Black, The Birth of Evil

Black cover

Black, The Birth of Evil, (Book 1 The Circle Trilogy) Ted Dekker (writer), Ig Barros, Eduardo Pansica, Ricardo Ratton (artists), Published by Circle Media/Westbow (a division of Thomas Nelson), 2007, 131 pp., $14.99 each.

This book is the first part of three graphic novels composing the Circle Trilogy by Christian novelist Ted Dekker. All three original Circle Trilogy prose novels were published in 2004, and writers Matt Hansen (Black and Red), Bob Strachen (Black), J. S. Earls (White) and Mike S. Miller (White) have adapted them to graphic novel format.

The trilogy follows a young man named Thomas Hunter who, after he fends off an attack by a mysterious assailant on a dark Denver street, finds himself transported to a fantasy world when he falls asleep. This world is divided by a river into two regions – the abysmal Black Forest and the beautiful Green Forest. The evil and cunning black bat-like Shataki dominate the Black Forest, while intelligent and good white bats dwell in the Green Forest along with a human population. Both worlds seem all too real to Hunter, with the fantasy world appearing to be the future of the modern world, and Thomas falls into a pattern of waking in one when he falls asleep in the other. The story switches back and forth frequently from the modern world to the dream world, and both worlds quickly come to crucial moments in their respective histories – a viral pandemic with the potential for ending billions of lives threatens the modern world, while the fantasy world exists in an uneasy balance between the two forests that could collapse if compromised. In the dream world Thomas meets the lovely Rachelle and her father Tanis, both of whom will play pivotal roles in the unfolding drama, and in the other world he kidnaps Monique de Raison, designer of the vaccine that could mutate into the deadly virus, in an effort to stop its production. Readers should be aware that this is a trilogy in the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien, with one story spread across three volumes, and these are not stand-alone stories.

The story is very fast paced with many twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. It is easy to recognize that these are prose novels adapted to comics format with much expository dialogue included. For the most part the frequent talking heads work and add a needed counterpoint to the action sequences. This is certainly a strength to the extended graphic novel approach. The artists from Big Jack Studios do a very credible job with this volume; Big Jack Studios artists are also responsible for volume two (Red), while volume 3 (White) is handled by Mike S. Miller, the cover artist for all three volumes.


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