Graphic Novel by Sylvain Runberg, José Homs, Manolo Carot
Publisher: Titan Comics
Imprint: Hard Case Crime
TPB, 136pp, $19.99
On sale: April 17, 2018
Review by Ryan Scicluna
Stieg Larsson’s international best-selling Millennium trilogy are fantastic thrillers that blend investigative journalism and crime stories into a massive enjoyable read. The stories are set in Sweden and follow Lisbeth Salander a smart but peculiar woman who ends up in the middle of a conspiracy involving the Sapo (the Swedish Secret Service), sex trafficking, bike gangs and the very fabric of Swedish democracy. The books can be a bit overwhelming to read as they are very detailed and descriptive, however, the comic book adaptations have managed to present the story in an effective manner without losing any of the original’s appeal.
This graphic novel is not a story you can pick up and finish in one sitting without first reading the previous books. Similar to the original books, the first two chapters are essential to get a satisfactory read from the third one. Also in order to truly appreciate and enjoy the conclusion to the trilogy, one has to experience the real injustices suffered by Lisbeth by reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire (both available in comic book format from the same publisher). The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final chapter of the Millennium trilogy and as a result we start the story right after the events from the last book. The story has a sense of wrapping up and trying to tie up any loose ends, however, this is not a bad thing. Most of the conclusions in the story are satisfactory. The comic adaptation showcases Lisbeth’s story in a clever way by showing the cruelty of certain actions but not glorifying them. This means that all the grizzly, gory action happens off panels and I commend the writer Syvain Runberg for keeping the novel focused on the story instead of these macabre scenes. This gives the comic a fine and also makes the story progress with a different pace from the book. Sylvain Runberg manages to condense all the important scenes in an enjoyable read without losing track of all the major players and losing himself on too much dialogue. Artists José Homs and Manolo Carot do an excellent job in creating the right mood in each panel with their use of colors and layouts.
If you are a fan of thrillers or crime stories, then I recommend picking up the whole trilogy and giving it a go. Hard Case Crime, the imprint in charge of adapting Stieg Larsson’s books into graphic novels, have made a good job of retelling the story in a comic book format without compromising too much and losing from the story.