Ever since I read an article in the papers about Grant Morrison embracing the great Indian epic ‘The Mahabharata’ and concocting his own version through a comic series, I was thrilled to bits. As a comic book/graphic novel nerd, it was exciting to finally have much revered writers trying to delve into the mystics and occult of the Indian subcontinent. So I was much chuffed when I got my hands on this landscaped hardbound book called ’18 Days’, a retelling of the most brutal war, fought by God-like warriors over very human issues on a gargantuan scale.
‘18 Days’ being true to its name, covers the war fought between the five Pandava brothers (Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva) and their hundred cousins, the Kauravas (Duryodhana and co). The story of the Mahabharata is common knowledge among those living in the eastern hemisphere but relatively unknown for Western civilization. This book introduces them to the characters, their relationships, the environment they live in and the circumstances that lead to the war which will have massive repercussions on the universe, the cosmos and indeed, life on earth as the age of the Gods end and the age of man (Kalyug) begins.
This book is essentially a preview book and includes a story bible which familiarizes readers with the nuances of Indian mythology and follows the course of events that lead to the war in Kurukshetra. It should not be perceived as a comic book or a storybook but as a script for the web comic series by Graphic India, lest one wants to be disappointed. There is little narrative to suggest that a comprehensible story can be stitched up by using it.
The imagination of Morrison is untethered and he goes wild with it. He creates futuristic hi-fi technology working on the principles of ancient Hindu scriptures and science. The fusion of ancient concepts with science fiction technology and packing them together is one of the best parts about the book. The writing style is non-linear (typical Morrison) and thoroughly descriptive. The writer describes the great Hindu warriors in all their grandeur and glory. But the real glory lies in the artwork of this book, which is done exceptionally well by Mukesh Singh (Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter). He is the star behind all the magnificent illustrations and sketches that are generously spread over a hundred pages and each one of them is drool-worthy. The drawings are sketched to the smallest detail and the colours are vibrant and ethereal. The art is one of the best I have ever seen and comparable or even better than that from the ‘Prince of Persia’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed’ or even ‘Gears of War’ series. Mukesh Singh has brilliantly applied his skill to create masterpieces out of Morrison’s vision. Truly inspired!
’18 Days’ is just the first part of a series and if this book is any indication of what might be coming, then I have hope for the future of comics.
Overall Rating: 4/5