Storm Front Vol. 2: Maelstrom is the third graphic novel in The Dresden Files universe and the adaptation of the second half of the first novel in The Dresden Files, Storm Front. The previous volumes are Welcome to the Jungle, an original story set prior to Storm Front, and Storm Front Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm. Storm Front is by Jim Butcher, with the graphic novel adaptations done by Mark Powers and illustrated by Ardian Syaf. All of the graphic novels were originally published in four single issues and later released as collected graphic novels.
This volume opens just as Harry Dresden finishes fighting off a demon which has tracked him to his not-so-secret basement lair. He still needs to solve a grisly double murder for Murphy and the Chicago PD while at the same time proving his innocence for the same crime to Warden Morgan of the White Council—before the Council convenes in Chicago for his trial and execution. In addition, Harry needs to find a missing person for a client, and these two cases are becoming more interconnected as time goes on.
Hard to jump into blind
Storm Front Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm ends almost exactly in the middle of Storm Front, so that’s where Maelstrom opens. If you’ve read volume one, this will make sense and flow nicely. If you haven’t… well, let’s just say that I don’t recommend it. Graphic novel adaptations are a lot like film adaptations in that they have to edit a lot of details out in the due to time and space limitations. Powers does not give you any recap, just keeps going at a hell-bent pace to the finish.
Which brings me to my only real complaint: Storm Front may have been better served by being chopped into three or four chunks instead of just two. While it’s been a while since I’ve read the original novel, Storm Front, I did find myself consistently feeling like I was missing some piece of evidence that would have helped the adaptation flow better for me. The major building blocks are there, but Susan disappears after the beginning of this volume, and Murphy and Morgan are barely there. Harry spends his time literally running from one key person with information to the next without pause or time for readers to put together the pieces on their own. The Dresden Files already have a frenetic pace; to speed that up even further means that there is no time to savor the aha! moments. Powers and Syaff set this up to literally sprint from the beginning to the end of this volume.
Why you should read this book?
Because you love the Dresden Files in general, and hopefully because you enjoyed Storm Front Vol. 1. Overall, this is a solid addition to the series, and a worthwhile, if short, read. Again, this is not a good book to pick up if you’re not at least passingly familiar with Dresden.