Overview

Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time #1

Review

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Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time #1

Credits

  • Words: Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Chase Conley
  • Colors: Nicolas Chapuis
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 24, 2010

Here’s one of my best memories: I’m sitting in the backseat of our family’s ’76 Ford Montego, traveling to Toronto to visit my grandparents, on the last excursion my family would take together. There’s a crisp, new paperback sitting in my lap. A fierce, dark knight and his enchanting lady lead a midnight caravan of young travelers through a warmly lit village: “In one age, called the Third Age by some, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning, but it was a beginning.” Pure magic. I was hooked.

Like many people, Robert Jordan’s immensely popular Wheel of Time series had a profound impact on me, encouraging me to reconsider the boundaries of high fantasy I explored in Narnia and Middle Earth. It was apparent to me even as a teenager, that Jordan’s The Eye of the World was something special, the foundation of a masterpiece in the making.

So it was with trepidation that I took the plunge into Dynamite’s comic adaptation of Jordan’s fantasy epic. Adapting any prose work to a graphic medium presents a multitude of challenges, from character designs to deciding which plot elements to include in the new project. When the world is as richly imagined as Jordan’s, the choices become virtually infinite and the pressure to please legions of fans daunting.

Chuck Dixon and Chase Conley succeed magnificently in making all the right moves in this first issue. They approach the work with a passion and respect rivaling Jordan’s own, remaining extremely faithful to the source material. Dixon’s pacing is nearly flawless, his scene selections and vibrant dialogue lending the plot a fluid, natural grace. He consistently makes the right choices, some of which are surprising, such as the inclusion of the “Raven” prologue from the young adult reissue of The Eye of the World. I’d almost forgotten about this prologue but applaud its inclusion, as it will help broaden the reach of the adaptation to a female audience.

Conley’s lush artwork perfectly compliments Dixon’s script. His love for the characters and the world they inhabit is evident in every panel, from the fully rendered backgrounds to the intricate details of his designs. Like his partner, Conley makes impeccable artistic choices, transitioning between the soft pastoral landscapes of the Two Rivers to the harsh, robust shadows of Dragonmount with ease.

Adaptations, like any other artistic endeavor, are all about choices. If Dixon and Conley made all the right decisions to preserve Jordan’s vision, then Dynamite deserves a nod for choosing them as its artistic stewards in the first place.

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