by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Pride and Prejudice
Written by Nancy Butler with Art by Hugo Petrus and Alejandro Torres
In many ways, it seems like a losing proposition to even try to adapt such a beloved book as Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” into comic form. I have no doubt it can be done, but Marvel’s adaptation doesn’t make a particularly good case for it. It’s far too reliant on preserving Austen’s text—ironically—which results in several pages with walls and walls of text that packs as much of Austen’s winding, complex plot into speech bubbles as it can. It reads like a book morphed into a comic without actually undergoing much of a process of adaptation, at which point one has to wonder, what is the point of telling this particular story in comic book form? What about Austen demands to be made visual?
Maybe if the art wasn’t so painfully ill-suited to the material, it might have stood more of a chance. The Bennet sisters all look like typical Marvel babes, with collagen lips and faces that wrinkle only so much as to suggest a vague emotion, lest they look too ugly. Their facial features are all so similar, so generically ‘pretty’ that they all blend together, and the character designs are dull and forgettable overall. Characters across the board are challenged when it comes to expression: often they look dazed, disinterested, or else there’s some kind of disconnect between the nuance of what’s being said and what shows on their faces. It’s a shame that it’s so stiff and unappealing.
Again, the problem is not that it can’t be done, just that one ought to have some kind of vision to make such a transfer worth the trouble. Marvel’s “Pride and Prejudice” doesn’t seem to have that. It’s largely uninspired, feeling more like a corporate mandate than the product of a creative team with genuine spark or passion for the project. It’s not bad, it’s just not very fun or interesting, and as such it’s difficult to recommend. Read the book, watch the BBC adaptation or the Keira Knightley film, but skip this one.