Oct 13, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 25 - Bionicle: Battle of the Mask Makers, 2016

Sorry for the graphic novel break, but we're back.

I was not terribly kind when I reviewed the previous volume in this series. I think my conclusion was flat art meets flat writing. It's definitely a problem, and one that I struggle with in my considerations of writing, be it comics, television, film, what have you, that is ostensibly geared toward children. I think one of the major problems members of the Bionicle fandom had with the recent revamp is that it simplified the story - while this was seen as a bad move by many, it's a move that's understandable given who the toy line and its concomitant media were aimed toward. AFOLs (Adult Fan of Lego) sometimes think that their favourites should grow with them, and forget that Lego is a toy, and remains locked onto a particular demographic for its bread and butter.

That said, I found this volume of the series (likely the last) to be quite a bit better than the previous one. The story is that of Ekimu and Makuta, the mask makers, and is primarily told through the focal lens of one of the ancient Protectors. This characterization of secondary characters is really rather lovely. In the online comics and those in the magazines, the Protectors are silent characters who seem, sadly, to not be very good at their job of protecting - hence the appearance of the Toa. But Agarak, ancient Protector of Jungle, is given both voice and personality, and offers a glimpse into Okotan life that is very satisfying. This is the kind of depth and complexity of narrative that fans of the line have bemoaned as being absent, so it's a pity that the series was cancelled before we could properly be introduced to and drawn in by these characters.


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