Last month I finally read volumes 2 and 3 of the three-part NORTHWEST PASSAGE
series. The following commentaries reflect my views:NORTHWEST PASSAGE VOL. 1 original graphic novelNorthwest Passage is an evolution in his work, a lively adventure story with a rich cast of characters, an interesting historical backdrop and cartooning that is amazingly clear and engaging. I was expecting something akin to a western with a Canadian setting, but Chantler instead offers up a story of pioneering spirit, old rivalries and the dreams of exploration that battle with the natural tendency to grow older and retire from such adventurous pursuits, whether you want to or not.
andTwo Things I Wish I Could AttendAuthor Scott Chantler has been chronicling the early days of the Canadian frontier and the Hudson’s Bay Company in his series Northwest Passage. The third volume of the series (featuring a climactic battle between Charles Lord and a band of vicious mercenaries) has just been released and is probably the most fun you’ll ever have with Canadian history!
but alsoBorrowed TimeI very much appreciate Oni trying new things: in this case, attempting to establish a format for the serialized graphic novel. However, I have yet to read one of their titles in this format that didn’t feel slight and leave me wanting more. (Northwest Passage is the best of the lot for satisfaction, in my opinion.) Certainly, at $7 for 80 pages, it’s a better deal than, for example, a $7 64-page Prestige Format DC comic (although those are in color)—but it’s not nearly as satisfying as an $8 200-page Shonen Jump manga.
In short, NORTHWEST PASSAGE has rich characters...makes history come alive...features Indians in a minor but crucial role...and leaves you wanting more.
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