Caught My Eye: Indiana Jones Adventures Vol 1

Guest Post

I am a child of the 80’s, and like a good majority I grew up watching Raiders of the Last Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. I watched those three movies so much that I wore out several VHS copies of them and had to bug my parents for replacements fairly often. It is a safe bet that Indiana Jones is my favorite fictional character of all time. When I was growing up, I often dreamed of fighting Nazis and discovering some lost relic with the aid of my trusty whip.

As most people know, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just came out. In preparation of the movie’s release, I decided to check out a new series of Indiana Jones comics that Dark Horse released. The comic in question is Indiana Jones Adventures Volume 1 and is geared more for younger readers who might be fans of the Clone Wars series Dark Horse puts out. I have yet to read a comic based on a live action character that made the transition perfectly, mainly due to clunky dialog and art not really looking like the actors. My imagination is just not wired that way. They usually look like stiff cardboard cutouts or absolutely nothing like the actors. The reason I decided to give this series a try is that it is more of a cartoon representation and I felt that would be different enough to ease me into the book.

The overall story was unspectacular for the most part. This adventure took place before any of the movies and dealt with Norse mythology. Since part of the fun with Indiana Jones stories is the cool history you learn, I was slightly disappointed with how much information was given out. I guess since the book aimed more at a younger audience and the page count was limited, not much time could be spent going over the history lesson aspects. It felt like a quick Google search was used for the few background pieces of the plot.

While the history lesson aspect left more to be desired, the worst part of the story was how Indiana Jones was portrayed. When he came into contact with another archeologist, she referred to him as a grave robber and Indy pretty much went along with it. To me, that was kind of an insult since he is always portrayed as one who respects history more than someone out for a buck. When the other character mentioned bringing in a team to document what was in the site, he responded with “You do that with everything I don’t take tonight.” Reading that line made me wish Henry Jones Sr. was around to break a fake vase over my head. The one thing I did like with the story was the inclusion of the characters Marcus Brody and rival René Belloq. Their addition to the story made it feel a little more real.

What I thought would be the weakest part of the comic ended up being the strongest. The stylized art really worked for this book in ways no other adaption has to me. Since Ethan Beavers was not trying to make Indy look like Harrison Ford, it didn’t take you out of the book like it would have had his intention been to do so. All of the characters are very distinct looking and never get confused with others. That is sometimes a problem with comics where no one is wearing an elaborate costume. All of the action scenes are really well done and very entertaining to look at.

One complaint I do have with the art is the inking is kind of odd looking in places. Some of the lines are kind of rough and scratchy looking and in places the lines don’t match up with the same thickness. The other thing I noticed is that Indy always has the same snarl on his face with the teeth exposed. If he had fangs, I would imagine he was out stalking a victim so he could drink their blood.

If you are interested in this book and you fit the same demographic as me, you might want to hold off or read it first in the store before you commit to the purchase. If you are thinking of getting this for a kid who saw the recent movie and is interested in reading more Indiana Jones adventures, then it might not be so bad. Just be sure to explain that Indiana Jones is not a grave robber…

Indiana Jones Adventures Volume 1
Writer: Philip Gelatt
Art: Ethan Beavers
Color: Ronda Pattison
Dark Horse Books
Released June 2008
Diamond Order Code: MAR080028