The Devourer by Cixin Liu, adapted by JD Moran and illustrated by Weilin Yang
Head of Zeus, pb, £14.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Archaeologists uncover a burial chamber with dinosaur remains mixed in with human skeletons. The conclusion that people and dinosaurs were on the planet simultaneously will revolutionise human understanding of their history. But before the explorers can share their discovery, they are killed by red ants whose nest they had disturbed. A crystal is found in space. The memory of a people destroyed by the Devourers, a dinosaur-like race who harvest planets for their natural resources and leave a trail of drained husks in their wake. The crystal comes with a warning, the Devourers have their sites set on Earth. Can Earth mount a defence against these invaders, or will they succumb as everyone else before them?
Set over a century, The Devourer is the story of the indomitability of the human spirit. Humanity’s future seems bleak; the Devourers are coming, and they will destroy Earth. The only humans who will survive the Devourers’ attack will be kept as cattle. But that doesn’t stop the humans from trying anyway. This story has many twists and turns, keeping you guessing until the end.
I have previously reviewed The Butterfly, another adaptation of Cixin Liu’s work. The Devourer has been adapted and illustrated by different people, and this has brought a different style of art. Gritty and detailed, once again, the artist, Weilin Yang, has chosen the right style for the story. The only change is an anime-style female in the memory crystal, which has adopted a form humans can relate to. This difference reminds us throughout that the crystal is not of our Earth, no matter what it looks like.
The panels are detailed but not overwhelming. Whereas in The Butterfly, the detail was on the people, The Devourer looks at events bigger than one man trying to protect his family, which is reflected in the amount of information in the panels. However, as I have said, all the detail is relevant to reflect the technological changes on Earth over the hundred years the story spans.
There is a great deal of emotional conflict in this story which comes through in how Weilin Yang captures the characters’ facial expressions. Coupled with the story’s twists and turns, this emotional aspect heightened the conflict and kept me engaged right to the end.
I really enjoyed The Devourer. As a graphic novel, it is an excellent combination of story, lettering and pictures to create a truly moving story. Highly recommended.