Angle Catbird (Volume 1) by Margaret Atwood (Author), Johnnie Christmas (Illustrator

I picked up this very weird graphic novel after I ran into it at an art show at the local bookstore where art was paired with Margaret Atwood books. Not knowing that Atwood had written graphic novels I felt compelled to check it out.

On a dark night, young genetic engineer Strig Feleedus is accidentally mutated by his own experiment and merges with the DNA of a cat and an owl. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired superhero adventure– with a lot of cat puns.

It turned out to be weird and very much not my style.

Pretty typical comic book plot (an ugly, devious bad guy out to rule the world and good guys (and girls) working to stop him) but it involves half-rats and half-cats and the titular Angel Catbird.

To add to the oddity, there are cat welfare factoids and information posted throughout the book. The are supplied by Nature Canada and part of a #SafeBirdSafeCat campaign of some sort. Hard to suspend belief and get into the supernatural element of the plot when there are public service type announcements every other page or so.

To be fair, I’m not a comics type, although I frequently dip into graphic novels that my kids are reading, and so perhaps I am not one to judge. And I am not an Atwood fan either. But even with those caveats, this seems like a weird project started on a whim that would not have happened without Atwood’s literary fame (the introduction adds to this suspicion).

The illustrations are well done and engaging but they can’t hide the poor plot and dialog. Everything moves forward just exactly how you would expect to do so in a comic book or story of this type and the characters lack depth. Nothing draws you in and makes you want to keep reading or catches you off guard.

Don’t think I will keep reading this series …

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