"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Neil Young's Greendale by Josh Dysart and Cliff Chiang

Unfocused, does not really stand alone from the album

I'd never heard of Neil Young's Greendale album before I picked up this graphic novel, but I decided the premise was interesting enough that I gave it a chance.

"Greendale" might be your cup of tea if you like your reading material to touch upon tons of ideas but develop none of them. This book is a coming-of-age, anti-war, anti-importing-oil, anti-drilling-for-more-American-oil-so-we-don't-have-to-import-it, anti-big-electricity, anti-media, super-hero book in which our heroine uses some of her powers to control people's minds (?) and change their opinions about all of these topics by speaking a bunch of platitudes at the end of the book while the devil character (who wanders in and out of the book and is making deals with the Bush 43 Administration and big energy on his cell phone) is beaten. I'm not really if she uses her super powers to control peoples minds, but they do point out that herd animals follow her naturally (sheep, caribou, cattle) and the only way her sophomoric rantings at the end of the book (chock full of meaningless phrases like "We are breathing in new ideas, the collective progressive tendency of the nation is becoming stronger!") would not have had an effect on anyone unless she backed them up with her power to control herds of animals.

None of these themes is explored in very much depth. I suppose the book is really about the women in the Green family of Greendale, California. Nature-based superpowers are inherited by the women in the Green family but the book doesn't look into (in any detail) what these women have done with those powers. The powers are clearly nature-based but are they guardians of nature? Do they use their powers to thwart development, aid it or are they neutral towards it? Why does the boyfriend turn into some sort of goat-thing? Why do some of the women become deformed while others look normal?

There were so many interesting stories that could have been told here. Instead, they have decided to tell them all at once and in so doing, they have told none of them at all.

I rated this book 2 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on April 24, 2010.

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