Written by: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Hendel
Illustrated by: Niko Henrichon
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Hardcover, 9 x 12, 256 pages, Color, $29.99
Reviewed by: Diamond BookShelf
To borrow from the old car commercial, Noah is not your father's Book of Genesis story.
Before filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and his writing partner Ari Handel (Black Swan, The Wrestler) began production on their retelling of the Biblical tale of Noah and the Ark, they enlisted artist Niko Henrichon (Pride of Baghdad) to create a graphic novel version of the story. The result, Noah, is a graphic adaptation of the first draft of what would become the screenplay to the film.
Taken on its own accord, Noah is a highly-stylized interpretation of the classic story which retains the key elements of the original, both in events and tone.
The familiar elements are there: after a period in which humanity has become wicked and corrupt, God decides to wipe creation out with a flood. Noah, a righteous man, finds himself plagued by visions of a great flood, and after a period of soul-searching finds himself tasked with building a ship that will house a pair of each animal, to repopulate the Earth after the Flood.
Where Aronofsky and Handel bring their artistic flourish is in the details. Noah is presented not as a classic figure of divine certitude, but a man struggling with his responsibility, yet determined to fulfill it. Other Biblical elements are brought into the story, including Noah’s grandfather Methuselah and the apocryphal Watchers, fallen angels who aid in building the Ark. The narrative and emotional weight comes from Noah as he single-mindedly works toward his goal, evoking resistance from not only his family but the world at large.
Henrichon's art is lush and expansive, evoking a world that seems at once antediluvian and post-apocalyptic, while his deft use of scale and sense of action give the book an appropriately cinematic feel.
Noah does contain some scenes of violence toward humans and animals, and Noah's visions of drowned people may be disturbing, but otherwise there are no extreme visuals of language in the graphic novel, and it is suggested for Young Adult (13+) readers who are fans of mythological or religious stories.