Babylon Berlin is a fun adaptation of the classic detective noir story into graphic novel form. The story is based on the popular German novel of the same name and takes place in 1929’s Berlin, where the first rumblings of the pre-Nazi party are beginning to be felt. Our morally ambivalent hero is Gereon Rath, recently demoted from homicide down to vice as penance for shooting and killing a man on the job. But, naturally, a series of murders in the city catch his attention, and he begins to investigate them on the sly. And of course the connection between the bodies leads him down a tricky path of drug dealers, crooked cops, and hidden gold.
The illustrations are done in a moody black and white that pays clear tribute to the classic black and white films that made noir so famous. The clean, precise, and detail-oriented depictions fit perfectly into the genre, as does the rest of the book. And that’s my primary objection to this story. Because, while it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, perfect for a rainy afternoon, it’s also a thoroughly expected one. It contains all of the elements and story beats we’ve come to expect from detective noir, but, despite being translated into a relatively new medium, it still remains perfectly, expectedly, noir. There’s nothing here to innovate the genre, either in the art or the story. I was hoping for something a bit more daring.
But in all, this is indeed a well-adapted graphic novel that tells its story well and with enjoyable old-school style. I recommend it–with a few caveats.
|Author||Arne Jysch • Volker Kutscher, Creator|
|Page Count||216 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|