Graphic Novel Review: The Lightning Thief

Posted October 10, 2013 by Debby in Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: The Lightning ThiefThe Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel by Attila Futaki, José Villarrubia, Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti
Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 12th, 2010
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mythology
Pages: 128
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

You've read the book. You've seen the movie. Now submerge yourself in the thrilling, stunning, and action-packed graphic novel.

Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

Series creator Rick Riordan joins forces with some of the biggest names in the comic book industry to tell the story of a boy who must unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

3 Stars

When I saw this listed on the Book Depository, I just knew I had to buy it. It had to happen. I love the Percy Jackson series so much, so I honestly didn’t care that it would be the exact same story. The illustrations would make it a whole new and wonderful experience. In a way, I was correct, but still this could have been better.

In terms of the adaptation, this graphic novel is extremely close to the original, so no worries there. If anything, it begs the question why the movie couldn’t be a closer adaptation, but I think we’ve all established what a disappointment the movie was.

For the most part I liked the artwork, though I found it extremely odd that they still claimed that Percy was 12 years old, in 6th grade, and he honestly looks at least 18 if not older. So that’s a bit of a clash there: they tried to give it a more mature comic book look, but if the characters are so young, that doesn’t really work. Making them look intentionally younger, however, would maybe give it a more manga, chibi-esque look that would also exclude a lot of the potential audience. So… I understand the difficulty of the decision, but I do wonder if there wasn’t some happy compromise to be found in the middle.

While I was impressed with the world building details that they still managed to include in the graphic novel, I was disappointed overall by the length and pacing of the story. I mean, this graphic novel is 128 pages. That’s so freaking short. A lot of the scenes, especially battles, were shortened to one to two pages. The Lotus Hotel & Casino scene? Two or three pages. That’s just sad. It was all very rushed, and I wonder why it couldn’t have been expanded. Also so much of the sarcastic humor that I love about Percy was cut out. More sadness.

Summing Up:

This was a fun quick way to experience the first of the Percy Jackson series in a new format. I enjoyed it, for sure, though the artwork could maybe have been a bit better and overall it was just far too short. However, as a die hard Percy fan, I don’t regret this purchase, and I’ll probably pick up the next graphic novels as well. Just to have more Percy in my life. But I wouldn’t recommend this as a substitute for the actual Percy Jackson books.

Recommended To:

Die hard Percy Jackson fans.

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9 responses to “Graphic Novel Review: The Lightning Thief

  1. I didn't even know this series had a graphic novel. That's weird that they would make him look so much older. That's like HP getting a graphic novel and starting him off looking 17. WOULD NOT WORK. I just generally dislike when stories are altered to try and appeal to other people. IMO, it loses what made it special in the process.

  2. Yeah, the artwork is… odd. Though to be fair I'm used to manga style so any comic book style is kind of odd to me, haha. I dunno. It was all right. Not the best. I need to explore graphic novels more and then reevaluate.

  3. EXACTLY. I thought at first that maybe they made an executive decision to like follow the movie and just make them 16 from the start, but then it literally says he's in 6th grade. Just. Just. No. It doesn't work like that. *sigh*

    I dunno, I kind of like the idea of graphic novel adaptations at least in the context of Percy Jackson – because he's said time and time again that what he tries to do with his books is appeal to the reluctant reader. So this is another way to get those people reading SOMETHING. So I kind of liked that, and I just love Percy so much. But for other series I would question its worth, indeed. And yeah, it'll never be as good as the original… sadly.

  4. Hmmm it sounds like they got a bit distracted by movie Percy and decided to make him older as well. I don't read graphic novels so I wouldn't pick this up no matter how much of a hardcore fan I am. (I like to visualize the characters and the story in my own way.) Also, the artwork looks a bit weird. Percy on the cover looks like he really doesn't want to be there…
    My recent post Mini review: Arclight

  5. Bahaha, I was looking at the cover and thinking he looked pretty damn old for 12. I mean, I’m all for aging up a little, but that is not a little.

    And, yeah, the rest of this review is basically why I hate graphic novelizations of YA books. If they’re an add-on to the series, then cool. But if it’s just the plot of the novel abbreviated into graphic novel format? That seems to me like the author trying to make more money without doing much (or any – depending on who does the adapting) work. I mean, there is trying to hit the reluctant reader market, but I think his series did well there anyway, so…meh.

    • Exactly! But then they still claimed he’s 12. I was so confused. That guy is NOT 12. Get it together, artists.

      Fair enough. I think I would only read the other PJO graphic novels, and for the rest I’ll stay away from graphic novels based on books. I just.. Percy… Yeah. xD

  6. This series is one of those that I both love and hate. I love love love the concept. I mean, how much do I want that library to exist and for me to work there? SO MUCH. But she does not rock at characterization. I like that’s diverse, but they’re pretty flat. Sigh.