Review: Miraculous #1

A nice little surprise in the review folder, the French CGI animated superhero show Miraculous, les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir (Miraculous Ladybug here in the states) was getting its own licensed comic, from Action Lab no less. While not a dedicated fan of the show itself, I do admire its aesthetic and hybrid Western/Eastern superhero storytelling as a new property, and it definitely lends itself to expansion into other mediums. A nice surprise, but it quickly transitioned into mild disappointment, as the actual comic is a 'photo comic' adaptation of the animated series' first episode. The art is entirely screencaps from the show, collaged together to mimic comic book storytelling. To the show's credit, the art actually serves decently well in this regard. The animation of the show is over the top and theatrical but with great composition, lending well to being made into stills and used as static panels. Credit to the composer Cheryl Black, who makes this book look the best something like this can, making the most of the screencaps with paneling (while less praise can be said for the bland lettering).

Miraculous-1But here's the rub: I have an inherit problem with the idea on principle. While I understand the idea is well established outside of the States (Italy in particular having a long history with the concept), I find this kind of adaptation a cheap, creatively-bankrupt property cash-in, even less admirable than IDW's endless churn of substandard property exploitation. The real problem comes from printing a comic that does a disservice to both mediums it engages, even disrespects them. Animation is its own medium, with its own principles of design and art, some of which are very well represented in the fluid poppy art of the show. Comics are their own medium, with a method of storytelling all its own, and artists have explored the possibilities of this medium for decades, learning new ways in which static images can be given a unique form of life. To treat both as somehow interchangeable is crass. That first episode of Miraculous is pretty obnoxious, the subplot involving babysitting a child will make you want to mandate abortions, but the energy and flair in the animation is unmistakable. To snapshot those animator's work and sell it unceremoniously as some sort of alternative is at best completely redundant and at worst vaguely insulting.

Apparently this comic is a digital release, so at least it isn't going to take up any shelfspace until it gets collected as a trade, but there is no reason at all to pick this up. It's a professional production in the strictest sense, but this is not a work of creativity, merely one of marketing. Instead of reading this, go hunt down the show and enjoy what a neat job those animators did choreographing that big end fight scene. If you are going to experience 'Miraculous' you might as well do it the way it was always intended to be.

[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Miraculous #1
Creator: Thomas Astruc Comics Adaptation: Nicole D'Andria Writer: Fred Lenoir Art Arrangement: Cheryl Black
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Price: $3.99
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital