Artist: Hugo Petrus
Published: Marvel, 2009
Unfortunately, this is the zombie-free version.
I have never read any Jane Austen in my life. I saw the movie Little Women when I was a little boy. OK, a googling reveals that Little Women was written by Louisa Alcott 50 years after Austen died. Who knew?
Anyway, I'm a fan of expanding my horizons, so I figured I would pick up this proto-chick lit and see what it's all about.Swoon! go the Bennets... Elizabeth is intrigued by Mr. Darcy, Bingley's BFF, but he seems cold and asshole-ish.
Bingley expresses interest in Jane and begins the long, arduous courting process. Dances are held. Dinners are eaten. Things seem to go well until BAM! Bingley's manipulative sister tries to get him to forget Jane and court Mr. Darcy's sister, because she wants a tighter connection to Mr. Darcy so she can eventually have him for herself. Bitch! Also, Mr. Darcy goes along with it because he is a closet romantic and doesn't see a connection between his friend and Jane, and because he finds the rest of the Bennet family to be uncouth [seriously though, Mrs. Bennet alone would make me rethink marrying into this family].
Mr. Wickham, a soldier [ooo! A man in uniform!] at the local garrison prances into town and hits it off with Elizabeth. It seems he and Mr. Darcy have beef from a mysterious incident in the past. Are they gonna duke it out? Fisticuffs? Maybe have an awesome duel and shoot at each other like real men? Nope! Instead, they decide to scowl at each other from a distance.
Oh, also, Mr. Bennet's cousin, Mr. Collins shows up earlier looking to wed one of his... first cousins, once removed [I had to look that up]. Just a little inbreeding, as was fashionable at the time. Mr. Collins takes an interest in Elizabeth [this is like 19th -century Something About Mary] but she rejects his advances because, baby, he can't dance.
He actually asks her to marry him, but she responds with this look:
“No biggie!” says Mr. Collins, as he goes on to marry Elizabeth's best friend, Catherine, instead. What a weird society.
Mr. Darcy eventually reveals that under his crusty exterior, he actually really likes Elizabeth! Aw! She, however, tells him off, because of the aforementioned meddling in her sister's affairs and because Mr. Wickham convinced her that Mr. Darcy was an asshole.
Mr. Darcy writes Elizabeth a 2-page love letter [aw!] laying out his side of the story and convincing her that it is Wickham, in fact, who is the asshole. He is seeking to marry any woman just for her inheritance! She ignores Mr. Wickham's charms from then on, which inadvertently leads to him switching his sights to Little Lydia. Lydia ends up running off with Wickham [which is fucked, 'cause she's 16 and he's in his late 20s, but hey, those were different times!], and the entire county is aghast. Not at the age difference, but at the fact that they are unwed. Weirdos.
Eventually, they are found and brought back in order to make things official and save the family from embarrassment. What a terrible era! Marriage was such a huge deal! Everything gets wrapped up nicely with Jane and Bingley/Elizabeth and Darcy ending up together. Huzzah.
Analysis: the cover is funny, being a send-up of Cosmo-esque magazines, which have little to no literary value. “How to CURE your BOY-CRAZY SISTERS!” and “17 Secrets About SUMMER DRESSES” they boast. And yet... no trace of this humour is found anywhere else in the book. The writing in the story itself retains its archaic original form. These two styles seem at odds with each other. The cover is almost false advertising.
I guess the adapters were trying to find a happy medium between 19th-century literature and modern comics for the kids of today, kind of like Baz Luhrmann's modernized Romeo + Juliet, which kept the original dialogue. Actually, the overwrought writing sometimes makes me feel like I'm reading Shakespeare, but at least Billy had sword fights and bawdy jokes. This shit is too prim and proper for me.
I found myself confused at times by some of the language and some of the customs of these strange, 19th-century British people. As I mentioned before, this society weirds me out. They have this strange habit of being very forward about things but, at the same time, hiding behind formalities and all that jazz. “Good sir, you are surely acting in the manner of male genitalia of the largest proportions, so I shall bid you good day!” *doffs top-hat* This Wickham guy is a huge turd, but nobody does anything! He basically weasels his way into the Bennet family so he can get a chunk of inheritance pie, half the members of the family hate him, but they all sit around and let it happen. Kick his ass, Mr. Bennet! ...No? Darcy? Anyone? They deserve every awkward family dinner they get.
And don't even get me started about Mrs. Bennet.
Also, I have theorized that Mr. Darcy is the reason that girls dig assholes: ladies think their guy will turn out to be nice under the surface, but they are often sadly mistaken. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.
Actually, at first I thought Wickham was a douche bag for the whole marrying just for inheritance thing, then I realized...That's pretty much what Catherine did. That's pretty much what most people are doing in that day and age. So, can't fault the player for playin' the game!
So, the artwork was good [not great, noticed a few mistakes], the story was somewhat engaging and my horizons were slightly expanded.
Mostly, I was bored.