Sunday, August 21, 2005


It is with great disappointment that I say that this book was a great disappointment.

The premise of Rex Libris should have been fun -- a librarian who will go to all ends of the galaxy to retrieve overdue books and can use the completely random knowledge a reference librarian picks up to save books and maybe the universe. James Turner picked some clever reference points in the history of libraries, even if he's a bit hazy on the different flavors of librarians, and the concept is ripe for exploitation. Heck, if Noah Wyle can be a librarian adventurer in the style of Indiana Jones, then why can't Rex Libris be one in the style of Buck Rogers or Hal Jordan?

It should have been fun, but it wasn't.

Rex Libris is too clunky to be witty, too dorky to claim nerd coolness, and not sharp enough to work as satire. It fails as a send-up of any genre, despite the wholesale appropriation of motifs. The drubbing this book takes from the Exposition Fairy is so complete that it would have beat Tyson-Douglas on a stopwatch. Even the humorous references are explained to the point of logorrhea. It was a struggle to finish the book, frankly, and that was after I quickly gave up on the running 'dialogue' on the bottom of the pages. The dialogue is far too copious and the story far too plodding to accomplish much in the way of entertainment.

The art is no great shakes, either. Turner's panels have a computer-generated feel (like they were drown with a LOGO turtle, not like they were CGI) and are achingly static and two-dimensional. Most of the smaller panels are crowded by the word balloons, anyway.

More than a comic book, this felt like a naughty version of a propaganda piece the public library puts out to give to kids -- stiff, force-feeding historical facts, weak humor, and contrived.


Blogger Vaklam said...

I'm right there with you on this one. I wanted to like it. I really did. The art turned me off first and it's hard for me to get past art I don't like even if the story is quirky and compelling.

The tiny print underneath the panels was distracting even when I wasn't reading it. It was the visual equivalent of someone talking behind me at the theater.

No issue #2 for me.

Sun Aug 21, 08:39:00 PM EDT  
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