Boom! Studios Review: Slaughterhouse-Five

by Tony Farina
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Boom! Studios Review: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse Five


Writers: Kurt Vonnegut and Ryan North


Artist, Colorist and Letterer: Albert Monteys


Reviewer: Tony Farina


Kurt Vonnegut’s classic adapted in graphic novel form for the first time!
Billy Pilgrim has read Kilgore Trout and opened a successful optometry business. He has built a loving family and witnessed the firebombing of Dresden. He has traveled to the planet Tralfamadore and met Kurt Vonnegut. Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Slaughterhouse-Five is at once a farcical look at the horror and tragedy of war where children are placed on the front lines and die (so it goes), and a moving examination of what it means to be a fallible human

Slaughterhouse Five


Slaughterhouse-Five in particular and Kurt Vonnegut in general are hard to adapt. Vonnegut’s storytelling devices are complex, hysterical, satirical and heartbreaking. It takes a team of artists with a lot of guts to take that on. Thankfully, Albert Monteys and Ryan North have guts. They decided to not pull any punches and attempt to make Vonnegut accessible.

While North makes a lot of the editorial decisions about what to cut or what to truncate, Monteys is the star of the show. Because Billy Pilgrim, our protagonist, is unstuck in time, he could be 22 in one panel and 50 in the next one. Monteys manages to capture a character who has only existed on a written page and brings him to life with such clarity, that I will always see Billy this way forever.

Additionally, as this is an anti-war book, Montoya makes sure that the war he shows is horrific. The fire bombing of Dresden is not shown on page, which is smart, but he shows the before and after images with such clarity that we can’t help but be moved. It is a master class is showing, not telling.


While I can’t find anything wrong with this Slaughterhouse-Five adaptation, there are clearly things cut or shortened to fit this format. I think that North and Monteys cover up those cuts beautifully, but if you are looking for a panel by panel adaptation, this is not for you.


Slaughterhouse-Five is a perfect way into this classic novel for folks who struggled with the way Vonnegut writes and it is an excellent love letter for those of us who think Vonnegut is a genius. Some novels are unfilmable and while people have tried with this book, those attempts failed. The best thing about comics and graphic novels is that they can do thing cinematically with much, much lower budget and without worry of the special effects. North and Monteys have something special here and you should read it.


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