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:
- You love graphic novels with a bit of camp.
- You're comfortable with gay lingo.
- You love graphic novels in series.