Review: Operation Ajax
As a rule, I don’t read graphic novels. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the great talent that goes into bringing a story to life so visually. I just don’t seem to see that many graphic novels with stories that capture my interest.
Operation Ajax did, covering a part of history I know still has an impact today but which I didn’t know a huge deal about. The graphic novel looks into a CIA plot to stage a coup in Iran, in order to control the price and supply of oil. This is a warts and all portrayal of the US and UK involvement in a plot that put lives and livelihoods at risk for the sake of greed and lust for power. And it’s brilliantly portrayed through the pages of Operation Ajax.
Having enjoyed the graphic novel in ebook form via Netgalley, I wanted to dig deeper. I’d noticed that there was an app – receiving great reviews and fantastic praise – and decided to go beyond the book and access the app as well. I’m so glad I did. The graphic novel alone is excellent but once you throw in the interactive elements of the app and the wealth of detail, it really brings this story to life.
Operation Ajax has certainly made me think twice about graphic novels. This approach – bringing history to life through visual and interactive mediums – has a huge role to play in the future of teaching and learning about our past. Operation Ajax is a perfect example of how our changing technology can be used to make our past more accessible and interesting, something that’s vital if we’re going to continue to learn important lessons. This book shows that something can be both educational and entertaining, handling a brutal subject with brutal honesty, but also with the sensitivity to avoid sensationalism. I’d love to see similar approaches to other historical or political events in future graphic novels from Verso or other publishers.