The graphic novel tie-in to upcoming Megan Fox horror movie Jennifer's Body is released today, and if the movie is anything like this, we're in for one confused - but enjoyable - movie that zigs when we're expecting a zag.
The graphic novel doesn't exactly adapt the movie, but instead works around it; we see some events in the movie from the perspective of Jennifer's victims, although we also get a prologue and epilogue from Jennifer's perspective herself. It's an interesting take on the tie-in format, and offers up a lot of potential for adding something to the movie - but, ultimately, it remains an additional part to the movie, as opposed to something that stands alone (It also seems to reveal the ending - or, at least, an ending - to the movie, which seems somewhat counter-intuitive, considering that the movie isn't released for another month. Maybe it should come with a note to skip the last chapter until you've seen the movie).
Storywise, what's on offer is a catalog of male teen neuroses and inability to see women as anything other than... well, "other" - Each narrator objectifies Jennifer, and sees her as something that would either solve some problem or magically improve their life in some ill-defined way, and the interest of the book is as much in the different ways in which each character does that (Will she cure the jock's shrunken testicle problem? Does she "understand" the introverted emo kid because she listens to the same music?) as it is in the dark comedy of high school politics that it wants to be. The problem is, the book objectifies Jennifer just as much as any of the characters; the few Jennifer-narrated sequences aside - and even then, she comes across as little more than a generic evil demon cliche - Jennifer is only in this book as a killing machine or an thing to lust over. She isn't given any depth or attention at all, and neither are any of the book's other female characters; it's really only all about the boys.
What the book becomes, then, is this odd thing where we're shown that objectifying women is wrong, but that women are also not really anything other than lust objects, killers, or plot devices of some shape or form. That's not entirely helped by the art, which goes between Frank Cho's cheesecake cover and Jim Mahfood's gloriously cartoony take in the first chapter (See top image for an example). The mix of artists and art styles helps reinforce the episodic nature of Rick Spears' writing, but not enough; Mahfood is the most extreme example of variety, and I ended up wishing we'd had more artists that took similar chances.
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Despite all of this, though, there's something engaging about the book. Spears' take on the characters allows you to feel movie scriptwriter Diablo Cody's touch, but also harkens back to Kevin Williamson's work on Scream, or the movie The Faculty, and even with all the problems surrounding the book's confused sexual politics, there's something winning about not only the victims' inner turmoil, but also seeing them get dispatched in their individual manners. More than anything, though, the book achieves its main purpose without breaking a sweat - By being so confused, and leaving Jennifer (and Needy, her best friend, who plays an important role in the book later on) so vague and incomplete, it leaves me wanting to see the movie, in order to find out if there's more to this story than meets the eye. I'm just trying to work out if I should feel cheated about that or not.