Friday, January 07, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Tron - Betrayal

I am a fan of the original Tron movie; having seen it as a child with my father in the movie theaters, and since watched it a few times on VHS. My most anticipated movie of this past year was Tron: Legacy, and it lived up to my expectations. But before I saw the new film, I had the chance to read Tron Betrayal – the bridge story between the first movie and the second. It starts with a recap of the original movie, using the graphics style of that film in the telling, which should be welcome for those fans. But after that first section, we are introduced to The Grid, the world inside computers, which is a very different graphic style from what came before. It’s not long before we’re introduced to the concept that this is a new world that Kevin Flynn has created – not the original computer world from the first movie, and that he brought over the Tron program (originally a security program in the first movie, but now repurposed as a game – the videogame Tron that we all knew back in the 80s) to help him in this new world. Tron is popular in the games, just as the game is in the real world, but there’s very little security work he’s needed for at first. Meanwhile, Kevin finds that now that he’s going to be a father, he has less and less time to spend in The Grid – so he needs someone who can guide the world in his name. So he creates Clu, a program who looks just like him, to maintain order and build the perfect society. Into this mix comes the unexpected, programs that begin to self-create – called Isos. They have no User (programmer); they are a new life-form – something Kevin understands to have huge ramifications. Unfortunately along with these Isos come new computer bugs and glitches in the operating system, which causes Clu no end of consternation, especially since Kevin wants the Isos protected. How can Clu create the perfect society if there is one unpredictable element, and to what lengths will he go to follow his primary programming? For those who’ve seen the film, this will fill in more background into how The Grid came to be at the point where it’s first shown in the movie. It also gives more depth to the Isos and the war Clu wages against them. Unfortunately, it only aggravates the one element that was unneeded in the film, the fact that this is not supposed to be the same cyber-world as the first Tron. It’s an unneeded story point, yet it’s constantly brought up in this book (moreso than the movie, where you could pretty much overlook it). Also the action scenes can get confusing, especially any Disc battles, which is unfortunate since it could have been a highlight of the book. It’s not necessary by any stretch to read this book before seeing the movie, but for fans of the films it’s definitely worth seeking out and reading. Even with my minor qualms about the story (which stems from a script problem in the movie more than this book), the art really captures the look of both films, and the story that is here is well told, if slightly predictable.


Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Ah, this brings back fond memories of my Tron game for Intellivision.

Do you remember that?

SQT said...

I do! I had a friend who was a HUGE Tron fan. I never played video games much but she loved them-- and that was her favorite.

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I've only recently got into TRON, but I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the sequel. If I see the graphic novel on my travels I'll be sure to pick it up :)