Category: Graphic Novel

Upgrade Soul
September 18th, 2018 by diane92345

Upgrade Soul is a thought-provoking new graphic novel about the nature of humanity and the dangers of technology.

Hank and Molly are rich and elderly.  They decide to do an experimental medical treatment that promises to make them young and healthy again.  Problems occur.  Ethical questions arise. What does it mean to be human?  Is it the mind or the body that defines humanity? What is the impact of the changes brought on by aging? The unexpected turns of the plot are the best part of Upgrade Soul. To avoid spoilers, I won’t say more.

Wow, I adored this philosophical graphic novel!  It makes the reader think about many profound issues that resonate long after the novel is finished. It also won a Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. Upgrade Soul is highly recommended. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Lion Forge, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Oblivion Song Vol 1
September 13th, 2018 by diane92345

Oblivion Song Vol 1 is a great sci-fi horror comic by the creator of The Walking Dead.

Oblivion was created ten years prior when Philadelphia was overrun by huge alien beasts from an alternate dimension. Unfortunately, the beasts like the taste of human flesh. 20,000 are missing and presumed dead.

Nathan works in a poorly funded facility that goes to Oblivion to rescue any remaining humans. When he catches two humans and teleports them back to Earth’s dimension, they tell him of 100 humans surviving in the countryside in Oblivion. Nathan is determined to help them despite government apathy, religious zealotry and aging equipment opposing him at every turn.

The plot, setting and world-building are terrific in Oblivion Songs Vol 1. Because this is only the first volume, the characters are rather thin but I’m sure they will be fleshed out in subsequent volumes. The highly saturated colors and use of stark shadows in some scenes contributes much to the atmosphere.

Is this the next Walking Dead? It’s too early to tell. However, it is good in its own right and definitely worth a read. 4 stars!

Thanks to Image Comics and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

Batman Catwoman The Wedding Album
September 11th, 2018 by diane92345

If art is why you love comics, Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album is a must have!

Including only three stories, this comic is shorter than most compilations. It contains the Engagement, the Dress and the Big Day. It also adds a Wedding cover variant gallery, a sketchbook and a look at the script for the Dress, which includes the original comics that make up the flashback scenes from 1940 until 2003. Catwoman’s face and figure change dramatically beginning with a Jane Russell lookalike.

For the wedding, Batman and Catwoman decide to invite only one witness each. However, DC has invited 31 guest artists to tell the wedding story. It’s rare to see such divergent styles in one comic. It is fascinating to see how each artist highlights different aspects of the characters.

Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album is highly recommended for its artwork and flashbacks. The plot and bang up action are not the focus here. For that, read Batman: Preludes to the Wedding. But for art fans or aspiring comic artists, this is a great choice. 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Batman: Preludes to the Wedding
September 11th, 2018 by diane92345

Batman: Preludes to the Wedding includes six stories providing background to the events that occur in Batman and Catwoman: The Wedding Album.

The first and last story describe how the Joker receives his wedding invitation. The last also includes Harley Quinn. From This Day Forward includes a scene of Damien Wayne getting his wedding suit tailored where he describes his history to his soon-to-be stepmom, Catwoman. Later after returning from her bachelorette party, Catwoman and Damien have a serious talk. For Richer or Poorer makes the reader feel a part of Batman’s, anything but tranquil, bachelor party. For Better or Worse tells the Riddler’s tale. In Sickness and In Health, Red Hood crosses paths with an Anarky terrorist plot while watching over Catwoman’s bachelorette party.

This is a great entry point for those either just entering the DC multiverse or returning after a long absence. Most tales include a short history of the main character. Even for long-time fans, Batman: Preludes to the Wedding builds excitement for the wedding itself and foreshadows some complications. It is a worthwhile companion purchase.

I loved these simple short stories that were reminiscent of the comic books of my youth. 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Sheets
August 30th, 2018 by diane92345

Sheets is a heartwarming graphic novel about the unusual friendship between a grieving girl and a lonely ghost boy.

Marjorie’s mother is dead and her father is so depressed that he barely leaves his bedroom to eat. The family’s laundry is run before and after school by Marjorie. The mysterious Nigel is trying to convince Marjorie to give up the laundry’s lease so he can open a yoga studio and spa.

In the meantime, Wendell lives in Ghost Town. At 11, he is having trouble making friends. He decides to ride a train out of town and ends up in Marjorie’s town. When they meet, their adventures begin.

Sheets is perfect for young and middle school readers. The words are scarce and the pretty pastel pictures tell much of the story. The moral is nice and doesn’t seem forced. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Lion Forge, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Children, Graphic Novel, New Books, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: , ,

Batman and the Signal
August 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Batman and the Signal was a little too focused on the Signal’s feelings and history to feel like a fully fleshed out plot.

Duke Thomas, formerly a Robin, is now the Signal, a daytime crimefighter in Gotham. In addition, Duke is one of the increasingly common metahumans, those whose superpowers are in their genes set off by a triggering event.

The brighter colors and clearer pictures are a nice change that emphasizes that Batman and the Signal is set in the daylight. Duke as the Signal has self doubts and confusion about his power and role as a Gotham protector. However, the underlying mystery of what or who is activating the metahumans is the star here.

By the end, I was exhausted by the sheer volume of teenage angst. It felt like I was reading a young adult book. While the art was beautiful, the story just didn’t pop for me. 3 stars.

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles
August 28th, 2018 by diane92345

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is a clever reinvention of an iconic 1960s cartoon character.

Snagglepuss was originally a pink swishy wannabe actor and actual mountain lion in the Yogi the Bear cartoons beginning in 1959. This comic, set in 1953, casts Snagglepuss as a successful playwright caught up in the McCarthy Congressional hearings looking for communist sympathizers within the show business community.

I wasn’t expecting such a serious comic based on such a silly character from my childhood. However, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles won me over. Even though this is set during the 1950s, it brings with it the more accepting mindset of 2018. Snagglepuss is married to Lila Lion, who both has a beard and is a beard for Snagglepuss’ gay lifestyle with boyfriend Pablo. Pablo escaped from Baptiste’s Cuba after his friend is murdered by government thugs for being openly homosexual. Many famous icons from the 1950s appear: Dorothy Parker, Marilyn Monroe, Lillian Hellman, Joe Dimaggio, Clint Eastwood and Arthur Miller. Huckleberry Hound is also out of the closet and a novelist. Even the iconic Stonewall club is featured.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is not a comic for everyone. It is a deep dive into mid-century politics from a modern viewpoint. I would recommend it to readers of historical fiction and fans of thoughtful movies like Hidden Figures and the Imitation Game. Since I embrace both of those categories, 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, DC Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, New Books Tagged with: ,

Silent Invasion
August 27th, 2018 by diane92345

In 1952 rural America, private eye Dick Mallet sees a strange light in the sky while looking for a missing person, Fanny Hobbs. The police find his car crashed into a pole and Dick nowhere to be found. Matt Sinkage, a reporter with a personal interest in UFOs, investigates Dick’s disappearance. Matt also thinks his neighbor, Mr. Kalashnikov, is a Russian spy. Silent Invasion 28is set in the fifties after all.

Written in 1986-87, the Silent Invasion’s plot seems dated with an obvious 80s paranoid perspective. I really tried to like the story. Unfortunately, I found it boring and slow-moving. Usually the artwork will keep me reading but I didn’t like that much either. I agree with the introduction that it takes a bit of time to get use to the “big foot” black and white art. I also didn’t connect with any of the characters. My issues may be related to just reading the fantastic Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, which is set in the same period. I would suggest reading that not this unless you’re in the mood for some 80s nostalgia. 2 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, papercutz.com, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,

Jazz Maynard Vol 2
August 18th, 2018 by diane92345

With excellent artwork and a fast-moving plot, Jazz Maynard Vol 2 continues the Iceland Trilogy. My review of the previous volume is here.

Judas, Jazz’ former mob boss, is in jail. Caligula of a rival criminal organization is trying to take over his illegal operation by force.

Jazz is approached by Lord Archer to steal back the Golden Eye, an ancient prosthetic eye supposedly having prophetic powers. To locate the eye, Jazz and Teo go to Iceland.

Setting the story mainly in Iceland is a refreshing change from Spain. The action is non-stop. Plus I think having Vikings as the villains is fantastic.

My favorite part of the whole series so far is the use of monochromatic colors for each panel. Some pages are different shades of green, others are purple or red. The most impact is when different character’s actions are shown on the same page using different color palettes. It is a very effective use of color to explain location.

Ultimately, Jazz Maynard Vol 2 is a crime story. The plot and especially the artwork are very effective at telling the story. 4 stars! I can’t wait for the final volume to come out.

Thanks to Lion Forge and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Cupcake & Astronaut
August 14th, 2018 by diane92345

As if Quentin Tarantino’s mind and a children’s picture book were accidental merged during teleportation to another universe!

Cupcake & Astronaut is a weird dive into the mind of famed comic artist, Question No. 6. (       ) (that’s her name-the empty parenthesis, not this one) has one too many arms and one too few eyes to be an astronaut until she realizes that her love of shotguns could force the Space Center to build a special spacesuit just for her. Her adventures in space, with her beloved cupcakes, ensue. [cue Kill Bill soundtrack]

The artwork here is, of course, the star. It’s affordable pop art that would be excellent framed. It is similar to the colorful style of Roy Lichtenstein. The plot is scattershot. Trying to guess its direction, or even its purpose, is difficult. It might be a story celebrating diversity. I can’t even tell its genre. Science fiction? Fantasy? Women’s fiction? Children’s picture book (even though it says it is for grade 11 and up)? Who knows? But I like its delicious difference from any other book ( not just graphic novel) out there. 4 stars!

Nerd alert! 

The author’s name refers to the most difficult question given to high school mathletes. If you’re interested, search for “Question 6 1988 Australian math olympics”.

End nerd (of which I am one of course) alert!

Thanks to the publisher, Alternative Comics, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

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Goldilocks and the Infinite Bears
August 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Goldilocks and the Infinite Bears contains humorous short comics about pop culture.

As fractured fairy tales did in the 1960s, this collection holds nothing sacred in its quest for laughter. In the time of online dating, how long would it take the frog prince to find someone to give him a kiss? Why is it a bad idea to be the angel of death’s biggest fan? Everyone knows the Romans had a god for everything. But a god of eye crust? Of atheism? What would happen if the hungry caterpillar was really famished?

This is a fun parody of fairy tales, religion, movies, plays, children’s stories and video games. It has some swear words making it unsuitable for children. Some of the references to religion might offend. However, the bottom line is it’s funny. Like haha—why didn’t I think of that—funny so 4 stars!

Thanks to Lion Forge and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Undead Messiah 1
August 7th, 2018 by diane92345

A pregnant Brazilian lands in an airport in Switzerland. She calls the police because an assassin is hunting her. When the police fail to stop the killer, a young girl appears saying she just wants the lady’s fetus. So begins Undead Messiah 1, an exciting thriller wrapped within a horror manga.

Who hasn’t been entranced by a video game, movie or book and after it’s over you still feel like it has leached into your real life? Tim loves ZAC, a zombie video game, and the Walking Dead television show. He begins to see zombie threats everywhere. However, just because he’s paranoid, doesn’t mean there aren’t zombies running amok.

I loved the innovative plot. Unfortunately, I can’t describe my favorite part since it will spoil the surprise. As a huge fan of the Walking Dead comics, I thought this book would be perfect for me. And it was. Nerdy gamer thinks he can kill real zombies until he meets one. If only there was a wireless controller for real life (heavy sigh…). The art, especially the chapter titles, perfectly set the mood and clearly illustrated the plot.

Undead Messiah 1 has elements of horror, mystery, fantasy, post-apocalyptic thriller and even romance. I can’t wait for the second volume, which comes out November 6, 2018. It is highly recommended for all manga fans looking for something different. 4 stars!

Thanks to ToykoPop and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Romance Tagged with: ,

God Complex: Dogma
July 24th, 2018 by diane92345

Great world building and artwork makes the God Complex: Dogma a great choice for sci-fi fans!

Seneca is a digital forensic police officer in the future. His world is ruled by Greek gods called the Rulers. There is one holdout, the Church of the Trinity, which believes in just one god. When mysterious deaths start occurring, Seneca is offered a job by the Rulers to hunt the one god within the city’s power grid called the stream. Seneca also hears a voice in his head questioning his motives and actions. The coup, a rebel group fighting the Rulers, attempts to turn Seneca against the Rulers.

The artwork within God Complex: Dogma is beautiful especially the Matrix’esque depiction of the Fates. The plot takes a bit of time to get into due to its complexity. However, the ideas resonate long after the conclusion is reached. This graphic novel is recommended for sci-fi fans of Tron, Blade Runner and the Matrix. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Image Comics, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

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Letter 44 Vol 1
July 16th, 2018 by diane92345

Captivating could-be-happening-now science-fiction plot with appealing artwork.

There is a real tradition of former presidents leaving a personal note for the new president. In Letter 44 Vol 1, the note says aliens are building a mysterious object in our solar system. No one except for a few top defense staff have been told to avoid mass panic. The note continues that the seemingly senseless middle east wars were started just to keep our soldiers in tip-top condition and to inflate the defense budget. Because of a mysterious transmission obstruction, our cameras and telescopes can’t see what is being built. A ship is hastily constructed in secret and sent with 9 military/scientists to investigate. The ship is scheduled to arrive in a few days after more than 3 years in flight.

Will the new President reveal the secret to the American people? To the other national leaders? What will the ship’s crew discover when they reach the alien object? What is its purpose?

The premise and art are great. The plot has several twists and turns. It’s hard to judge who is good and who is evil. If you like your science fiction to be thought-provoking, you can’t go wrong with Letter 44 Vol 1. Plus it’s available for free on Comixology Unlimited and Prime Reading at the time of this review. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Oni Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

Infinity 8 Vol 1
July 5th, 2018 by diane92345

If Doctor Who and Bridget Jones had a baby, it would result in Infinity 8 Vol 1.

Agent Yoko Keren is a security officer on a multispecies spaceship heading for Andromeda. She also wants a child. She is fine with a non-human daddy but checks their genetic history first. So far, all the candidates have poor family histories from asthma to alcoholism. When the ship finds a mysterious floating necropolis, Agent Keren investigates. An alien electrician pledges his love. A hundred necro-eaters try to kill her while she attempts to stop their plot to blow up the ship.

This comic has it all. Star Wars bar-like aliens, romance, fierce battles, fan service and humor. It is highly recommended for female sci-fi fans and admirers of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Lion Forge, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

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Babyteeth Vol 2
June 25th, 2018 by diane92345

Babyteeth Vol 2 begins with a nice summary of Vol 1. While that is nice for readers beginning here, it spoils the surprises in Vol 1 so I would recommend reading them in order. Also, if you want to read Vol 1 first, please don’t read the rest of this review since it contains SPOILERS for that volume.

I loved Vol 1 of this series. As I stated in my 5 star review of Vol 1, I couldn’t wait for volume 2 and grabbed it off NetGalley as soon as it appeared.

This story begins immediately after the first with Heather, Sadie and baby  Clark travelling on a commercial airplane flown by the girls’ dad. The group is accompanied by the wizard Dancy and headed for the Maine castle built for Clark by the dark cultish group, the Way. In the meantime, the quasi-governmental group, the Silhouette, is trying once again to kill them. Both groups believe that Clark is the antichrist, born to usher in the end times. For the Way that is good news but for the Silhouette it is not. Are both groups insane? Well, little Clark does only drink blood and when he cries people bleed and sometimes disappear.

While still a good horror story, this volume doesn’t have the big ‘Clark is who?’ surprise element of Vol 1. There are a few smaller twists in the plot to keep it interesting. An adorable “fire-breathing murder raccoon” and Sadie’s backstory are intriguing. The relative of a past adversary also appears.

Babyteeth Vol 2 collects issues #6-10. Single issues continue to be published so I can’t wait for Vol 3. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Aftershock Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror Tagged with: ,