Christopher Moore & Ian Corson
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Christopher Moore is best known as the author of such comic novels as Lamb, The Stupidest Angel, and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. It comes as a surprise then that his graphic novel, The Griff, written in conjunction with Ian Corson, a scriptwriter and producer, is a more serious tale of survival in a post apocalyptic world.
Opening with an attack by the griff, an alien race which resembles griffons of folklore, Earth is left practically depopulated, except for a few, like Liz, who happened to be underwater for the duration of the attack, or others like Oscar, who just happened to be lucky. The novel follows the adventures of five of these survivors, Curt Armstrong, Mo Payne, and Steve in New York and Liz and Oscar in Florida as they try to survive and make sense of the new world in which death can swoop out of the skies at any moment.
The belief that multiple people are easier for the Griff to find means that forming an alliance is not the most likely scenario, however humans are essentially social creatures and even the most individualistic characters quickly come to realize that strength can come in numbers and even an unlikely prospect, like the skateboarding swag monkey Steve, can provide unforeseen strengths.
Although the character struggle for survival, not only in trying to avoid the Griff, but in just finding what they need, they also discover that the destruction of everything they knew can allow them to create new identities for themselves. Curt, a paratrooper, isnít exactly what he appears to be and Mo is able to use the tragedy to embrace parts of her life which were only theoretical as a video game designer. The characters arenít the only ones who have surprises and eventually a face-off with the Griff reveals more about the invasion than was at first evident.
The action jumps back and forth between Liz and Oscarís attempts to survive in Florida with the journey the New York trio make, often quickly and without given the plot a chance to advance between the changes. In some cases, the rapid switching is designed to show parallel action, but often it just appears to be an attempt to keep the story from having too much of a focus.
Despite the death and destruction, mostly, but not entirely, taking place off the page, The Griff is essentially an optimistic story. Moore and Corsonís characters survive and grow, squabble and form relationships, even in the bleakest moments. Furthermore, when everything is dark and Mo, Steve, and Curt may be the only living people in New York, they still manage to find a purpose to their lives.
For those who donít enjoy graphic novels or are desirous of more traditional fare by Moore, his novel Sacre Bleu is scheduled for publication in September. However, for those who are willing to give alternative forms of story telling, whether stylistic or in format, a chance, The Griff allows the reader to see into a part of Mooreís mind that doesnít always come through in works like Fool.
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