Monday, February 8, 2010
Morrison, Grant. Vimanarama. ISBN: 1-4012-0496-1. DC Comics, 2005.
Ali is an English teenager nervously awaiting an arranged marriage. He is a student and Artist and his family works hard at a corner shop to support him. Ali has decided that if the woman he is to marry is ugly or dull that God hates him, and that he will kill himself. Then on the day he is to meet his bride Sofia, he gets a call that his brother is trapped in the family shop. The shop floor has collapsed, revealing a secret underground city. To make matters worse, the baby in the family, Imran, has ventured into its depths. Ali takes it upon himself to be the hero and goes after Imran with Sofia's help. They locate Imran, but it is too late, because the baby has accidentally unleashed an ancient army from hell with the technology to destroy the human race. Ali and Sofia then accidentally summon the Ultra-Hadeen, a race of ancient super heroes, to help stop the evil army. The story takes a turn when the leader of the Ultra-Hadeen falls in love with Sofia. Ali must save the world and compete with a superhero for the love of his bride to be.
Vimanarama definitely has appeal for the teenage boy. It's illustrations are bright, loud, and feature an army of hell soldiers determined to destroy the world. There's also a love story that features an attractive young girl, which doesn't hurt. Ali, the stories protagonist, has to deal with his fate and accept the outcome of his arranged marriage. He also has to deal with saving the planet from the chain of events that he is responsible for creating. In doing so, he becomes the hero he has always imagined himself to be. Ali is quirky, funny, and is relatable to any boy anywhere.
The problem with the story doesn't rest with the characters, but with the plot. The illustrations help to visualize Morrison's strange world of godlike superheros and robots, but understanding what is going on is often difficult despite the artists attempt to make sense of the story. Despite it having one of the strangest plots I've ever read, the story is important and relevant because it deals with the issue of arranged marriage. Teenagers living in cultures that practice arranged marriages can read this and explore the same feelings of doubt and apprehension that they might be feeling. Morrison weaves this issue into a story full of explosions and a little love. Vimanarama makes for an interesting read, but don't expect it to creep into any summer reading lists.
Ali is nervously awaiting his first encounter with his prearranged bride to be. This meeting is less than ideal when he accidentally unleashes an ancient army of soldiers who will stop at nothing to destroy the planet and his chance at love.
For the past 20 years, Grant Morrison has been one of the most influential writers in the comic book industry. He is the author of the Critically acclaimed and best selling graphic novel Batman Arkham Asylum, as well as the groundbreaking original series The Invisibles. He has also won Eisner Awards for his work on the comic series Seven Soldiers of Victory and All Star Superman.
Morrison's use of anti-establishment themes and exploration of counter culture have made him an icon for comic book fans seeking new and innovative work in their favorite format. For more information on the prolific work of Grant Morrison visit www.grant-morrison.com
graphic novel, superhero, issues
Book Talking Ideas
Discuss arranged marriage in other cultures.
Describe Ali, and his grim look on life.
Why does Ali feel that the gods hate him?
Reading Level/Interest Age
Challenge defense ideas:
1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the book in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.
Reason For Selection
Vimanarama is so much more than a superhero novel. I wanted to include graphic novels in my blog that dealt with serious issues, and then I happened to come across Vimanarama, which discusses the complicated issue of arranged marriage while providing the entertaining action of religious superheros. This sounds like a lot to handle, and it is, but the inside look into the thought process involved in dealing with arranged marriage is beneficial for teenage readers.