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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Neil Young's Greendale (Hardback)


Author: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Titan Books
RRP: £14.99, US $19.99, Cdn $23.99
ISBN: 978 1 84856 786 3
Available 30 July 2010

In the Fall of 2003, as the nation blindly gallops into a war most of the world doesn't seem to want, a politically active teenage girl named Sun Green lives, loves and dreams in a small southern California town named after her family - a place called Greendale. Sun has always been different. Maybe it's because of her heritage. There's been talk that the Green family women have always had a preternatural communion with nature. It's not something Sun has ever really wondered too much about. That is, until a Stranger comes to town, a character whose arrival triggers everything in Greendale to... well... go to hell. To combat it, Sun will find herself on a surreal, transformative journey to unearth the mystery of the Green family women, not just to face the nefarious Stranger in her home, but to confront the mounting injustice that's gathering outside it as well...

Neil Young's Greendale is inspired by Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 2003 album Greendale which is a 10-song rock opera set in a fictional California seaside town. The graphic novel, while written by Joshua Dysart, had the full cooperation of Young, or so we are told. Just how much input he had is not clear, but he certainly gave it his blessing enough to provide an introduction... Although, that introduction seems to indicate he doesn't really understand what's going on.

To be honest I wasn't overly impressed with Young's album, but that doesn't really matter as the graphic novel is a totally different entity. The only thing they've really borrowed is the name of the town, everything else is original.

If you ignore the rather immature (and done to death) teen angst elements (come on, what does Dysart, a man just shy of his 40th birthday, know about being a teenage girl?) then there is a lot of promise here. The mystery that surrounds the Green family women is intriguing, but ultimately the narrative heads up a dead end and quietly dies.

As the start of something much bigger, this may have worked, but as a standalone story it feels very... well... unfinished.


Darren Rea

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