Sunday, January 29, 2012

This sequel lacks the oomph of the first

Fans of Carlo Vergara's graphic novel, Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah, must be eagerly anticipating the sequel, the first part of which has just been released in the metro last week. Everyone loved Vergara's protagonist -- a nelly-ish gay guy who transforms into a Wonder Woman type of superhero named Zsazsa Zaturnnah. The first compilation was très enjoyable to say the least.

The sequel though, specifically the first of a planned three volumes, seems like an afterthought. Reading Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila feels like eating tofu after fasting for a long time -- it just doesn't satisfy you. For one, it's not as campy as the first. Yes, there are loads of gay lingo scattered throughout the dialogue, but these lines feel a bit contrived. They don't add to the humor at all; there are no LOL moments, just sniggers here and there if you do get the pop culture references.

Also, as a graphic novel, the sequel can get too talky in my opinion. I expect graphic novels to use the illustrations to tell the story. The long lines of text just draw the reader's eyes away from the drawings. Just look at the spread below to see what I mean.

Vergara has also introduced characters into the now diluted and uninteresting narrative. We're now acquainted with a superhero with bulging body parts here and there. Vergara is teasing us with this character. How could this mass of testosterone figure in the next 2 installments? What could possibly be the outcome of a partnership between him and Zaturnnah? Of course, the reader is made to wonder as to his alter ego.

Vergara's illustrations are still beautiful though. They're just as detailed and clean as the original. It's worth shelling out a few bucks just for the illustrations, which I think unfortunately is one of the very, very few reasons to get this graphic novel.

Oh well, here's hoping that the 2nd and 3rd installments improve on this volume. Bring back the fun, camp, and one liners please!

Read this book if:
  1. You love graphic novels with a bit of camp.
  2. You're comfortable with gay lingo.
  3. You love graphic novels in series.


Lightheaded said...

To me it felt bitin until I realized it's not yet finished, so I'll wait it out for the next two installments. Though the teaser reminded me of Paolo Fabregas' The Filipino Heroes League, or something to the effect that Zsazsa is not the only eh, superhero in the country :)

Peter S. said...

Hello, Lightheaded! I just hope that chapters 2 and 3 pick up the pace!

ram said...

go zaturnnah go!

Peter S. said...

Hi, ram! Oh, you're a Zaturnnah fan! I hope your opinion of this graphic novel hugely differs from mine.

Carver said...

Thanks so much for the review. Much appreciated! :-)

Peter S. said...

Hi, Mr. Vergara! You're very much welcome.

Peter S. said...

Oh, and even though I did not like the 1st installment that much, I'm still anticipating the 2nd and the 3rd!

Dennis Villegas said...

I agree on your points. But I would reserve my overall view when I read the last two parts.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Dennis! Thanks for dropping by!