Written by Meg Cabot, art by Jinky Coronado
Published by TokyoPop
Slugline: Meg Cabot is a great writer, but not a great scriptwriter.
I admit I have read some of Meg Cabot's books for teens, most of which are aimed at girls. Her most famous series is the Princess Diaries, which have very little to do with the movies. But I appreciate good writing no matter what the genre, and she is able to provide a view of teen life that at least seems real, if not exactly accurate. Avalon High: Coronation is a sequel to a previous work, where tomboy Ellie moves to a new town, ends up dating Will Wagner. Will's best friend Lance ends up dating Arthur's ex Jennifer, and helps Arthur survive a confrontation with his half brother Marco. If all this sounds familiar, there is a reason for it. An ancient society believes that Arthur is the reincarnation of King Arthur, and that many of the people in their shared lives are reincarnations of Arthurian legends, with Ellie herself the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake.
For the actual story, not much actually happens here. Ellie, Jennifer and Jennifer's former best friend Morgan are all nominated for homecoming queen. Ellie has been having unnerving dreams about Marco, and there is an attempt to get Arthur to reconcile with his father, who expected him to go to the Naval Academy instead of aiming for a liberal arts education, and his mother, whom he had never known until recently was more than his step-mother. There is a lot of back story, presumably from the first book that was in prose, taking up what feels like the first third of the book. That is the downside of prose versus graphic novels -- you can cram a lot more story in just a few words than in graphic fiction, where each moment has to be its own panel. So this doesn't feel like its own story, merely a continuation of another, and one that ends definitely in the middle so that you just got the second act and nothing else. And some of the character moments, which Meg Cabot usually handles so deftly, come across like a sledgehammer, telegraphed both coming and going. I presume that is because of her unfamiliarity with the medium rather than anything else.
I wanted to like this a lot but I found it hard to do so, and this may only be worth your while once the additional volumes are out so you can go from the prose novel into a completed graphic fiction storyline.
Avalon High: Coronation, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.