The Originals

Author: Dave Gibbons
Artist: Dave Gibbons
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99
ISBN 1 845760 011 5
Available 23 January 2006

In a retro-futuristic city of industrial grey where hover scooters, music and drugs rule the street, the Originals are the toughest, most stylish gang around. For two childhood friends, nothing is more important than being one of them. But being part of the crowd will bring its own deadly consequences...

The Originals is at heart a Mods and Rockers story set in a near future world. It's a simple tale of wanting to belong, of trying to fit into a world that won't let you. However a lot of the back story, that needs to be set up so that we can relate to the story of the main characters, just isn't handled as well as it should have been.

More emotion would have been generated in the book's final pages if more time had been spent in setting up Lel, Bok and Warren's relationships - maybe showing them at school growing up together. We don't really get to bond with Bok, as no sooner is his character established, than Lel starts going out with Viv, leaving Bok to do his own thing. Also their lifelong goal to join The Originals happens in the first few pages, it would have been great to have seen them plotting how they could join - maybe a confrontation with a gang member when they were young really spurred them on to see them as their heroes.

I loved the setting and the way that author/artist Dave Gibbons takes elements of the past and a possible future in order to create Lel's world. The violence and drugs of this world are not used as a crutch to prop the main story up - which is a relief.

If only more work had gone into setting up the characters. Sadly though, what could have been a fantastic graphic novel ends up just being very good.

Ray Thopmpson

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