Pathfinder: An American Saga Review
Vitals:Writer: Laeta Kalogridis
Artist: Christopher Shy
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Content Guide: Action sequences, violence, adult situations
The Story:Set five hundred years before Columbus set foot in America, Pathfinder tells the tale of a young Viking male that is the last surviving member of his raiding party. The young warrior is found by a member of the Wampanoag tribe of American Indians. He is taken in, although grudgingly, and is raised as a member of the tribe. Nicknamed, “Ghost,” due to the color of his skin, the young boy grows to become a man.
The Pathfinder is an older member of the tribe, the passer of stories to younger generations, helping them to find their own path in life. As the young Ghost meets the Pathfinder and his daughter, Nuane, he starts to dream of a better life, with Nuane a part of it. His dreams are shattered, however, when the Vikings return to claim more lives and raid his new homeland. In the end, the young Ghost is the only one who stands in the way between his ancestral family, the vicious Vikings, and his adopted family, the Wampanoag Indians.
Review:When I first saw the trailer for the “Pathfinder” movie, I thought it looked pretty cool. When I found out later that it was based on a graphic novel, I was even more intrigued. Why hadn’t I heard of this comic?
The answer is a complicated one. It appears that when director Marcus Nispel was trying to green light the film, he ran into trouble. Having first come to America with the dream to make graphic novels, he decided to adapt the screenplay into a comic book format to help get a fan base and get his movie made. The funny thing is, that his movie got the OK before the graphic novel could be completed.
That being said, I think the main thing this comic has going for it is it’s visual appeal. The paintings done by Christopher Shy are very remarkable and have an very interesting coloring effect, giving the story a somber feel. It often reminded me of many scenes from Lord of the Rings, where there was a blue, green, or red hue to the screen.
The overall story is interesting, although I felt it had some very Hollywood moments to it. There were a couple of times where I wondered how what was being portrayed could really happen. I think the biggest detraction, however was the narration of the book. Many times it felt lifeless or forced. It seemed very out of place with the overall historic feel to the story.
Conclusion:Having not seen the film yet, one can imagine that the movie will follow the graphic novel closely. If it does, it looks to be a very stylistic and visually stunning piece. If the movie can get past the awkward narration, I think the movie will be an enjoyable if not somewhat formulaic action piece.
As it is, the Pathfinder graphic novel was very pretty to look at and had some interesting visuals, but I don’t think it will grace any top picks.