1 out of 4 stars
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The Wall: Volume One - Guardian's Redemption
The Wall: Volume One - Guardian's Redemption is an attempt at science fiction meets military fiction in this bizarre novella. A military team encounters something strange on a mission, something that can only be described as supernatural. The consequences of this encounter reverberate through their lives, even as they return home.
I give this book 1 out of 4 stars. If I could give it a 0, I would. It is horribly written, clichéd as hell, and was a genuine pain to read. Never have I read anything so short that was such a chore to get through.
Let’s start with the obvious. This book is categorized as a “Graphic Novel or Comic Book” when it is neither of these things. It is a novella with about six illustrations sprinkled through it. So right off the bat, the author has misunderstood his genre. The full title also makes no sense, as there is no redemption and there is no guardian. Unless the guardian is meant to be our main character, which…that’s a laugh. But more on that later.
Right off the bat, I question the fact that the author didn’t even bother to come up with a pen name. If you don’t want to attach your real name to something, that’s fine—especially with the internet. But to me, putting forth so little effort that you call yourself “Some Guy” does not exactly inspire confidence.
There are many grammatical errors throughout this book. Everything from misspelled words to improper comma placement make it frustrating to read. It could be a lot better. The biggest flaw is probably that the author consistently uses underlining instead of italics.
The story suffers from bad setup, and this doesn’t change. Details that are important to the reader take far too long to reveal themselves. For example, the team is only identified as a U.N. Special Forces team about a third into the book. Given the various nationalities of the group, it makes for confusing reading if one is assuming the team is affiliated with a specific country. The timeframe of the story is also badly framed—we start in medias res, then flashback…but when we flash forward, we’re past the introduction and have to fumble our way around the timeline.
My biggest gripes with the story are the clichés and poor research involved. It reads like an 80s action thriller. Our protagonist is a rebel who wears a red bandana at all times "regardless of military regulations regarding their uniforms." He carries a freakin’ tomahawk. He wears his hair in a ponytail, while another member of his team must wear a face mask because of health reasons. The members of the team check off just about every stereotype you can think of: the Japanese man is a martial arts expert and uses throwing stars; the nerd is sickly and stutters; the Native American has “magical” powers. It just never ends.
The first part of the book is bad, but not anger-inducing bad. It is mostly clichéd and could use a few more rewrites. The second half is practically a different story altogether, and makes me want to punch every single character in the face. No one comes out looking good here, especially not our hero.
The views on women are downright offensive. From jokes about Princess Diana’s cup size, to talk of “chicks creaming,” to threats of rape…I definitely get the feeling that the author is an incel who believes getting rejected by a girl is a good reason to shoot up a school. Even the president’s underage daughter doesn’t escape this treatment. The protagonist muses that a kindergartener will likely grow up having to sell her body because he killed her father. It’s just over the top, and frankly, a bit frightening. These are exactly the kinds of attitudes we should be trying to correct.
The protagonist’s name changes halfway through the book, ostensively because of hiding from his previous life. However, he’s still with his military team, and everyone else still goes by the same nicknames. It feels like the author just couldn’t decide between two awesome action names (seriously, “Forge” and “Gunns”?) and so used both.
I could probably go on for hours detailing out all of the things in this story that made no sense, were poorly written, or just flat out wrong. The biggest problem is…this could work as a graphic novel. I’m serious—the artwork is pretty good. I could see this plot working in a graphic format. Less of the horrible descriptions, more dialogue, whittled the whole thing down, and it could work.
My recommendation for this story would be to take it back to the drawing board. Pull someone in to help with a rewrite, and break the characters down so that you really know what makes them tick. Map out the world-the threat, the reality of it-and own it. Tighten up the plot, and consider turning it into a proper graphic novel.
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