Atar Gull, by Fabien Nury and Bruno
This is an interesting graphic novel, one that deals thoughtfully with the issue of slavery. Admittedly, this book tells the sort of lurid tale that would be very easily made into an anime movie, but if it is taken at least somewhat seriously it betrays a certain view of slavery that would be very familiar to many people. And without giving away too many spoilers about the story it is hard to discuss the book in a great of detail. That said, it is worthwhile to note that at the heart of this particular book is vengeance, a vengeance that in one way at least is a striking success but in another way is a failure. And it is the failure, of course, that is more profound, while it is the success that will make this book somewhat popular and easy to enjoy by a great many people who may overlook the importance of its failure. The failure of the revenge plot of this book is that those who long for revenge suffer a great deal because of the wrongs that they feel and their efforts to obtain what they view of justice, and even if they should manage to execute their schemes of revenge, others often fail to suffer as much, thus making the revenge unsatisfactory.
Indeed, the revenge aspects of this book are the main thing tying together its various episodes in a variety of places. And those who would see Atar Gull as a hero and someone worth emulating would do well to consider his fate. His inability to forgive and let go and his decision to try to avenge himself on a slave owner who is viewed by others as being a decent person, slave owners considered, leads to the loss of everything he could hold deal and any relationship he had with others. Those who devote themselves to revenge in the name of justice would do well to consider this cruel fate, as they might find themselves wrestling with the same losses as a result of a ill-advised devotion to avenging justice. The fact that the titular avenger appears to others to be a person of deep faith even as he pursues diabolic purposes is a reminder to us that we judge in error when we judge by surface appearances. And when a graphic novel manages to be so subversive when it comes to matters of appearance, that is certainly considerable achievement.