Category: Graphic Novel

The Flash Vol 8: Flash War
December 18th, 2018 by diane92345

The Flash Vol 8: Flash War describes the human feelings driving some of the Flash Family to despair.

The holiday season is when you get together with your family and remember those who were taken too soon. The Flash Family is no different. Wally has the holiday blues and is missing his family especially his twin children, Jai and Irey. Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, exploits Wally’s feeling to his own ends. Like most, or at least my, family gatherings, the relatives begin to squabble. However, if you’re a superhero, that leads to a Flash War.

There isn’t much action in The Flash Vol 8: Flash War. It is solely about feelings and emotions. While I like the change of pace, I missed an obvious villain like Gorilla Grodd. However, the art is as bright and clear as always. This volume does set up some interesting things for the next volume, Heroes in Crisis. 4 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Watersnakes
November 21st, 2018 by diane92345

Watersnakes is a modern fairy tale that is highly recommended.

An eerie fable about a ghost who carries the soul of an ancient king, and whose teeth are the king’s warriors. She kisses a living girl and vomits an octopus, who begs to be taken to the sea.

Best for fans of the surreal like Coraline. The mesmerizing story lingers like a remembered dream long after the last page is read. The dreamlike art perfectly matches the ethereal plot. 4 stars!

Thanks to Lion Forge and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: ,

Outpost Zero Vol 1
November 13th, 2018 by diane92345

If you are a young adult and are not adopted, you may enjoy Outpost Zero Vol 1, a space opera set in the far future.

Sometime in the future, Denis and his wife, Jann, are on the Discovery Team, who look for life on their alien planet. Their 14-year-old daughter, Alea, wants desperately to join them so she secures a spot as an intern for the Team. Alea’s boyfriend, Steven, believes the Discovery Team is too dangerous but Alea isn’t swayed.

The family lives in the Outpost, an artificially created biome that allows humans to live in a large domed city on an alien planet. When Denis and Jann are outside the biome, they see a fast approaching weather cell that may spell doom for the biome and the humans that live inside.

Outpost Zero Vol 1 has a good plot for young adult readers. There is a mystery but I don’t want to give any spoilers. The artwork is fine. The color palette of dusty blues and greens fits the mood inside a biome. However, I disliked this quote by Alea regarding the head of the biome who took in her son after his parents were killed, “What I mean is, do you think the Chief would do anything for Sam? Even though he isn’t really hers?” Jann’s response is even more insensitive to adoptive families, “Well, I think—she cares about Sam, wants him to succeed. Loves him like her own son. But when a child’s yours from the start—when they come from you…there’s a bond you can’t get any other way. It’s just the way it is.” This discussion wasn’t necessary to the plot and will hurt people’s feelings. I can’t recommend this book. 2 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, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with:

United States of Murder Inc Vol 1
November 1st, 2018 by diane92345

With mob rats, mob war and President Kennedy’s killer, the United States of Murder Inc Vol 1 starts a new mafia graphic novel series off strong.

Valentine becomes a made man in the mafia like his father and grandfather before him. With his cousin Dino, he is sent to D.C. to deliver a package to a Senator. Valentine meets a beautiful redhead, Jagger Rose, on the train. She says she was a childhood friend of his sister. She states that the mob has sent her to keep an eye on him during his first task, but she is actually a mob hitman sent to protect him. After delivering the package, the Senator’s building explodes, killing Dino. Valentino’s mob bosses swear it wasn’t his case that detonated.

Valentine goes home to his mother. She tells him his great-grandfather shot Kennedy for the mob. When his mother tells him she birthed him to be a mob spy for her bosses in the FBI, Valentino is understandably upset.

Switching between present day and mid-20th century, the story has plenty of plot. The use of sepia tones in the flashbacks makes it easy to tell what time period is being described. The plot is reminiscent of The Godfather series. The mob families are fighting. The CIA is trying to get revenge on the senator’s behalf. Valentine and Jagger are ultimately alone and fighting for their lives.

While the United States of Murder Inc Vol 1 has an interesting story, it isn’t very unique. I hope that it will be developed more in future volumes. If you like mobster stories, this is a good read. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Jinxworld, and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Scarlet Book One
October 31st, 2018 by diane92345

Scarlet is convinced the world is broken in Scarlet Book One.

Scarlet and her boyfriend, Gabriel, are hassled by bad cop Gary Dunes. When he feels up Scarlet, Gabriel punches him. When Gabriel is shot by Dunes and framed as a drug kingpin, Scarlet vows revenge. But revenge doesn’t satisfy Scarlet. She starts a revolution to overthrow the corrupt leaders of the world.

The use of a female first-person narrative is innovative. But breaking through the fourth wall to make the reader her co-conspirator is genuinely brilliant. Plus the artwork is gritty and gorgeous. There is nothing here to dislike. Though originally created and published eight years ago, the plot seems entirely of the moment in the wave of the Trump and Kavanaugh protests.

Scarlet Book One collects the first five issues. With the recent collaboration between DC Comics and writer Bendis, new issues of Scarlet are being released. This book is a quick way to see Scarlet’s back story. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Jinxworld, and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with:

The Flash: Starting Line
October 30th, 2018 by diane92345

The Flash: Starting Line is a great value. It includes comics 0-12 plus the first annual for less than $25 on paper and even less digitally.

These episodes of The Flash hold up well. The drawing is bright with beautiful coloring. The plots are great.

I’ve never read some of the early stories. It was nice to read Barry’s backstory. The collection contains a great explanation of how he can move through solid objects and how he discovered that skill. Most of the best enemies are here.

The Flash: Starting Line is a great way to bring new readers quickly up to speed. It also is excellent to fill in blank spots for existing fans that may not have read the original issues. 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously
October 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Usually graphic memoirs are either funny or have good art but not both. Luckily, Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously has both laugh-out-loud (but embarrassingly familiar) slices of life and clearly beautiful artwork.

What if your memory foam pillow starts whispering about the worst events of your life? Your DNA results come back 37% chicken nuggets? You have just discovered the 100% most efficient and effective method for clean dishes (that every 20-year-old has found before you)? Hint: it involves a large trash can and a quick visit to Amazon.

As a nerd from birth, I resemble many of the life moments captured here. Why didn’t I see the humor in them at the time? Then create a web series and eventually write a book about them? Ahhh, the familar feelings of envy and regret…

Seriously, these comics are both true and funny! Highly recommended to anyone with a funny bone and/or a life (see Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously is inspiring me to be funny—at least I hope so—okay maybe I’m overthinking this—it must also be inspiring me to live anxiously—life gives and it takes away) 5 stars!

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

Posted in Graphic Novel, Humor Tagged with: ,

Hellicious TP Vol 1
October 26th, 2018 by diane92345

Hell is for Children in Hellicious TP Vol 1.

Cherry is seven and mischievous. Her grandfather is Satan, literally. Cherry lives in Hell with her mom, Sin, the chief torturer. And she is bored, really bored. She is also the #1 fan of the famous death metal rocker Briggy Bones (think Ozzy in his bat eating days). After getting permission from her reluctant mom and permissive grandfather, Briggy becomes Cherry’s very first reaping.

The plot is intriguing. The art is colorful and innovative. Cherry is cute as a bug, if the bug is a brown recluse spider. A demon who looks suspiciously like our President appears as the other chief torturer set in a fake game show. The fake advertisements for the publisher are true throwbacks to the 70s. I think middle school kids and adults who have a wry sense of humor would enjoy Hellicious TP Vol 1. The next volume comes out in March and I can’t wait for Cherry and Briggy’s next adventure. 3.5 stars.

Thanks to Starburns Industries Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Humor Tagged with:

Batman and the Justice League Vol 1
October 23rd, 2018 by diane92345

Batman and the Justice League Vol 1 has Batman, Superman, the Joker and Lex Luthor set in a Japanese manga-style plot.

A young Japanese man, Rui, goes to Gotham City to find his missing parents. His cab driver, in a VW bug (?), warns him of the city’s high crime rate and drops him off at the edge of the city. When beset with corrupt police, Rui uses his ninja-like skills to defend himself but refuses to kill. Batman rescues him. Commissioner Gordon tells Rui to leave town but he refuses. Run-ins with DC heroes and villains ensue.

Merging my two favorite graphic novel styles—manga and comics—was great fun! It took me a minute to realize that the book reads front to back (like comics) but each page reads right to left (like manga). In addition, the plot was altered slightly because it was originally written for a Japanese audience. The Joker’s new sidekick is a Japanese goddess/demon called Akurou. Using a Japanese hero, Rui, is brilliant. The fish out of water outsider viewpoint works well to emphasize new points of the Batman and Justice League’s story. The artwork also merges manga-style for Rui but only manga-style hair for the American characters though they all look much younger than they are usually portrayed in the comics.

The merging of the two styles makes Batman and the Justice League Vol 1 a great choice for both manga and comics readers. I loved it! 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,

Gideon Falls Vol 1
October 21st, 2018 by diane92345

Ready for a paranormal thriller thick with an ominous atmosphere? Don’t miss Gideon Falls Vol 1.

Father Fred is given a new flock and church in Gideon Falls. The prior priest, Father Tom, had died mysteriously. After dreaming of being visited by Father Tom, Father Fred chases him outside into a cornfield. He sees an ominous black barn in the distance. However, stumbling over a church body forces him to stop his search and call the police.

In a parallel storyline, Norton has recently been released from a mental institution. He is convinced that the trash he collects is trying to tell him something. When he has a vision of a black barn harboring evil, he also sees a mysterious stranger poised to help him conquer the evil within.

I expected a horror comic but was pleasantly surprised that Gideon Falls Vol 1 is actually a mystery with paranormal elements. As Father Fred and Norton work to decipher their visions, the feeling of dread increases. Who or what is hiding inside the black barn? The most disturbing part? The Vol 1 in the title implies that I may have to wait to discover the barn’s secrets.

Gideon Falls Vol 1 is highly recommended for fans of Stephen King and Stranger Things. It has the same creepy things-aren’t-what-they-appear vibe. Both narrators are unreliable, which is always fun. The art matches the atmosphere perfectly. Even the lettering is done in an ethereal way to emphasize the frailty of humans. Great art and the terrific plot makes this a 4 star read!

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

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

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.

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