Humanoids has recently published Eisner-nominated writer/artist Ibrahim Moustafa’s modernized version of The Count of Monte Cristo, titled Count. For those who worry about the classic being adapted, never fear as this classic is in great hands. While sadly I haven’t read the actual classic, I am a huge fan of the 2002 film, so I was very excited to hear about a newer comic book adaptation coming out — especially since this one has a sci-fi twist!
The best thing about this adaptation is the comic book format — we don’t have to worry about big screen productions with CGI that may or may not deliver as this is perfectly played out to the strength of comics: imagination on paper. The vehicles and weapons in this new version of the world look futuristic, but at the same time very familiar. In the classic, the transportation was by sail ship. Here, we have these “whale” like ships that fly above the lands and seas, which was a great way to keep that “swashbuckler” feel from Dumas’ adventure while upping the potential for danger. The weapons played out perfectly too, giving off a Star Wars vibe while keeping the sword style of combat near to the action.
Count follows protagonist Redxan Samud, a sailor who saves the day which leads him to the potential of having an amazing life, advancement in his career and marrying his love. The government does play a part in this, but it is changed from adaptations that I have seen and that adds a new dynamic element to this version. I appreciate the prison having the Dif and the newer twists that await once our hero is inside; there are some harsh lessons that Redxan has to learn while in Dif and I think that goes a long way winning us over with his plight.
While many of the players are familiar here to those who have read the source material or other adaptations, some are cast differently for this new world. I felt that the villainous friend was even deadlier and dark in this version as he was merciless to those he felt failed him and he has bigger goals of conquest. I appreciate that Redxan learns the lesson and cost of revenge and even takes it up a notch by understanding that he wasn’t the only person who was wronged. The one thing that I didn’t like about our hero was how a relationship had occurred before he had found out about his love — it doesn’t take away from the story, but it adds a flaw to the character that didn’t sell me on his complete devotion to his love.
I was blown away by Ibrahim’s ability as an artist to draw emotion on a face. There were panels where we would see the characters emote all kinds of feelings and it just added that much more to the page. There might not be any dialogue, but you could see that his art worked just as hard as any actor would in front of a camera to get the point across. The fight scenes were enthralling as they flow from panel to panel — in some cases, there are cues to the reader to follow the body language to see the movement. I really enjoyed the final showdown between Redxan and Onaxis as I felt the panel-in-panel cues did a great job keeping me in that panel yet giving me so much while there. Beautiful art trick!
If you want an escape from traditional superheroes then check out this futuristic classic full of adventure and intrigue. A whopping graphic novel that will remind you of the class tale of revenge all the while showing you new twists and higher stakes.
If you want an escape from traditional superhero comics, check out this futuristic classic full of adventure and intrigue. Count is a whopping graphic novel that will remind you of the class tale of revenge, while showing you new twists and higher stakes.
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