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Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey: 02/12/15

cover art

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi is one of two graphic novels published in 2014 about Shackleton's attempts to cross Antartica (because he'd missed out on reaching the south pole). This one focuses primarily on his last attempt, one that took place at the start of WWI.

More precisely, it's the story of a dangerous obsession. After so many failures (but a knighthood), you'd think he'd get it through his head that maybe crossing Antartica isn't something that can be safely or realistically reached with late 19th / early 20th century technology and gear.

In this last attempt they miss their opportunity to get to land and the ship is trapped in ice. So rather than trying to abort the mission and get a rescue, they just hang out, eating through all their supplies, playing with the dogs and waiting for the thaw. When the thaw comes, of course the ship is destroyed.

That's not exactly how things played out but that's how the book portrays the events. Shackleton's decisions during the emergency aren't explained.

Now the book takes place in an icy wasteland and it's drawn in black and white. With tiny, highly detailed panels, the artwork is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes the characters and dogs and other stuff are labeled, but most times they aren't. So it's an irritating story with difficult artwork.

Three stars

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