I swear, I didn’t know Maximum Ride ended last week. So this is the best/worst time to finally do this review. I bought the Maximum Ride manga in 2011, and I loved it then just as much as I don’t now. Gorgeous art, wasted visuals. Strong characters, come on too strong.
The manga/manwha/American adaptation was drawn by Narae Lee. To her credit, she’s a divine artist and didn’t write the series. That dubious honor belongs to James Patterson. I hear he’s a great writer, so why the bomb? I have a theory…
At this point I was planning on showing a clip from American Dad!, but YouTube is strict on that and blocked it worldwide. Hmm. It was gonna be funny. Patterson kidnapped the mother to write him a book, since he can’t make his writing banal enough for the teen market. I coulda made gifs, but I’m not in the mood. “Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery Tour.” Most recent season.
I don’t have a suitable comparison of other Pattersons, but there is a preview of one of the books at the end, and MAN it looks dumb. A talking flying dog? Keep in mind, you’d be reading this right after Max is confronted by her missing father figure, very serious compared to the dog.
Fine, the plot. Bird people
live in solitude in a flock, making do with what they have. They’re attacked by wolf people or dog men, and the li’l one is captured. Max, the leader, takes two of the remaining five to find their sister, while the other two protect the base. Will they find Angel? Will Nudge find her mother? Why was Angel captured?
Rundown of the cast, with Max at the end.
-Fang: “Ninja, brooding, hmph. Main love interest, although we all act like siblings, so it’s weird, hmph. Silent, HMPH!”
-Nudge: “I’M THE ONE THAT TALKS TOO MUCH! THIS ISN’T EXPRESSED VERY WELL, SINCE IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE ANYONE TALKS ENOUGH! I’M LOOKING FOR MY REAL MOTHER! I FOUND A SNORT!”
-Iggy: “I’m blind. Did you know I’m blind? That’s my only defining trait. I could help if I wasn’t blind, but I am, so I can’t! Woe is my blindness!”
-Gazzy: “I’m rash, and I fart.”
-Angel: “I’m the adorable one! I’m oh-so-cute and the next Mary Sue after my favoritist sister, Max! I’m literally psychic, so that’s not overkill!”
-Maximum Ride: “Okay, stop mucking about, everyone! We’re under attack! Oh, me? I’m the leader, at least, I assume I am since Jeb left us. Let me tell you about the others, since they couldn’t do it right, I bet. Fang is so dreamy. I could fly with him in silence forever, even when Angel is being kidnapped. But then Nudge interrupts our silence with mouth noise, asking about detouring to see her mom! No way! That chatterbox has some dumb ideas! It’s way better to take a detour to save some random girl, stay for 24 hours, then meet back up with the others! Then I find out Nudge tried to find her anyway? Oh, and there’s Iggy and Gazzy! I told them to stay behind because they’d be in the way, and safe at home! Then they get caught by the dog guys? Why didn’t they hold down the base? Oh, it got attacked, right. Still, it’s their faults! Angel’s gone and she’s my favorite! What I have to put up with!”
As you can see, Maximum Ride is unpleasant, probably due to her attitude, scot-free nature, hypocrisy, playing favorites, bluntness, and the level of annoyingness I probably over-exaggerated, but it’s essentially accurate.
Again, the art is gorgeous.
These bird people don’t act like people. Take this scenario:
-Angel is kidnapped. The wolves couldn’t do better than one child, the smallest? Keep in mind, the oldest age range in the group is 14, and birds are not known for fighting.
-Max decides on the plan, which involves leaving the two weak links of the flock at home, claiming there’s the off-chance Angel could find her way home. Heck of an off-chance, since she’s only capable of flight and mind-taking.
-Iggy, blind boy he is, complains that Max is lying and wants the truth. Of course she’s lying; she just sucks at it. It doesn’t seem odd that you and the boy aren’t fully-developed?
-Max admits that yes, she’s afraid they’ll be in the way. They don’t, in fact, end up in the way. The whole flock gets caught because they’re clumped together in a restaurant.
-Iggy is indignant, surprised that was Max’s intention. Why? He outright called her out on it. What did he expect? “No, your blindness isn’t a factor”?
-Gazzy and Iggy are attacked. Here’s the biggest problem. You have the two weakest members guarding the base. Of course the wolves would come back to the place the birds were last. Of course they couldn’t fight back without bombs. If you use the pretense of “holding down the fort,” make good on it and drop a member for the base or supply them with weapons.
-Iggy and Gazzy meet up with the others, and Max chews them out for abandoning the base and using bombs, which could catch civilian attention. Then there’s this. Max is foolhardy, blaming others before herself. Yeah, maybe I found the tracking device in my arm, but it’s not like the knowledge actually helps me, since I can’t remove it. Better wildly blame the others to cover my tracks.
-During all this, Angel is tortured in a science facility, being forced to run around and be referred to as “it.” When the flock is caught, she doesn’t call Max out or anything. I mean, I guess she’d be glad to see Max more than anything, but still.
Maximum Ride was an amazing bomb. There were high hopes for the series, but the second book and on (the fourth book and on, really) turned out disappointing. The manga has produced eight volumes with two more at the time of this writing to be, while the books… well, it ran from 2005 to last week. Ten years. Again.
There was to be a movie, but it’s been in development so long, although Patterson claims it’s this year. I doubt it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d welcome a female lead, but not Max. Never Max.