REVIEW: Django Unchained #1

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Adapting pre-existing properties into comics has always been a bit of a challenge. Sometimes it works, like with IDW’s Godzilla: Half Century War. Other times it fails miserably, like with IDW’s Mars Attacks: The Holidays. The problems can often occur in the process of trying to remain faithful to the source material while still still delivering an original story. Well Django Unchained avoids that problem completely by directly adapting the first draft of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie by the same name. Does movie script adapt well to comic format? Find out, after the jump.

  prv14644_covDJANGO UNCHAINED #1
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Art: R.M. Guéra, Jason Latour
Colors: Guilia Brusco
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Variant Cover: Jim Lee, Alex Sinclair
Assistant Editor: Sarah Litt
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Publisher: Vertigo
Cover Price: $3.99

A SLAVE TO THE SCRIPT

The over arching story set up in the first issue seems to be solid, Dr. King Schultz finds Django because he knows the faces of some men he needs to track down. If you are a fan of Tarantino’s movies, then you know all the juice lies in the execution. This first issue is filled with the intense, short, bloody action scenes that is Tarantino’s trade mark, and plenty of witty dialogue to boot; the style is all there. Nothing of real substance happens though, just lots of fun. The most glaring problem, however, is in the pacing and transitions from set piece to set piece. It all feels a bit choppy for a comic, which makes sense since it was written for the silver screen. It would have been more interesting, I feel, to have seen Tarantino either adapt the script more for comics, or perhaps write an original tale that takes place in the same universe.

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

The art is really solid throughout. There isn’t much to say stylistically, but it does a really good job of telling the story. There is some excellent work done with faces throughout, they are very good at conveying emotion and expression and do it quite frequently. It almost feels a bit exaggerated at times, another element not alien to the works of Tarantino. A lot of the panel composition is done in a way that feels very cinematic, perhaps because of the script, but I am willing to give the artist the benefit of the doubt. The cinematic feel is very fitting with the story being told though. Jim Lee’s cover variants are notably good, and I am not usually a fan of Jim Lee’s work. I think the man was born to draw westerns.

BOTTOM LINE: FOR THE FANS

Not having seen the movie at the time of this writing, I cannot say how close it is to it though, but I have a feeling the first issue is pretty close to what you can expect to see on the screen. Regardless, this is a very solid western comic, and detached from the movie I would be saying go out and buy this if you are at all interested in the wild wild west.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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