I have read the original novel. In fact, I’ve also read all but the final novel in the original series. I was curious about the graphic novel adaptation. Given that the original Artemis Fowl is a YA novel, I figured a comic book style version would be reasonably similar. It both was and was not.
The basic plot remains the same: devious genius Artemis and his loyal body guard/butler Butler devise a plan to kidnap a fairy for reasons which will not be revealed until Artemis explain his whole scheme ala evil villain monologue to Captain Holly Short of the Recon squad of the Haven Police Department. Holly is the one who is kidnapped, Julius Root is her boss (and I must say I cannot wait for the movie to see what Judy Dench does with his character) who has to rescue his officer without revealing the existence of his kind to humanity, and Juliet is Butler’s much younger sister who hasn’t yet joined the family business.
The biggest difference comes thanks to the art. This is not entirely a compliment. Most of the side characters have no personality and no faces in the graphic version, at least among the fairies. Foaley the centaur police tech whiz looks far too polished and generally with it compared to his word story counterpart. Butler is repeatedly referred to as Eurasian in the word novel, but here looks like the Euro part only. The troll that features twice in the novel (both of them) has a very imprecise appearance in the graphic version, and Artemis has very little facial expression, which works most of the time except when he is supposed to grappling with actual feeling, which contributes to some character growth in the word novel, but no some much in the graphic version. Then there’s Mulch Diggums, the thieving dwarf who gets drawn into the caper. The graphics are not clear as to how he does what he does in several ways. Granted too much detail might result in readership restrictions well above the level of the intended audience of 7-12 year- olds, but it does remove a lot of the clarity of that part of the story as well as a good bit of the humor.
Given that I know how many characters turn out or end up in later novels, maybe I was expecting too much detail from this graphic novel. Particularly since later stories in the series get considerably darker and Artemis starts to grow up a little, I was hoping for more character personality and that’s just not here. It’s pretty faithful to the main thread of the plot though, and that’s something at least.