Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Richard Castle's Deadly Storm: A Derrick Storm Mystery (2011)

     I cannot believe that Marvel retailed this at $19.99.  Or that people paid that amount for it.  Or that it is a hardcover graphic novel – the cover is as thick as the material between them.  On the subject of price, ABC seems to think that overcharging for materials that serve to promote their show (the Nikki Heat novels list at $19.99 to $25.99).  The show is available for free...sort of.  Factor in any cable or satellite charges versus viewing time and it might cost around $3 to watch a season – considerable cheaper than buying them on DVD or Blu-ray.
     See how I'm not diving into any kind of commentary on the material.  Maybe because it was so damnably subpar.  Never mind that it sets up a bad contradiction between the story and the mythology of the Derrick Storm novels as presented in the same book; there are always cheats an author can use to unmake a mistake.  There just isn't anything to the story.  There is little to no character development, just plugging types into the structure and letting expectations be met. 
     Most disappointing, the format wedges in a Castle hero relying on a strong female lead to direct and save him (something that was not supposed to be present in his fiction prior to being inspired by Det. Beckett...as my memory informs me from having seen the show from the get go, and I will admit that I may be mildly wrong).  There is nothing in the story that would make one believe that people would make it a best selling novel or spawn a successful series.  It feels very much like what I imagine my writing a mystery novel would be like – and that means not completely formed and full of guess work as to police (and governmental) procedures without any satisfactory endings to scenes involving them.  What's more, it then becomes hard to take the hero seriously when he needs help with everything but still is competent enough that everyone needs him to do what they can't.
     I did like the artwork, though.  Sure, it suffers from the very common comic book problem of occasional inconsistencies in how the characters look (I can't draw anything consistently, so I can appreciate how hard it must be), but it looks crisp and clean and imparts a good amount of movement without resorting to clichéd panels (it does once, and it feels very out of place).  I liked that it used typed lettering for Storm's inner monologue and regular handwritten lettering for the dialogue; it somehow felt right.  It doesn't hold a candle to my favorite graphic novels – but I fell in love with those in 1986 and the artist has since recolored them to lesser effect – but it comes close to being high quality. (As a total aside, it looks like I could sell my Elfquest graphic novels and pay all my expenses for three months.  That would never happen with Castle properties.)
     There isn't much here other than a quick diversion.  It doesn't really inform the show any better and it doesn't convince anyone that Richard Castle has a great imagination – a quality he is supposed to have.  The price is simply too high to justify this as a purchase.  Find a friend who forked over their hard earned cash or get a copy from the library if you are interested.  I believe in buying books when the value is right, but this would have to drop down to about $7.50 before that level would be found.

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