Holly wrote a LitFlix of the movie Edge of Tomorrow yesterday, having read the book – All You Need is Kill – first. Well, I read the graphic novel, so I thought I would share my thoughts too!
My initial impression of the comic is that it doesn’t sound too different from the book. That means that I don’t have a lot to add over what Holly wrote. That also means that it was quite different from the movie!
For as short of a book as it is, the graphic novel was shorter. It’s a fun, quick read. I found it on Amazon and read it on my Kindle. I should note also that it came out just in May – so it was in place to marge the two, or at least to ride the wave of interest given that the movie was coming out. But it didn’t do that – it really was the book adaptation, not the movie adaptation.
So spoilers to follow, and I think I’m mostly going to let some of the panels speak for the graphic novel!
So one of the most obvious things to see, the differences, were in the Mimics and armored soldiers. In the graphic novel – I imagine, translating the descriptions from the novel – the Mimics are big, blue monsters. They “mimicked” frogs and starfish, so they have an aquatic sort of look. In the movie, they are more mechanical looking, and move rapidly, with tentacles and explosive rounds. A deadly combo.
The soldiers in the graphic novel, meanwhile, are wearing full body armors – armor so heavy and complex that they let the mechanics do most of the work, most of the moving. They don’t even train the soldiers how to do so themselves – they just let them out into the fight in the suits, hoping for luck. And they look like you might expect from a story like, say, Starship Troopers. They look, honestly, like Master Chief.
In the movie, the armor is more of a partial exoskeleton, is weapons on the arms more than anything. It’s not a full suit, does not offer the sort of protection that it does in the graphic novel – nor does it have the issues about not being able to move it on its own. So that doesn’t really come up.
The movie, to me, reminded me of The Matrix trilogy. The Mimics look like the Sentinels, and the armor for the soldiers looks like a small version of the battle mechs that they fight in in Zion. And looking on IMDb, I see some of the same art folks between the two movies – coincidence?!?
I also liked the connection to the Samurai, something completely lost in the movie since they removed the Japanese main character. It worked for two reasons.
For one, the aesthetic matched with what they had to do to beat the Mimics. The Mimics were great at shooting people at a distance, and sneaking up on them as well. Really, this worked the same in the movie. So instead of standing back and shooting at them, the best strategy was to get up close, to attack them in melee. To hit them with an axe, in the novel, or with a sword in the movie. In the movie, Tom Cruise doesn’t end up with his own sword, but they keep the melee aesthetic – he punches a lot of Mimics, even though he also carries a gun.
However, there’s a second reason that the Samurai are important. The idea that the Samurai were great killers, great soldiers, ones that learned and improved over time. They weren’t great because they killed all at once. They killed one at a time, over and over, throughout their life.
It works as a metaphor for how Keiji learns as well. Day over day, kill after kill. To get better, all he has to do is kill.
The Graphic Novel
I don’t know if I would entirely recommend this graphic novel. In the end, it’s just an adaptation of the book, the quick and dirty version. It doesn’t do a great job of presenting the looped days (the movie does a great job of that, living up to Groundhog Day comparisons), and really just shoots through the story. A lot of time is spent on fight scenes, which are confusing.
One thing that was not much explained at all in the graphic novel was how the whole time-looping happens. This was the biggest difference as Holly and I were discussing it, after the movie. In the novel, as she described, it’s a system of antennae and transmitters and is described like a large, organic machine. In the movie, there’s a hive brain, and the rest function from there.
In the graphic novel, it’s just a big blue one, and you have to kill it again. Holly told me in the full novel, there was a lot of focus on the strategy, on having to fight through the enemies, kill them in order of importance. In the graphic novel, there’s just not the time given to that level of detail.
However, it did mean it ended up closer to the movie, in a way… you just have to kill the big main one. So I was surprised at the depth of the difference in the novel, because for me reading the graphic novel, that wasn’t so different. But really, just out of incompleteness.
The book is short, so I might recommend that instead. The movie was good, though finding out the extent to which it was white-washed, relocated, and swaps the gender of the female science nerd, all kind of rankles me. And realizing just how much the visuals are like The Matrix. So it’s kind of, despite those things, it’s a good action movie, with solid time travel. Really, it’s what you’d want to see if you were thinking the action movie version of Groundhog Day. But of the three options? The graphic novel is third on the list.