Twilight.  Where do I begin? Stephanie Meyer’s sparkly vampire books make tweens and their moms weak in the knees.  They’ve spawned two (and counting) movies, which have grossed insane amounts of money, more merchandise than any thirteen year old girl could ever want, and heated Team Edward/Team Jacob debates in school yards across North America.  The latest offering from the twilight brand is Young Kim’s adaptation, simply called Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume One.

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or you aren’t a twelve year old girl), Twilight is the story of Bella Swan, a teenager girl who moves to the dreary town of Forks, Washington, to live with her father.  Forks is the most overcast place in the United States, so naturally, it has become home to a family of vegetarian vampires. Edward (the only single vampire of the bunch) broods, threatens, and ignores Bella into falling “unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him” (direct quote).  Volume one ends when Bella learns the truth about Edward.  Edward tells Bella that he craves her, like a heroine addict craves a fix (I couldn’t make this up), and that he sparkles (gasp) in the sunlight. Being the rational, mature, young woman she is, Bella ignores his warnings and confesses her love to the would-be blood-sucker.

Did we really need a Twilight graphic novel? No, but I’m sure the twi-hards will eat it up. Having read the books (I know…I know…) I was curious about the adaptation.  Would Edward be as dreamy?  Would Bella seem as one dimensional and irritating?  Could they fix the horrendous pacing problems in the novel? From the opening page, Kim’s book is beautiful. The artwork shows more depth and realism than Kristin Stewart’s entire acting career. Most of the book is in greyscale, with only punches of colour for emphasis—Edward’s eyes, a splash of blood, sparkling.  The precise detail and realistic backgrounds almost make you forget what you’re reading…almost.

Sadly, similarly to Meyer’s books, it’s all surface and little substance. I’m not blind to the problems in Meyer’s writing, and unfortunately a lot of them found their way into Kim’s graphic novel.  The graphic novel is like the Coles notes of Twilight, and unlike Shakespeare, Stephanie Meyer doesn’t need to be dumbed down. The dialogue is almost identical to Meyer’s original and continues to sound clunky and melodramatic.  Kim’s adaptation skims through character development, races through the supporting cast, and jumps from place to place like a rabbit on crack. I doubt anyone who hasn’t read the book (or watched the movie) would know (or care) what was happening.

If you’ve been sucked into the world of vegetarian vampires and the silly little klutzes who love them, you’ll like the graphic novel.  It’s stunning and stays true to the books.  If you haven’t, Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume One, is not for you—but you already knew that, didn’t you?

I just hope the graphic novels sell well enough to warrant printing one for Breaking Dawn.  Vampire/Human sex, vampire baby breaking Bella’s spine, werewolf with an infant fetish—Let’s see them make that PG.

Jill Nagel is an employee of Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario and a lumberjack champion and she’s okay.