When fictional characters get out of control or the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred, the four Fictionauts will save the day. Led by the brave Dalan, Zool, Jack, and the Professor have battled everything from Moby Dick to Dickens. This time they may have met their match in the mysterious Agent X as worlds and times collide.
The idea of the graphic novel is fantastic – the ultimate metafiction. As a big fan of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, I was really excited to get my hands on this one. Unfortunately, I found the book overwhelming. Too much color, too many plotlines, too many characters. The book was simply too short to encompass everything it was trying to include.
Dalan, Zool, Jack (a character from a Dickens’ short story), and the Professor seem like an interesting team. However, aside from that bit about Jack and knowing that Zool and Dalan are lovers, we get very little back story or character development. I just didn’t find myself caring about the characters, since I hadn’t really been allowed to get to know them. A number of other characters are introduced suddenly and without much explanation, such as the Rainbow Racer, who I would have loved to hear more about. There seemed to be a lot going on behind the scenes with the people who gave the Fictionauts their power, like Rainbow Racer and the Lady Conceptia. Sadly, these characters are only just touched on, rather than given their due explanation.
While the artwork was stunning, with vintage styles and colors that made the novel look like a 1960s sci-fi movie, the pages were too cluttered. The attention to detail is wonderful, but with everything being a bright gold, green, or purple, the details competed with the main action in each panel, rather than enhancing it. It was hard to know what to focus on.
This story has simply too many elements in too few pages to do it justice. Also, despite being called Fictionauts, I found very few references to actual works of fiction. Moby Dick and Dickens pop up in the beginning, but that is it. Fictionauts had a lot of potential that was not allowed to shine through. A larger page number might have saved this book, but, as it is, the story barely makes sense. I found myself struggling to understand what was happening. It was a valiant effort that just fell short.