Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Dark Horse Comics
Jackson Miller, Ross, Richards, Laguna, Ferreira, Jackson, Rambo, Heisler & Struzan
This week is the premier of the new Indiana Jones movie. To accompany it, Dark Horse released the comic adaptation in trade format. They also released part one (of two) of the exact same adaptation on the same day as the trade. Why buy half the story when you can buy the whole thing? Knowing I wouldn’t be seeing the movie in the first couple of weekends I decided to pick up the trade. I realize the comic can’t capture the same level of action and excitement as the movie, but let me tell you, this comic is very good.
To try to stay grounded here, I didn’t read this comic thinking Raiders of the Lost Ark. Instead, I was thinking about the Marvel Indy series and the Dark Horse Omnibus that was just released a couple of months ago. This stacks up very well with any of them.
The comic has tons of action. Page after page, the action goes from explosions to sand pits, to car chases to sword fighting. While, these scenes do have some drawbacks, for the most part they flow very nicely and keep this thing moving at the fast pace you’d expect from Indiana Jones, movie or otherwise. In some spots, some of the characters seem to fall out of the panel and don’t reappear for pages, and in some cases, not at all. In that respect the action can be difficult to follow.
This comic also has tons of plot. Some of the plot is wrapped up in the artifacts sought after and some of it stems from the history that Indiana pours out of his head whenever needed. As you might guess, the bad guys want power, while the good guys just want to keep things undisturbed. The plot allows for some mysticism and some level of “faith”. While many of the pieces to the puzzle have scientific explanations, many of them don’t line up and help to make the comic sit in a gray area of whether or not a historical find was made or an angry ghost was disturbed.
This comic has plenty of characters. You won’t find all the favorites from the first three movies, but one or two get a nod and one plays a prominent role. Some of Indiana’s friends are interesting characters, even though they were introduced in this comic and have no relevant history to speak of. We also get more than our fair share of double crossing and triple crossing.
This comic adds in an element that I doubt the movie can: it has a narration on many of the pages. This is actually excellent addition to the comic. It adds some information to the story and it adds the thought process of Indy. It acts as a snarky, but informative voice throughout the comic. It helped to keep the story clearly defined and kept humor properly weaved throughout the story.
The artwork is great. It rates among the best Indy artwork I’ve ever seen. Capturing the action played out on the big screen is really difficult, but I felt like I was looking at movie stills and not a drawing. That’s how good the artwork is. It does kind of stink to see Indy looking so old, but at least he kept his 1930s style of dress.
Obviously most would rather see the movie than have the story revealed to them in a comic. However, if you like adaptations or you liked the Marvel or Dark Horse Indy comic series from the past then I would encourage you to pick this up. I really enjoyed it. Sure it’s possible if I had seen the movie first and read this then it wouldn’t hold up, but that’s why you got to go into this comic understanding its place. You can even sit there and read it with the soundtrack playing in the background if it helps.
5 out of 5 geek goggles