Sunday, 20 September 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Comic - Review

To tie in with the release of the film, Mad Max: Fury Road the comic works as a prequel to the film, which is helpful, considering there was some rather ambiguous references to Max's past that weren't in any of the three previous Mad Max films. Containing four stories (one a two-parter), we get to see how Immortan Joe got his name, how Nux became a War Boy, why the wives left their lives as sex slaves, the history of the war rig, and just who exactly was that little girl Max was having flashbacks about in Fury Road.

As stated in the introduction by Mark Sexton, Fury Road storyboard artist, and the comics co-writer and illustrator, the stories in this book are elaborations on the backgrounds of the characters George Miller himself made up, used by the actors to bring some history to their parts. Each story is narrated by a Wordburger, a heavily tattooed individual who has taken it upon themselves to remember the stories of history after all the books were burned.

The most developed stories are Immortan Joes and Max's two part story. "Max Part One" offers a six page break down of the previous three films, and leads onto some of the events that take part in the Mad Max videogame. Max's story in particular gives you some insight into the Fury Road film, as we finally get to understand who the little girl was in the film; it turns out to be a young girl called Glory, who he tried to save.

The part of these comics that has gathered the most criticism is Furiosa's story. What the film did so brilliantly was portray the female characters with a bit of respect, but the comic story is immensely lazy in its telling of their story. Not only does it pretty much repeat what we already know about their history, it makes Furiosa look useless, and is quite graphic in their description and depiction of the wives rape. It even changes details that appear in the film (its the wives Wordburger who writes "Our babies will not be war lords" for Joe, not the wives themselves). It is by far the most unnecessary of all the stories, and leaves you no more informed then before you read it.

In an attempt to secure a release for the comics that coincide with the movie, the comic uses screen shots from all the Mad Max films, I presume to make people who may not usually pick up comic tie-in's recognise the franchise. While you want the book to look like the film, blatantly lifting scenes from the film seems slightly cheap, like one of those Disney "novelisations". Of all the art work, my favourite is that of the issue covers, drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, that deliver some sense of the dynamism and manic nature of the films, especially through the use of manga style speed lines.

Unless you are a big fan of the films, there won't be much to keep your attention in this collection. Providing a history to Fury Road is useful, but considering the fact that there is two sequels in the works that deal with the back stories, this comic may quickly become defunct. Hopefully what the book may provide is a starting point for a longer format comic that deals with vast history that this stories only hint at.



We've been looking at a lot of Mad Max this year. Listen to Layla's Virgin Viewings of the original Mad Max trilogy here, our podcast review of Fury Road here, and Richee's review of the game here. Don't forget, you can find all our podcasts and subscribe to us on itunes.

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