The past year has been a good one for Percy Jackson. No giant monsters have tried to kill him since last summer and he’s managed to get through the whole school year without being expelled from his ritzy new prep school. Best of all, he has a whole summer at Camp Half-Blood (a special summer camp for the children of Greek deities) to look forward to.
But the seas are rarely smooth for a son of Poseidon, and it isn’t long before Percy is facing cannibal giants on the dodge-ball court and discovering that the one friend he’s made at his new school is a Cyclops. Things aren’t much better when Percy finally arrives at camp and discovers that the magical boundaries that protect Camp Half-Blood from monsters are weakening. Worse yet, Percy’s favorite counselor, Chiron the Centaur, has been fired for failing to fix them.
Only the most powerful of healing magics can save Camp Half-Blood and the aspiring heroes who live there. Magics such as The Golden Fleece, which can heal any wound and remove any poison – even from a blighted land. It will fall to Percy, Annabeth, and the rest of the Olympians to travel the Sea of Monsters and recover The Golden Fleece before it falls into the hands of the dark forces that seek to corrupt its power.
Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters has many of the same flaws that plagued Robert Venditti’s adaptation of The Lightning Thief. This adaptation sticks close to the original book, adding nothing and taking out little. Unfortunately, what little was omitted did much to add to the characterization of both our heroes and villains as the story progressed. As a result of these edits, many of the characters come off as being rather shallow. Another problem is the breakneck pace of the plotting, which leaves the reader with very little time to think about the events of the story. For instance, barely two pages pass between when Percy is transformed into an animal by the sorceress Circe and when Annabeth rescues him and the other men under Circe’s spell.
The artwork by Attila Futaki has similar issues. While Futaki’s character designs are great and match Rick Riordan’s descriptions of the characters in the original book, the choreography of the graphic novel’s action sequences leave much to be desired. There are several points where the panel placement makes it unclear if we are meant to read from top to bottom across one page or from left to right across two pages. That being said, Futaki’s pencils are generally good and there are some truly spectacular poster-worthy sequences that left me wishing this series was published in a standard size that allowed for larger panels.
Ultimately, this graphic novel is no substitute for the original book, though it may prove an interesting read for those young readers who have already been exposed to the world of Percy Jackson. Teachers may find it useful in conjunction with the recent film adaptation of The Sea of Monsters in showing how the same story can be told in different ways through different media.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea Of Monsters
by Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti
Art by Attila Futaki,
Publisher Age Rating: 10+