Comic Review: Banshee Origins by Jonathan Tropper

Banshee OriginsBanshee Origins by Jonathan Tropper

Genre: Crime, Drama

Publisher: IDW Publishing (January 2013)

Wendy’s Rating – 2 of 5 stars

Banshee is a television show about a criminal, recently released from prison, who, after a series of unfortunate events, takes on the guise of a new sheriff and makes himself comfortable in the titular town. The love of his life and former partner in crime also happens to live there, but she has changed her identity and is now living happily with her husband and two children. But the threat of her father, the Ukrainian mob boss, Rabbit, still looms over both of them, along with the problem of some stolen diamonds.

If this description is enough to entice you to watch it, then I am happy. Because I love Banshee for so many reasons. And if you watch it, then I will tell you to skip this comic, because it is entirely unnecessary—which is often the trouble with origin stories. They either tell you stuff you’ve already figured out, or you learn things you don’t want or need to know.

The thing is, Banshee already has origin stories. These come in the form of vignettes, barely five minutes long, that tease just enough…

The beauty of the TV show is that it is mired in mystery. It doesn’t feel the need to give you context for every single thing, but if you pay attention, you’ll be able to put all the pieces together just fine. As a result, this comic serves only to tie those pieces up in a single, neat package, but it reveals nothing you wouldn’t have already figured out already.

I suppose if you haven’t watched the show and are curious, this comic might work, but then, it really just tells a very basic story that is not likely to impress. A huge part of the magic of Banshee is in the storytelling choices. The way its scenes are intercut and juxtaposed in such meaningful ways that blend the past and the present, the actual and the desired. And it is acted with such depth of raw emotion, with a strong understanding of the power of silence. A look. A touch. A moment.

None of that comes across in this very linear and simplistic story. And worse, it gives you very two-dimensional characters that you’ll probably recognize from a million other stories. All of which simply does not do any justice to the show.

So my final verdict is this: If you watch and love Banshee, this comic is a waste of your time. If you want to know about Banshee, don’t read this comic—just watch the show and love it or hate it for what the show truly is.

{UPDATE:  Since originally writing this review, I have watched the second season finale and discovered that this entire episode is based, almost panel perfect, on this origin comic. Since the show moves much like a comic, it does an excellent job and then some. This origin story was actually written to coincide with the pilot of the series, which aired in January 2013. I still hold to my belief that the comic was an unnecessary accompaniment. The show’s method of carefully handing out details on a need to know basis, saving all of this for this origin story for the finale, when it really, really counts.]

1 Comments on “Comic Review: Banshee Origins by Jonathan Tropper”

  1. Does anyone know what Banshee really means? I was astounded to learn that Banshee was a man with a sonic scream in an American novel and tv series. Banshee or ban-sìthe means ‘fairy woman’. Woman!!


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