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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘The Exile’: A graphic tale of time travel

    Diana Gabaldon is the latest author to make a foray into the world of comic books with “”The Exile.”” Unlike James Patterson (“”Maximum Ride””), Janet Evanovich (“”Troublemaker””) or Stephen King (“”American Vampire””), Gabaldon is no stranger to the medium, having worked as a writer on the “”Scrooge McDuck”” comic books in the late 1970s. She succeeds in adapting the first of her popular Outlander series into a graphic novel, but in translating more than 600 pages of prose into 224 pages of comics, a few things may have been lost.

    In “”The Exile,”” Jamie Fraser returns to his homeland of 18th-century Scotland to escape his troubled past. Jamie soon finds himself drawn into a power struggle within the MacKenzie clan while his godfather Murtagh strives to keep him out of trouble. Thrown into this chaos is Claire Randall, a British nurse who just finished serving in WWII and was sent back to the 18th century after touching a stone structure.

    Claire’s feelings and lack of action can be confusing at times, and the romantic relationship that develops between Jamie and Claire can feel unconvincing. The presence of an actual time traveler working behind the scenes is not explained either, but presumably his role and motives will be covered in a future installment.

    The Scottsdale, Ariz. author is known for her meticulous research, and this comes through in “”The Exile,”” especially with characters speaking in their respective accents and using period slang. The back section, “”The Making of ‘The Exile,'”” provides interesting insight into some of the details left out of and put into the graphic novel.

    Artist Hoang Nguyen illustrates “”The Exile”” in a painterly style that gives a suitably misty, fairly romantic look to 18th-century Scotland. Thankfully, Jamie, Claire and the supporting cast look like idealized people, rather than idealized characters — a fine yet important distinction that is often lost in most comic books. Nguyen is at his best with emotional scenes, expressive faces and the interactions between characters. There are some scenes, however, where it can be difficult to keep track of who’s who and who is doing what.

    For Gabaldon’s fans, “”The Exile”” graphic novel serves as a worthy addition to their bookshelves since they can relive the story through not only a different perspective, but also a new medium. For readers new to the Outlander series, it would be worthwhile to borrow a friend’s copy to see if “”The Exile”” is their quaich of whisky.

     

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