Now, I am not one to shy away from my love of Grant Morrison’s work- I love Arkham Asylum, Final Crisis, The Invisibles, Multiversity, Batman Incorporated and so many, many more of his books that when I saw that I could get a first issue of a strange, unique, creator owned work for only a buck- I jumped at the chance! “18 Days” is (I am assuming) a follow-up story to the previously published 18 Days original graphic novel. As I read up on that previously published work- I discovered that it was considered more-or-less a pitch for “something more” probably a major motion picture; that something more would not be coming- until now, in the form of this new ongoing comic series.
I have not read the original “18 Days”, though I do have a close friend who had read that first book. I saw it on his shelf a few years ago while we were hanging out for one of our “random, binge-drinking single-dudes” gatherings. He was very much into Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” run as well. I bet he would have more to say about this issue as it relates to that previous book, but he isn’t here- so you’re stuck with me. Morrison has become quite a polarizing figure in comics, because he seemingly loves the high-concept stories, and has become pretty heavy handed with his “M. Night Shymalan-esque” twist-endings. I am sure that this book will end up having one of those type of endings- but I find myself looking forward to them; I am not the person who was grown tired of being “Morrison-ed” (as I like to call it).
This issue is gorgeous- the artwork is stellar, and the story (while VERY high-concept) is still rather easy to follow. I would have liked to have the roll-call page up front for the issue so that I could have seen the “who’s who” of “18 Days” before all was said and done. It did make me go back and re-read some sections of the story once I knew which people belonged to which factions, and I am sure now that I do know for certain that there is a cast of characters as the end of the issue- I can go to the back of the book FIRST and read up on the different groups and THEN re-read the story and have a more solid grasp of which face belongs to which faction.
The story, while heavy and not without it’s fair share of depth, seems pretty straightforward; this world has ages as we understand seasons, and the current season of this world is one of a major war, and a war that will decide the fate of all existence. So, obviously, the stakes are NOT AT ALL very high in this book (SARCASM ALARM!!!). I was intrigued by the concept of this story, because it is something that I am completely unaware of. I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures, but the story of Mahabharata is one I have no basis for. So this book will be a very literal learning experience, but from this first issue I think that I DO want to learn more about it. I like to read (obviously, or I would have never gotten into comic books- I would have started a sitcom review blog, instead…) so maybe when I get further into the story of Mahabharata I will try to find a copy of the text that this comic is based off of- though, unless it is translated into English, I wont be able to read it… I’m a “typical American” in that way; I used to speak a little French, but had a terrible time reading it (in high school I tried to read “The Phantom of the Opera” in French… halfway through and I wished that I WAS a phantom).
Grant Morrison is quite the busy man, so it is interesting to see that this story of his is being dusted off and re-published now- when he has two series from DC in the pipeline, a standalone graphic novel coming out soon AND has just been named Editor in Chief at Heavy Metal magazine. I guess he really holds to the concept of striking while the iron is hot- though, for Grant Morrison, his iron has been hot for 25+ years…
This book seems like it will be a crazy, high-concept story- packed with all sorts of strange magic and Gods (maybe even from multiple pantheons) involved in the war to determine the fate of existence, as we know it. This is no “casual” read, and is most certainly NOT something that a first time comic reader should grab off the shelves; unless that first time reader is someone well versed in religion and mythology and the Mahabharata is something they are already passionate about.
I enjoyed it, and if you haven’t been burned out on being Morrison-ed, then I bet you’ll enjoy this book as well…