Category: Graphic Novel

Lady Mechanika Vol 5
May 20th, 2019 by diane92345

Absolutely beautiful artwork and an intriguing plot enliven Lady Mechanika Vol 5.

Lady Mechanika is again trying to discover who mechanized her when she is interrupted by a new issue. Mr. Lewis, her sidekick, is pulled out of his depression by a new lady love. But is her love for him true? In the meantime, Lady Mechanika runs into a professional hit woman, Mistress Grimm.

I love the new villainess. Her metal mask is truly scary. It will be nice if Mr. Lewis pulls out of his funk and man’s up as Robin to Lady Mechanika’s Batman.

Seriously, the awesome steampunk art here will, I’m sure, inspire amateur seamstresses/metalworkers out there to create some fine clothing. I also like the overt and subtle female empowerment within the plot. Lady Mechanika is obviously an independent woman as well as a take-no prisoners kick-a$$. However, it’s not just the Lady, both young girls in the story are shown in pants and not intimidated by anyone.

Lady Mechanika Vol 5 is a fantastic merging of steampunk and fantasy with a mystery. This series just keeps getting better. 5 stars!

Thanks to Benitez Productions and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

MAD about the Trump Era
May 8th, 2019 by diane92345

MAD about the Trump Era has exactly the same feel as the original magazines.

  • One overriding belief—check.
  • Various writing styles from prose, to parodies, to poetry, to short comics—check.
  • Excellent artwork including easily recognizable caricatures of political and pop culture figures—check.
  • More clever, and occasionally witty, than laugh-out-loud funny jokes—check.

MAD about the Trump Era definitely brings back memories of making fun of President Nixon. If anything, there is more data to mine for laughs with President Trump. Just his tweets alone could fill an entire book. The jokes are hit and miss—compare them to the sketches on Saturday Night Live. I really enjoyed Captain Red America because it works on a surface level of climate deniers. But there is a deeper self-referential humor in the R on his suit referencing Red Robin of DC Comics, which owns MAD magazine.

Obviously, if you are a MAGA hat wearing staunch supporter of the Donald, this book is not for you. However, it is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for us older democrats (socialists to you, Mein President). 3 stars.

Thanks to MAD Magazine, DC Entertainment, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: ,

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale
May 7th, 2019 by diane92345

In Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, Catwoman’s backstory is revealed and it is harsh.

Catgirl Selina’s mom brings home a new abusive boyfriend every month until she settles on Dernell. Dernell is physically and emotionally abusive to both Selina and her mother. However, when his cruelty impacts another, Selina runs away from home.

I didn’t know before reading it but this book is published as a young adult comic. I don’t believe teen Catgirl is an example of a good role model. She is a thief. None of the events you would expect, like rape and trafficking, happen to Selina after she runs away from home. She is portrayed as happy living on the street. I know it’s a teenage fantasy but I wouldn’t let my daughter read it.

The backstory of why Selina has a connection to cats and Bruce Wayne is interesting to explore. Making Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale a 4 star read for adults. I’m looking forward to the next volume continuing Catgirl’s transformation into a full grown Catwoman.

Thanks to DC Ink and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Bone Parish Vol 1
May 6th, 2019 by diane92345

There is a new drug in town in the horror/crime graphic novel, Bone Parish Vol 1. Just don’t ask what they make it out of…

Ash is a new hallucinogen that allows user to experience someone else’s life. It is incredibly popular but also so strong it kills some inexperienced users. The creator and her family can’t keep up with demand—no matter how many gravediggers they hire. Ash is composed of the burned remnants of dead bodies. The more interesting the life story, the better the high. When the family’s profit becomes the talk of the drug underworld, other gangs try to take over the family’s business.

The mixing of necromancy, New Orleans’ gothic atmosphere, and a noir crime family is almost as intoxicating as the drug, Ash. Bone Parish Vol 1 is concerned more with introducing the character’s stories and is rather short on plot in the middle section.  However, the beautiful and atmospheric artwork makes the trip stimulating. The conclusion also promises more excitement in the next volume. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to BOOM! Studios and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Justice League Aguaman Drowned Earth
April 16th, 2019 by diane92345

I will literally read a grocery list by Scott Snyder—everything he writes is fantastic! Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth is no exception.

Earth is being flooded by purple alien waters. Whomever the water touches turns into a rampaging fish-monster bent on killing any human remaining on Earth. Three ocean deities from other galaxies are determined to transform the world’s population into faithful followers of themselves. Only the Justice League can stop them!

The Drowned Earth story arc appeared across multiple book series including Justice League, Aquaman, and Titans. It is nice to see it all in one place in this hardcover compilation. The use of different artists, depending on the book series, means that the art isn’t very consistent across the full book though it is always consistently good. I rather liked the variety as it allowed me to see different styles applied to the same characters. However, some may find it distracting.

The plot was revving on all cylinders as is usual with a Scott Snyder story. There really is very little discussion or downtime for our heroes. It is mostly fighting or defending the entire time. I know that Aquaman is popular now that the movie has been released but I still have a soft spot for Batman, who is used to good effect in a small subplot during the story. Overall, while I liked Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth, it is probably better suited for readers who have kept up with the Justice League stories. Rather than beginning here, if you are new to DC, begin with Dark Nights: Metal. However, this book deserves 4 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Crazy Cat Lady
April 2nd, 2019 by diane92345

It’s just a matter of rebranding. Repeat several times, “I’m not a Crazy Cat Lady. I’m a Cat Enthusiast.”

A humorous graphic look at what it means to be in love with your cat(s). The book is filled with cute illustrations and witty You Know You’re a Crazy Cat Lady When asides. There are also useful quizzes such as when your cat should get their own Instagram page, how to select your cat’s name, and how to make the perfect cat toy using common household objects. There are wise sayings regarding cats like “it’s not drinking alone when the cats are home.”

It’s nice to know that even in the Netherlands there are still crazy cat ladies. Crazy Cat Lady is the perfect gift for a cat owner—crazy or not. All owners will see themselves and their cats in these pages. 4 stars!

Thanks to Workman Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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

Rolling Stones in Comics!
March 20th, 2019 by diane92345

I love comics and the Rolling Stones (sorry Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) so I had to read the Rolling Stones in Comics!

It tells the Rolling Stones story from its humble beginnings as a R&B cover band through its last tour. It details the issues between the band members, the drugs, the deaths, the music, and the groupies. The books states that Bill Wyman was the first person to coin the term groupies. The books is full of interesting tidbits like that.

The artwork is bright and clear. The book has an innovative solution to the usual problem of trying to stuff too much information in comic book speech balloons. It has a prose introduction to each chapter. Most are about three pages long and also contain pictures of the Stones at the time period referenced in the chapter. It worked for me.

Overall, the Rolling Stones in Comics! Is highly recommended for Stones fans and others who want to revisit the turbulent 1960s and 70s. 4 stars!

Thanks to NBM Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: ,

A Fire Story
March 4th, 2019 by diane92345

Heartfelt memoir about losing your home in the worst wildfire in decades. A Fire Story is sad but ultimately uplifting.

Multiple fires merged into a Northern California firestorm of epic proportions. The resulting burn area was the size of 15 Manhattans. Entire neighborhoods burned to the ground overnight. Warnings were mishandled so many survivors had virtually no time to take any belongings. Others didn’t escape in time.

The author, a graphic memoirist, uses his craft to document, in real time, the horrific experience of losing your home and all your stuff in a split second. While he is grateful his family is safe, he states,

“Well-meaning people say, ‘It’s just stuff.’ But it’s our stuff. Stuff we created. Stuff we treasured. Stuff from our ancestors we wanted our descendants to have. Stuff is a marker of time and memory. It’s roots.”

Wow, A Fire Story is so real! It throws the reader into a situation that, luckily, few will experience. It will make you appreciate your own stuff more. For myself, I live in a fire-prone area. We’ve been across the street, literally, from two major fires in two different homes and subject to voluntary evacuation orders. I have a bug-out bag of my family pictures and heirlooms ready to go. Are you ready?

If you have been toying with prepping for disaster as a New Year’s resolution, A Fire Story is an excellent shove in that direction. But it is also an exceptional look at human resilience and resourcefulness. I can’t recommend it highly enough. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Abrams ComicArts, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Long Con
February 17th, 2019 by diane92345

Jump into nerd culture with the Long Con.

The Long Con is the longest pop culture convention ever. It appears the Convention caused the apocalypse five years previously. Since he survived the Convention’s destruction, reporter Victor is given the assignment to find out what happened.

Slipping back and forth between the post-apocalyptic present and the pre-apocalyptic past, the plot is interesting and includes many details about conventions. I wish that the characterizations were more fleshed out. However, the humor makes up for it. The Long Con is recommended to those who have either been to conventions or wished they had. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Oni Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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

Showtime at the Apollo
January 8th, 2019 by diane92345

For decades, performers have known they have made it big when they hear, It’s Showtime at the Apollo!

More than just about the Apollo Theater in Harlem, this fact-filled graphic novel tells the story of African-American music in NYC from the Harlem Renaissance after WWI through the present. All the greats from all the eras have played the Apollo—Lena Horne, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Gladys Knight, Nicholas Brothers, James Brown, the Jackson 5, Sammy David Jr., Funkadelic and L.L. Cool J.

There are some interesting little known facts. Who knew that February in the 1960s was reserved for the drag show, the Jewel Box Revue? Or about the bomb threat that forced the Revue’s closure? I also learned where the famed Tree of Hope stump came from and why it is lucky.

Most graphic novels do not have so much text. Showtime at the Apollo reads more like an illustrated history than a true graphic novel. Even when the pictures alone could tell the tale, there is a text box labeling what is depicted. The artwork is clear. It is easy to recognize the famous faces.

For anyone who is interested in musical history or the story of African-American entertainment in New York City, this is a fantastic choice. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Abrams ComicArts, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

FTL, Y'All!
December 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Large mixed bag of comic short stories all with the theme of cheap space travel fill FTL Y’All.

There are 21 stories within this 327-page book. Most have the theme that Earth is a wasteland but outer space isn’t much better. Crowds, bureaucracy, and masses of people have ruined Earth and now are threatening to do the same for outer space. It is interesting to see so many different perspectives on the future. The artwork is also a great look at many different styles in one book.

FTL, Y’All is a good choice for sci-fi comic readers looking for something different.  You may just find the next comics star! 3 stars.

Thanks to Iron Circus Comics for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

Batman Vol 8: Cold Days
December 24th, 2018 by diane92345

Batman is still feeling blue about his marriage plans going awry and his son’s death in Batman Vol 8: Cold Days.

Bruce Wayne is empaneled on a jury. The trial’s question is whether Mr. Freeze killed three woman in the vain hope to resurrect his dead wife. After both sides have rested their case, the jury takes a first vote. All but Bruce vote guilty. Bruce’s reasons are a complex philosophical rant about alternate explanations for the evidence.

In the second story Bruce and Dick reminisce through flashbacks to Dick’s arrival at the Wayne Mansion after his parent’s death.

The final story has the Russian assassin, KGBeast, having an existential moment with his father. Later, he battles Batman in a snowy landscape.

Batman Vol 8: Cold Days collects Batman #51-57. This volume has some thought-provoking introspection, which is what I love about the Dark Knight. He’s  a thinker. Even the third story has self-examination but this time by the villain.  It also has copious fighting. However, I think I liked the first story best, where Batman is obviously having difficult dealing with his recent history. It is like a Batman take on 12 Angry Men, the old black and white Henry Fonda movie from 1957. The art on all the stories is fabulous as usual.

I like a change so I am giving my highest recommendation to Batman Vol 8: Cold Days plus 5 stars!

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

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,

Undead Messiah 2
December 21st, 2018 by diane92345

Undead Messiah 2 explains what is causing the zombie apocalypse and who the mysterious masked messiah is.

Tim is obsessed with zombies. He plays zombie video games. He watches zombie movies. Little does he know how useful that will soon become in real life.

 

SPOILER for Undead Messiah 1 below. I recommend reading them in order.

Tim watched his parents become zombies, found out he has a red-eyed baby half-brother Elian, and was locked in military prison in volume 1.

END SPOILER

 

Tim awakens in the castle hide-out of the mysterious masked messiah, who is actually Dr. Ritch. Ritch has given him an iv of an unknown purple fluid. Ritch wants Tim to become his prophet and tell the world of his greatness. Tim has other plans as he hasn’t forgiven Ritch for killing his father, though his dad was admittedly a zombie at the time.

The zombie world building is impressive and unique within Undead Messiah 2. If you like zombies, you shouldn’t miss the Undead Messiah series as I’m sure some of the innovations will be quickly copied by other writers. 4 stars!

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

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror Tagged with: ,

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 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, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: