The Man Who Shot Chris Kyle: An American Legend (Review)

Mar 22, 2022

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Chris Kyle American Sniper Cover

There are many pieces of military equipment and attire. None more important than the boots, way down in the dirt. Dry feet, the ability to walk and advance or retreat when ordered play a key component in soldier readiness. And they certainly matter when you are headed into rough or muddy terrain. That is how I feel about the landscape I traveled while reading Titan Comics’ graphic novel, The Man Who Shot Chris Kyle: An American Legend. C’mon boots…

The Man Who Shot Chris Kyle: An American Legend

Titan Comics

Writer: Fabien Nury
Artist: Bruno
Colorist: Laurence Croix

Available: March 22, 2022

The press releases for this title make it clear that this is a graphic novel created from the movie, American Sniper. The movie is an adaptation of the memoir, American Sniper: The Autobiography of The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. That’s a lot of ways to present the same story. I can only suspect they fear the tale hasn’t reached its whole target audience yet. Or could it be more to the story since the title suggests it deals with the suspect, not the victim?

The first thing that struck me about this novel was its presentation format. I’ve read a bunch of different styles of comics and honestly, this commercial-style is possibly my least favorite. I apologize if there is another term for it but I can explain what I mean. Every panel feels like a presentation, an advertisement. Less a movie, or even attempt to imitate a motion picture, and instead of acting like an illustrated journal. The scenes don’t paint themselves, it’s up to the text to explain them. If I was reading about the man who shot Chris Kyle then are these evidence photographs, re-enactments, and notes, I wondered?

The style of the artwork from Bruno was something I remember from a Bazooka Joe gum comic strip, or even a Duluth Trading commercial. This delivery left me conflicted since they both use it for comedy and this story is anything but.

A Tragic Tale

Fabien Nury breaks the book into three sections plus an epilogue. Each section finds its way back to the discussion of the defendant. However, the portions between them are quite long and are where my interest waned. The opportunity to read this graphic was my best chance to finally get this story. Despite my enjoyment of both Mr. Cooper and Mr.”Right Hand Clyde”, I have not watched the film and made no plans to. I read about the film in an issue of People magazine, which included Bradley Cooper’s interview, and that was where my interest in the story ended.

The facts, which the novel presents from various angles and perspectives, were clear in the article I read. What this book does is drag out details about both the defendant and the Kyle’s (Taya, Chris’ late wife is featured prominently in this book). Taya Kyle, illustrated at times breaking the wall with the reader, admits at times things were not pretty. However, the harshest light is on the defendant, even though it is often from others’ vantage and view of him. The story is complicated because each situation the Kyle’s experience is documented, even their legal troubles with Ventura or Taya’s shooting win after Chris’s death. What did the defendant have to do with that?

I have until this point not mentioned the defendant by name, partially out of respect to those lost. However, I would now like to mention what I now know about inmate Eddie Ray Routh after reading this book. He served in the military, and came back worse for the wear, the why’s aren’t mine to know. He smoked weed and that made him a loser, the pills and alcohol well everybody does those right? Two men are now dead because of his actions. This book’s title suggests it’s about the man who shot them, but this is all about Chris Kyle, the American Sniper. Stony the road we trod.

Score: 4.6

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