Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review: P-Brane: The Green Man

written by Chris X. Ring, directed by Jesse Heffring, photography by Pawel Pogorzelski, art by Angus P. Byers and Jesse Heffring, 2008, Gravitron Publishing, 221 pages, $23.95

This science fiction graphic novel is an ambitious work but has some major problems.

The book tells the story of a man with no memory who obtains super-powers through his dreams (it's similar to how the characters in The Matrix are able to download martial arts techniques and other skills). He uses the powers to hunt down some bad people, progressing from street punks to terrorists, and eventually he becomes humanity's savior in a battle against an alien invasion.

The story is pretty silly, veering from over-the-top, grotesque violence, to failed attempts at humor, to dull conversations that seem to drag on without leading anywhere. The characters are not people with real motivations for their actions, and often don't appear to serve any purpose besides being an excuse for the main character to tell everyone what is happening. The book suffers from trying to hard to be epic -- there's way too much going on, way too many half-baked ideas tossed out -- and goes on long after it should have ended.

(click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, the art doesn't help. The creators turned digital photographs of real actors into black-and-white images, but the process left the art without any gray tones. It's as though they turned the "contrast" knob all the way up so that only the whitest whites and blackest blacks show up. It blots out any details in the images and any nuanced acting from the characters, and makes the book almost unreadable at times.

(click to enlarge)

The creators have obviously put a lot of effort into the work, but the book would have benefited if they had scaled back its scope to something more manageable. As it is, I can't recommend it.

You can learn more about the book (and buy it) at

Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I find it very difficult to "not recommend" a least in *some* way.
    I noted that your comment that the authors had obviously spent time working this book.
    I think this earns you points as a reviewer. I respect your review, even though I don't think I will buy the book.

  2. sorry bout the typos!

  3. It's hard to not recommend a book, but I just don't think this one is worth people's time or money. Others may disagree, of course. And it's not like this book has no positive qualities -- one thing that I forgot to mention is that some of the fight scenes (early on) are quite well-choreographed, actually.