Category: Graphic Novel

Pumpkinhead
October 20th, 2018 by diane92345

Just in time for Halloween, Pumpkinhead appears.

“For each of man’s evils, a special demon exists.”

Pumpkinhead is the demon of vengeance.

When two young children are killed in a hit and run, their hillbilly parents ask a local witch for help. She summons Pumpkinhead to kill the perpetrator and those who shelter him. The only way to stop Pumpkinhead is to kill him. The perp calls on the witch’s sisters to summon the demon’s five siblings: Sloth, Envy, Pride, Lust, and Greed. Soon Pumpkinhead is the least of the local’s problems.

Pumpkinhead is a southern gothic horror comic that is complete within this one volume. The plot and art were good—not great. It was easy to see the ending from the beginning. I liked the backup story’s plot better.

Pumpkinhead is a good choice for fans of the movie but not many others. I prefer Cullen Bunn’s original stories much more. 3 stars.

Thanks to Dynamite Entertainment and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy.

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

Snoopy: Boogie Down
October 19th, 2018 by diane92345

Snoopy: Boogie Down is a collection of veteran Peanuts strips marketed to the middle grades.

It’s not just Snoopy. All the gang is here: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, Peppermint Patty and even Snoopy’s brother Spike at the way from Needles. The comics were selected to appeal to the middle grades by emphasizing sports, school, summer camp and pets. Older adults may have to explain some of the celebrity references like Farrah Fawcett and even what the word “Boogie” means. However, even older readers will enjoy this trip down Memory Lane.

Snoopy: Boogie Down is recommended for anyone looking for a humorous reflection on life’s ironies. 4 stars!

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy.

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

Analog Volume 1
October 8th, 2018 by diane92345

Melding hard-boiled noir with a post-Facebook breach world is a brilliant idea. When nothing is private, the world’s only choice is to turn to Analog Volume 1.

In 2023, Jack is a Ledger Man, a paper jockey hired to move confidential papers from place to place. He also literally broke the Internet. Now people have no privacy at all. Many welcome the all access. For those that don’t, Jack is hired.

The government wants to break up Jack’s monopoly on confidentiality. “Aunt Sam” uses Jack’s loved ones to coerce him to breach his clients’ documents. An old enemy returns forcing Jack to retreat. Jack is in hiding but not for long…

Analog Volume 1 has excellent worldbuilding. The art is suitably dark. I just wish that the characters were more fleshed out. I’m unclear about the back stories and underlying motivations of all three main characters: Jack, his father and Oona, Jack’s girlfriend. I also expected more sarcastic humor from the author of Deadpool. Hopefully, future volumes will fulfill my wishes. I will definitely pick up the next one because the setting is incredible.

Putting noir characters in a future setting has been done before. Fans of those tales like Blade Runner and Looper will enjoy this dark look into the future. 3.5 stars.

Thanks to Image Comics and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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

Book of Onions
October 8th, 2018 by diane92345

Warning: The Book of Onions contains no onions at all. Instead it contains darkly humorous single page cartoons about life.

Have you ever wondered how Ronald McDonald got his job? Or whether kitchen matches are happy to be chosen for important jobs? Even if you have never had any curiosity whatsoever, I guarantee you will enjoy this madcap dive into the bleakness of life. I doubt you will soon forget the panda face of war. If war turns men into animals, you really do not want to know what it turns the animals into.

Laugh-out-loud moments make this the perfect waiting room read. Some of the themes are rather dark so the Book of Onions is not for children. However, for everyone else it is great. 4 stars!

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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

Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2
October 3rd, 2018 by diane92345

Kamo and Shokola are once again helping demon Crimson in Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2.

Kamo makes a deal with demon Crimson. To be permanently cured of his deadly heart condition, he must capture twelve spirits to allow Crimson to become human again. In volume 1 (reviewed here), Kamo captures four. In this volume, Shokola leads a seance with Kamo that goes horribly wrong.

Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2 relies on strong character development of both Crimson and Shokola. The seance aftermath sends shock waves through Shokola’s family. Kamo ups his demon fighting technique. Some new inventive spirits are found. There is a shocking twist at the end that should not be missed. 4 stars!

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

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

The Flash Vol 7: Perfect Storm
October 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

The Flash Vol 7: Perfect Storm shows the Flash Family at its best—battling villains together.

Barry Allen is the Flash. His arch nemesis, Grodd, has built a giant lightning rod to catch the speed force in the hopes of saving his own life. The lightning rod slows time throughout Central City. Barry isn’t strong enough to combat Grodd, Multiplex and Negative Flash alone so he gets some from help from Wally, Kid Flash and Avery.

I admit that I haven’t read a Flash story since Barry died in the 1980s. He was resurrected in 2008 in Final Conflict. This was followed by six issues of The Flash: Rebirth. Despite three reboots including title changes and renumberings, Barry has been continuing his Flash story since 2010. The Flash Vol 7: Perfect Storm collects The Flash Vol 5 #39-45 from the DC Rebirth.

The Flash Vol 7: Perfect Storm explains enough of the Flash Family’s back stories to allow it to be read as a stand-alone. The plot involves the fear of losing self by trusting others. It has a nice message that power isn’t always everything. It’s a good lesson for younger comics fans. The artwork is stellar and pops with bright colors. 4 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: ,

Infidel
October 1st, 2018 by diane92345

Infidel is a modern-day haunted house story set in a bomb-ravaged New York City pre-war apartment.

Aisha is Muslim. She is engaged to non-muslim Tom. Tom has a daughter named Kris and a mother named Leslie. When they all move into Leslie’s apartment after it is partially blown up by a white supremacist resident, Tom thinks his mother is racist and wants to leave. Aisha convinces him to stay despite her constant nightmares about the dead bomber. As the ghost starts to appear in her waking life, Aisha turns to the neighbors for help. One, a writer, believes another resident in the blast was heavily into the occult.

Infidel is a creepy little horror tale reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby, the Legend of Hell House—both old school 1960/1970s movies—and Get Out. The addition of race politics both modernizes the tale and ups the terror substantially. No wonder this tale was optioned for a movie after only two episodes were released. The scariest part is the 1 on the front cover. Will the building return in future outings? 5 stars!

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

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

Damage Vol 1: Out of Control
September 26th, 2018 by diane92345

Private First Class Ethan Avery is enlisted to become a one-man army in Damage Vol 1: Out of Control, part of the New Age of Heroes series.

Ethan is genetically modified by the army to have super strength and defense along with being the size of a three-story building. When transformed, he is called Damage. He can only transform for one hour each day before he must rest. On his first mission to destroy the Vlatvian facists threatening the US with nuclear war, he is a great success. When he goes rogue, the Suicide Squad volunteers to help defuse him with unplanned results. Eventually, Wonder Woman is also called in to help.

The plot reminds me of a famous comic movie franchise only their man-into-monster has retractible claws. Even though the plot wasn’t too original, the artwork was. It’s awesome! It uses real shadowing—not the usual cross-hatching—and accurate light sources. The feeling is almost photorealistic except for the extraordinary images being portrayed. The coloring is also true to life rather than the usual bright or dusky color palette.

Damage Vol 1: Out of Control is perfect for comic art fans. The art gets 5 stars but the plot only 3 for a net score of 4 stars! (Sorry my accounting alter ego might be showing a bit here.)

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

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

Justice League: No Justice
September 25th, 2018 by diane92345

Justice League: No Justice shows the impact of the dark multiverse is continuing.

After the wall was opened up between the multiverse and the dark multiverse in Dark Nights: Metal, a new evil is unleashed upon the galaxy. The four Omega Titans each represent one of the fundamental energies of sentient life: entropy, wisdom, wonder and mystery. When Wisdom attacks Brainiac’s home planet, Brainiac brings together all the galaxy’s heroes, villains and monsters to fight together using his sophisticated plan. Brainiac is unable to explain his plan fully when tragedy strikes him—leaving the new team forced to fight the Omega Titans on their own.

It’s great to see all the gang working together against a common enemy. Also, the plot forces entities that usually rely on their brawn to start using their brain. The art is beautiful as usual but the plot is the star here. Since I love a good plot, 5 stars! Highly recommended for all superhero comic fans. I can’t wait for the next episode.

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

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

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.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , , ,

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, 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 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 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, 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.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

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 Tagged with: ,