressions really bothered me throughout the book and I found myself focusing on that more than I did the story. There were certain parts where I thought the art was very impressive but they were few and usually only happened when Steno (MC) was unconscious.
And is that a yaoi hand I see? Haha
The pacing was fast, the fight scenes undeveloped, and there were too many characters for me to actually learn about them and therefore care. I feel like this story would have been better told if it spanned a couple of volumes.
For example, at the beginning I thought the Shorai were the antagonists since they attacked first, however, we later learn they’re a rebellious group fighting for the greater good of the people. The only reason we realize they’re allies is that Steno (MC) wakes up at their base and they don’t kill him. Then, in just a few pages we’re introduced to ten characters with hard to remember names. If this had spanned at least an extra volume, it could have put more emphasis on this group and perhaps I would have cared about their goals.
There was also talk about dreams that I felt was important to this story, especially near the end. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really understand where this was going.
At the end we do have The Secret Language of Golem where we learn the story is heavy on Christian and Zodiac symbolism: “Like pieces of a complex code, he has planted a wealth of symbolic clues and hidden meaning into nearly every panel of what is already a profound story about many things.”
Perhaps a person who is more into these topics could have better appreciated this book.
Rating: 2 out 5
Final Thoughts: While this comic had a very interesting concept, I feel it failed in execution. Had this comic been longer, it may have done a better job at creating a dialogue with the casual reader. The full-page illustrations were my favorite, unfortunately, there weren’t many.
Would I purchase this book for a friend/me? No
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