Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel (First Second)

persia-header.jpgThe long-running video game franchise gets the graphic novel treatment as a precursor to the upcoming film version from Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  

208 pgs. full color; $16.95 softcover

(W: Jordan Mechner & A.B. Sina; A: LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland)


Prince of Persia, a lengthy graphic novel based on a long-running series of video games, touches some primal chords.

Click for a larger image.There is a scene, for instance, in which a man wearing the pelt of a lion leads an actual pride of lions into battle. A forsaken messiah-type lives in a ruined city on the outskirts of a desert town, scurrying to and from civilization through a network of abandoned irrigation tunnels. His lonely life among the ruins strikes a lyrical note. People are beheaded by scimitar in the tale, and others have their tongues chopped off in a graphic public ceremony. There is stirring beauty, and effective violence.

The long and convoluted story is loosely based on a video-game franchise that has been around since the 80s—which, in turn, was loosely based on Arabian Nights.

To understand what’s happening here, you need to keep the book’s two parallels stories separate. They both involve saving a princess and a bloodline, and overturning some kinda tyranny, and they are drawn similarly – most readers will probably find it a bit challenging to follow. I certainly did.

The art owes something to Will Eisner. LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland’s expressive faces, brutish soldiers, cute belly dancers, dusty Arab cities, and so on are really excellent. There’s nothing amateurish here.

The graphic novel coincides with yet another iteration of the Prince of Persia video game, and a Jerry Bruckheimer / Disney (the Pirates of the Caribbean team) film to be released in 2010. | Byron Kerman

For more information and an excerpt of Prince of Persia, visit




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