Graphic Novel: Payback
Price: Rs. 150
Published by: Pop Culture Publishing
Desi James Bond, Bourne Identity or what? Graphic novel Payback begins in Hollywood style with time, date and location counters, and has a tagged narration in almost the entire book that highlights the volatility of war and terrorism today.
To put it in layman terms, the cover and illustration, both have an international feel to it but the content is loaded with what seems like desi characters and desi settings in a big budget Hollywood espionage action-thriller. One such sequence in the novel hints at an evil biochemist contaminating the city’s water supply for mayhem, which is exactly similar to the climax in the movie, Batman Begins.
One can’t also fail to admit that the cover photo recalls the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and Payback perhaps uses one of our unforgettable and unforgiving nightmares come alive as a metaphor to lift the ‘soft nation’ tag from our nation’s face by taking the liberty of giving it an option to proactively ‘counter strike’ our neighbour.
However, the book is not one that really stays with you once you are done with it except for the art and colour by Sumit Kumar and Neeraj Menon respectively, which is really commendable. On the other hand, what it does succeed in attempting, is bringing a new hero (Agent 93) in the Indian comic book universe, who doesn’t need a face or a name like others but the valour to save the nation from every possible threat known. And mind you, for him, the enemy’s blood has no colour.