The Dresden Files: Storm Front Vol. 1 The Gathering Storm
by Jim Butcher, Adapted by Mark Powers
Cover Artist: Ardian Syaf
Review by Gayle Surrette
Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345506399
Date: 02 June 2009 List Price $22.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Storm Front is the first of Jim Butcher's novels about Harry Dresden, Professional Wizard, which has been followed by many more novelizations of Harry's adventures. There was a single season TV series based on the books. Now there's Storm Front, the graphic novel, Volume 1. This volume collects the comic book issues 1-4 of Storm Front. Volume 1 covers the first half of the novel-- brilliantly.
Dresden is brought in on surprisingly weird case of murder by Lt. Karrin Murphy of the Chicago PD. It's definitely murder by magic and for Dresden to figure out the how could endanger his own life because this is the blackest of black magics. He's also got a missing person's case of his own. Dresden doesn't suspect the cases are connected until it's almost too late.
Covering the first half of the novel, volume 1 leaves us on a real cliff hanger. It's been a while since I read Storm Front, but I dug out my copy and scanned over it quickly to check on the adaptation. Okay, you got me, I ended up rereading great chunks of it, I couldn't help myself--that's the beauty of Butcher's crisp style which grabs on and doesn't let the reader go until the end of the book. Luckily, the adaptation is a marvel of maintaining the same energy and movement as the original novel, balancing the visual and written information on a razor's edge. Don't believe me? After you read the graphic novelization, get the book -- then try and stop at the point where volume 1 comes to an end. But don't worry if you can't. You'll still enjoy volume 2 when it comes out.
As for the artwork...Syaf must have read my mind. This is my Dresden. The Dresden I see when I read the books. The TV version was okay but not the one in my head, so he took a while to get used to. But this visual representation didn't take any getting used to, he is Dresden for me. He may not be for you, but I bet he's close because he matches the book descriptions.
A graphic novel is words and art working together. Sometimes the two go together well and the book is a success; sometimes they don't exactly mesh and the book is okay but not great. In this case the art and words come together to make a synergistic whole that's better than each alone. The adaptation pulls out the key elements of the novel and the artwork fills in details and heightens the emotional content and context of the text.
If you're a fan of The Dresden Files, even if you don't usually peruse the graphic novel section of you bookstore -- take a look, it might just open a whole new world of reading material to you. If you start here and enjoy The Dresden Files: Storm Front, Volume 1, seek out the book because the additional background material available in the novel will just heighten the enjoyment of rereading the graphical adaptation.