Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

When you're in a reading slump, nothing helps perk things back up again than a great graphic novel or two, three, or four.  I recently tried out a graphic version of the famous tale of Robin Hood.  It was a lot different than I expected, so let me share!

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "How did Robin of Loxley become Robin Hood? Why did he choose to fight injustice instead of robbing for his own gain? Expressive and gritty, this graphic novel whisks readers back to Crusades-era England, where the Sheriff of Nottingham rules with an iron fist, and in the haunted heart of Sherwood Forest, a defiant rogue — with the help of his men and the lovely Maid Marian — disguises himself to become an outlaw. Lively language and illustrations follow the legendary hero as he champions the poor and provokes a high-stakes vendetta in a gripping adventure sure to draw a new generation of readers."

Review:  Having read many different versions of the tale of Robin Hood, I was interested to see how a graphic novel version would take it on.  The tale was very classic to the most popular version of the story and took in Robin's time in the Crusades, his return to find his father deceased, his conflict with the sheriff, and his love for Marianne.  I can't say that it departed much from the original, but I will say that I wanted even more of his time with his outlaw friends.  I suppose I just wanted to see the relationships developed a bit more.  I'll admit though that I love this tale and seem to piece together the bits of the story I'm given with all the parts that I enjoy.

 One drawback to this graphic version is the darkness of the pictures.  I'm not quite sure why they came out so dark, but they made it feel like it was all set at night or in a dark castle or lodge.  I can see that the darker pictures, with sharp angles might be trying to set the tone and give it a slightly comic feel perhaps?  I'm not sure, but I did wish at times that I could reach for a button to turn up the light a little.  The focus in this tale was on the conflicts with the sheriff and less on character relationships (as the title suggests), but it was still the story I remember.  Overall though, I thought this graphic novel made the story its own in tone and style.  In classic graphic novel style, it clips along through the story, drawing on pictures to propel the story, and was a quick, fun read.   

*FTC Disclosure:  This review is based on a library copy of the novel.


  1. Perhaps they were trying for a certain "mood lighting", but aren't the Robin Hood stories typically light-hearted and fun?

  2. I so want to read this now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  3. I read this last year or the year before and enjoyed it.