Review - The Griff

With comics continuing to rise in popularity more and more non-traditional creators are trying their hands at the medium. The Griff is such a work, written by author Christopher Moore and director Ian Corson (illustrations by Jennyson Rosero) and published by Harper Collins Canada. The idea originally started out for an idea as a movie, but the notion was changed to graphic novel when costs were factored in. It reads much like just about any other alien invasion scenario, as well as aliens with an explicit purpose in eating every last human on Earth. Fun times.

The Griff is very, very similar to War of the Worlds. Aliens land on Earth, aliens eat everyone on Earth, a small number of survivors band together to reclaim their planet. Curt is a Macy's makeup counter attendant masquerading as a soldier, Liz is a trainer at Sea World, Steve is a "don't tase me bro" skater and Mo is a no-nonsense video game developer with a penchant for really big guns.

The griff are large, winged creatures very simliar to dragons. The story doesn't completely explain why they decided to attack Earth, other than their obedience as pets. At least in Cowboys & Aliens the reason for the aliens choosing Earth were explained (I won't spoil them here). And apparently the griff don't like water, which seems to be a theme with some aliens (Signs anyone?).

You've probably realized that there's been a lot of references to other movies and that's true. Moore and Corson have dabbled in film and The Griff feels like it should be a movie. While reading it's easy to see how this was envisioned as a film and picturing it as such actually helps it make more sense.

The characters in the story are pretty cliche when it's all said and done. Yes, it's novel that Curt really isn't a soldier, but Liz as a trainer seemed too convenient for the story to work. Mo is supposed to be a woman who can handle a BFG, but by the end of the book she's basically just eye candy for the reader and Steve. There's a certain inconsistency to their arcs that develop or change almost as quickly as the story itself.

It's a little hard to swallow that a large animal trainer at a place such as Sea World would have survived to help the team out later on. If the griff are so terrifying and wipe out the entire world in a few weeks, it stands to reason they would tear a place like Sea World apart looking for more food. Not to mention a trip from New York to Florida that involves a submarine, boat and tank.

Rosero's illustrations are clean and features a lot of use of shadow. There's a digital feel to it that fits the gloss of the pages.

Moore has developed quite a following for his works, so it stands to reason that The Griff will tap into that following to help promote the book. Moore fans may be a little disappointed however, as The Griff is pretty formulaic and reads excessively fast. The speed of the story is what hurts it, as the reader never really gets the chance to form an opinion of the characters.

The Griff is currently available on Amazon.