His lines are still strong, his figures still possessed of an elegant, deft humanity. Will Eisner, acknowledged father of the graphic novel, still had it when, just before his Jan. 3 death at age 87, he finished The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The story is true: In the late 19th century, scheming Russian politicians persuaded an ineffectual czar to put down a rebellion by blaming the uprising on Jewish dissidents. Then, to fan the flames of hate, they got a forger to hatch the Protocols, an allegedly ancient document laying out a Jewish plot for world domination. Since then, the Protocols have been used by everyone from the Third Reich to the Klan to Islamic fundamentalists to justify their own particular brand of anti-Semitism. While The Plot is impeccably researched and certainly heartfelt, Eisner neglects to make his characters more than mere orators. As a result, Eisner’s swan song reads like a beautifully illustrated textbook.