It’s nice to take a break from some of the bigger name companies every once in a while and this Creative Mind Energy novel is a great example of a fresh new concept delivered by a smaller, indie publisher. With very minimal dialogue, the graphic novel almost solely relies on its artwork, but is it good?
The Gifted Books 1 & 2 (Creative Mind Energy)
Damian and Adrian Wassel deliver an environmental-issue-fueled story delivered from the perspective of a lone wolf. Book one begins with the wolf wandering barren landscapes in search of food when he stumbles upon men. The second book details the wolf and other animals being hunted by the men and ends with the wolf becoming enlightened and gaining “consciousness” from mother nature. As explained in the short bio of the novel, this series will focus on the event of this wolf become sentient and leading other animals to right the wrongs of man.
While this is a very cool concept which initially drew me to the novel, The Gifted is better recognized for its abstract nature. As mentioned before, there are little to no words in the books — they are supplanted by the sounds and distorted dialogue by the humans. The dialogue requires a double take because you think you know what they are saying, but then you can’t actually read the text. The authors explain that the language is written out in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) text so it reads as language would be heard by animals (Which I find pretty clever). Because there are no words however, this makes The Gifted a very quick “read” and you can blow through both books in about 15 minutes. That’s only if you don’t take the time to appreciate the artwork.
The art is what carries these books, especially because these are introductions to the series and no bestial revolution has occurred yet. I don’t want to beat around the bush so I’ll just be blunt about it: It’s beautiful. The books are illustrated by Nathan Gooden who works with water colors and does so quite well. The reason there isn’t any language is because the art has the ability to speak for itself as Gooden only uses color at poignant moments and uses negative space to heighten the meaning of the images. This is definitely the most jaw-dropping artwork I’ve ever seen in a comic.
Is It Good?
Because this isn’t your traditional comic, I want to give fair warning that some people may not enjoy this experience. The Gifted takes an unique concept and pairs it with powerful abstract art which makes it an abnormal comic book experience. This isn’t a graphic novel you can take with you to read on your lunch break or an outlet to kill a few hours. This is for people who enjoy discussion of environmental activism as portrayed through an artistic medium or the common everyday person who just enjoys good art. For those who are interested in the storyline, the following books should have more action which should tickle your fancy, but the plots of these first two books are very basic.