Three Star review, originally posted here on July 24, 2014. (Note this review was about comic book version of the 9/11 Report, not on the actual full written report.)
I’m torn on this book. On the one hand, I really liked the idea behind it- take an important yet dense government report that everyone should (but almost nobody will) read and make it more accessible and appealing to a different audience. And in that regard I guess it worked on me- reading the real report has been on my to-do list for years and was likely to stay that way until I discovered this graphic novel and figured I would give it a try. I read the whole thing in about four days (very quick for me).
BUT… I still don’t think I was quite the target audience. Another reviewer said she didn’t recommend this unless you’re already a big reader of graphic novels (I think I’ve only read 4 or 5 ever), and he or she may be right. With a couple notable exceptions (specifically, the timelines towards the beginning of the book), I didn’t find the information any easier to follow in this format than I think I would have in a narrative form. The pictures in most cases do little to add to the info or even really illustrate anything being said. If anything, the format was frustrating because it FELT like it should have all been easy to digest due to the format, but instead was still just as dry. The condensed info, highlighting only the most important points, meant that there was no real explanation for most facts, meaning that every fact was lost in the fray of giant bullet points. It was like watching a long power point presentation where the presenter doesn’t actually explain anything- just reads the bullets off one by one, making them all utterly forgettable.
Like I said, I’m not really the target audience here since I’m already a huge fan of nonfiction involving serious topics. But I can see this version working for some people, and that is great. I still love the idea of trying to make the report more approachable and condensed, but I think it would have worked better as a well-done CliffsNotes style blog post or something along those lines.