This is the first graphic novel of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” by DC Comics that was inspired by the late Steig Larsson’s Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Woman). This is probably the third incarnation of the novel which consisted of the Swedish Millenium movie series, the American movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. I had known about the book series in my second year of university and then devoured the movie series while I was in my third year. I fell in love with Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander and still is. To me, Noomi Rapace is the Swedish version of Rachel Weisz, who is also my girl crush. But even when I wasn’t keen with Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth, I still love all of the characters including this book.
The graphic novel is consisted of 160 full coloured pages of the first quarter of the novel. The path between Mikael and Lisbeth were crossed when Lisbeth was hired by Henrik Vanger’s lawyer to investigate Mikael Blomkvist who was being accused of libel against the business tycoon, Wennerström. With Lisbeth finding out Mikael being set up by Wennerström, Henrik Vanger decided to hire Blomkvist with a large sum of money to investigate the mystery of Harriet Vanger before he was sent to do his prison sentence. The story is narrated by Lisbeth and Mikael’s POV with Lisbeth are conflicted because of her abusive new guardian and Mikael’s struggle to understand the circumstances with Harriet’s disappearance and the curious Vanger family members.
I do notice there are some simplification in the graphic novels but at its core, the graphic novel is faithful to the book. To my delight, Lisbeth’s characterization seemed to be based on Noomi Rapace’s portrayal which is the main allure of the series since the original book’s description is never enough to describe Lisbeth alone. Weirdly enough, Mikael Blomkvist is not what I had in mind in the graphic novel since he’s much younger and less journalist-looking than his book/movie counterpart. Plus, as much as I never buy his sexual appeal by every female characters in the series, I don’t even see it in this book.
The artwork is what you’d expected from DC comics except the approach is more noir and pulpy than comical. The colour at sometimes is vibrant, nostalgic and sometimes cold, dark and unwelcoming. Although it’s a graphic novel from a Swedish counterpart, there’s barely any references or effort to make it look like a Swedish book besides the occasional name places. I guess, it’s a lot harder to do so in comics than it was with movies but it does make it hard to accept it as an authentic Swedish graphic novel. So, if series’s Swedish autheticity is what you look for, I don’t think you’ll get much from this book.
Overall, it’s a great retelling. There’s some added scenes and specific details was obviously being carefully thought of to include in the comic. It’s a great collection item to fans of the series and if you haven’t read the book or seen the movies, this graphic novel is what you would probably will look forward to since it doesn’t downgrade the adult violence in this series but the intensity from the artwork is profound enough to make fans of the series pleased.
The first book of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo graphic novel will be published on 13 November 2012 by DC Comics. The ARC is gratefully supplied by the publisher via NetGalley.