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The Unsinkable Walker Bean: 08/13/11

cover art

The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier begins with a tale of how Atlantis sunk at the hands of a pair of sea witches. Now all these centuries later it appears that the story is true and Walker Bean's grandfather is suffering from their curse. Walker has to return a cursed skull to hopefully free him from a paranormal illness.

Walker Bean apparently lives in an alternate Earth version of the seventeenth or possibly eighteenth century. There's a world map included in the book and while the landforms are familiar, the names are not. I found this unexplained map disconcerting; it would have been just as easy (or perhaps easier) to not have to think about Walker's adventures in the context of an alternate Earth. It doesn't add anything to the story.

Besides the curses and the sea witches, there's a strange eight legged man who is scurrying after Walker. I swear I've seen him somewhere else but I can't think of where right now. In the context of this graphic novel, he was just one more "what-the-heck" element. Why does he have so many legs and what is his motivation?

A lot of weird stuff happens in this first volume that should be explained but isn't. I don't mean pages and pages of exposition, a simple one line of dialogue would do just find. As it stands, though, I had to re-read sections hoping I had missed something only to find that things happened just because. A little randomness if fine but a whole book of it leaves me not wanting to pick up volume two.

I read this graphic novel as a judge for the Cybils.

Two stars.

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