Growing Up Bionicle

Geek Culture

The fun is in the story. Image: PapercutzThe fun is in the story. Image: Papercutz

The fun is in the story. Image: Papercutz

(Another post from GeekTeen John, filling in for me while I’m on assignment.)

LEGO’s Bionicle action figure line holds some meaning for me. Since its release in 2001, I’ve bought sets six at a time (and filled an entire wall in my room with them.). But the one aspect of the series I’ve really enjoyed has to be the story.

Unlike most LEGO themes, Bionicle has a large backstory to it that has expanded over the years and helped the line become a huge seller. I found that the story added a lot of play value. And every month, I waited by the mailbox for the latest Bionicle comic. The comics were probably my favorite part of Bionicle. I mostly enjoyed being able to follow the story (one I know by heart now). I also liked some of the illustrators in later years, such as Stuart Sayger’s dark style, and current illustrator Pop Mhan’s detailed drawings.

But one problem LEGO faced was that after nearly a decade, the story has become too complex for newer fans to join in. So LEGO teamed up with publisher Papercutz to make small graphic novels of past comics to help newer fans catch up. Each novel covers a year in the Bionicle story, starting with 2001. I hadn’t really pay much attention to them since I already had the issues they collected. However, Papercutz recently sent me a review copy of their latest one, The Underwater City, which covers the year 2007. The story is one of my favorites, about the underwater battle between the evil Barraki warlords and heroic Toa Mahri over the Mask of Life.

As I said before, I didn’t pick up the earlier novels because I had the comics. But The Underwater City also includes a new short story comic by the series writer Greg Farshtey and Papercutz illustrator Christian Zanier. Both are going to be making brand new novels after the series reaches the end of the magazine comics. I thought that the new comic added to the value of the novel, and I certainly look forward to the new books when they come out.

The book is fine for all ages, though I think kids 8 and up will enjoy it more. For fans who have already read the comics, the novels are good for consolidating old collections.

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