Klaw by Antoine Ozenam, illustrated by Joel Jurion, colored by Yoann Guille, and translated by Mike Kennedy. Klaw, collected, #1.
My copy: Magnetic Press, June 7th, 2016. Egalley (review copy), 144 pages.
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Magnetic Press and Diamond Book Distributors!
A population of secret were-animals hide among us, and young Angel Tomassini is about to learn just how widespread — and dangerous — it is!
Beautifully illustrated by Joel Jurion, best known throughout Europe and the worldwide animation industry for his gorgeous and dynamic character design, written by Antoine Ozenam, this exciting young adult series explores a world of ancient conflict hiding just under the surface of modern life as we know it. With identifiable coming of age themes overshadowed by thrilling action sequences and a deep, enthralling mythology, this book will introduce readers to a world unlike anything else on shelves today.
Collecting the first three chapters of this original ongoing series — AWAKENING, TABULA RASA, and UNIONS — this book comprises “THE FIRST CYCLE” in the epic, hidden universe of KLAW!
Klaw has a fascinating premise: “secret were-animals hide among us”. The protagonist is Angel Tomassini, who can transform into a fearsome tiger. (Were-tiger?) He learns that there are various families who possess the power to turn into their zodiac totem. He also learns that some of the families want to absorb all the totems for themselves, which means a dangerous power struggle and secret war. Ange learns to harness his power and grow even stronger through the course of this graphic novel.
It all sounds great, and I was not expecting the zodiac aspect — which I was delighted to see, since I am a sucker for the zodiac being present in stories. (My Asian roots shining through!) I thought Klaw would just be were-animals, so the twelve zodiac animals were a nice surprise.
However, this nice aspect was really the only thing I found interesting about Klaw… I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters, which made plodding through the book quite a chore, made even more of a chore by the slow loading on my Adobe Digital Editions software. It literally took a good ten seconds or more to scroll down one page. This major loading problem was one of the reasons it took me so long to finish Klaw, when I had initially thought it would be a pretty quick read, since graphic novels and comics usually are. Not so. Sigh.
One of the things I really didn’t like about Klaw was Lisa, the damsel in distress and Ange’s first love and one true love. Lisa was actually kind of a bitch. I found no redeeming qualities in her, and rolled my eyes at the end of this volume when her big secret was revealed. Which wasn’t that surprising, to be completely honest.
All the other characters were… meh. Ange was a wash, in my opinion. I found it very hard to root for him when I didn’t 1) like him and 2) feel very sympathetic toward him. He acted rashly and I had absolutely no grasp of who he was when the story did the dread “eight years later” crap. The plot just didn’t do a good job of making me care about anyone. The characters were pretty two-dimensional and unlikable.
The artwork was fine, the colors good. Nothing blew me away with Klaw‘s presentation, sadly. I can tolerate a poor story if the visuals are great, and I can tolerate mediocre visuals if the story is great. Sadly, Klaw didn’t stand out in either of those mediums, so I was left very disappointed. But there are plenty of people who beg to differ, so maybe it’s just me. I guess I’m just spoiled by the high-caliber graphic novels I’ve read and can’t help but compare.
In the end, Klaw wasn’t my thing. I wanted to love it, but it was confusing and illogical at times, and the fact that I just couldn’t connect or at least feel anything for a single character really made me struggle. There are some graphic novels I’ve read that are darn confusing but that have beautiful art and colors, fascinating characters, and intriguing plot points (prime example: East of West). Klaw just wasn’t my cup of tea, sad to say. ♦
Have you read Klaw?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a book featuring the zodiac you’ve read?
(Or, at least a tiger in some shape or form?)
Comment below letting me know!