Graphic Novel Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

NimonaAuthor and illustrator: Noelle Stevenson 

Genre: YA, graphic novel

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

266 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I feel like I say this a lot – but how the heck did I not read this sooner? You guys know I love comics and graphic novels, and I’d heard about how amazing NIMONA was from a lot of friends. And yet, I just now read it. BUT at least I finally did because I LOVED it.

This graphic novel is hilarious and weird and dark. It’s super strange but in all the best ways. I love that all of the characters are both good and bad, light and dark, which is how I think all people are. Nimona was a little bit crazy and murder-y but also just wanted to be loved. I loved that instead of wanting to be the hero, she wanted to be a villain. You don’t get that very often, and you guys probably know I’m a sucker for villains. Plus, the actual villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart, was not as evil as you might think. Yes, he wanted revenge, but he was also against killing. Like I said – dark and light.

Nimona is sassy af, and I think this really comes across in Stevenson’s wonderful illustrations. They are deceivably simple – simple line work but lots of details, flat colors but lots of them. I really loved these illustrations. I also loved that Nimona is kind of curvy.

The bottom line: READ IT READ IT READ IT. I’ll definitely be checking out Stevenson’s other comics after reading this (already placed a hold on LUMBERJANES at the library). If you like dragons or sassy MCs or villains or silly names or fun illustrations or science or metaphors, you should definitely read NIMONA.

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Comic Review: Colder, Volume 1 by Paul Tobin

FAIR WARNING: THE ARTWORK IN THIS COMIC IS A LITTLE DISTURBING SO SOME OF YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO LOOK – I’VE INCLUDED THE COVER AND SOME IMAGES FROM THE ACTUAL COMIC.

ColderAuthor: Paul Tobin

Illustrator: Juan Ferreyra

Publisher: Dark Horse

Publication Date: October 22, 2013

152 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

LOOK AT THAT COVER. YES YES YES. Volume 1 starts off in an insane asylum 50 or so years ago where Declan Thomas (who has this seriously cool ability to walk into someone’s personal madness – and he can even sometimes cure or worsen it) resides. A demonic predator visits him and tells him he’s about to start getting colder, which he does. He doesn’t talk or get sick or feel pain. He’s a ward of the state and lives with a lonely nurse who cares for him as best she can, until one day Nimble Jack shows back up to claim him.

The artwork in this is freaky and scary and wonderful and bizarre, and I love it. The story is unique and creepy and really easy to read. It took no time at all but I was completely absorbed in the story. Nimble Jack is downright frightening – both in his actions and in the artwork.

Colder 1SOURCE

Colder 2SOURCE

The bottom line: That artwork though. So good. So so good. I’m a little obsessed. Plus the story is freaking cool and dark and absolutely captivating. Loved this one.

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

 

Graphic Novel Review: Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

Username EvieAuthor: Joe Sugg / Matt Whyman

Illustrator:  Amrit Birdi

Publisher: Running Press

Publication Date: September 22, 2015

192 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I feel like I should’ve known better, but I think that Joe Sugg is super funny (check out his YouTube channel ThatcherJoe) so I wanted to check it out and I wanted to like it so much. Plus the art on the cover looked pretty cool, but it was A LIE. I was more disappointed than I should have been – again, I should have known better.

Why this is bad:

  • The story is ridiculously fast-paced. There is zero time to actually get to know and therefore care about any of the characters. It rushed through everything that happened and led to a very confusing and muddled plotline.
  • The characters are flat in more ways than one.
    • The artwork has no movement whatsoever and all of the characters are 2D because of it.
    • But their personalities are also super flat and boring. There’s no explanation for why Mallory – Evie’s cousin – hates her so much; the science isn’t explained – although the idea of a virtual world that is influenced by a person’s thoughts/actions is pretty cool; I just didn’t care about anyone.
  • The art. JFC. It’s just bad. Sometimes the characters aren’t proportional; sometimes Evie and Mallory look like the same person which is confusing. The art is flat and emotionless and bland, despite the vibrant colors.
  • The writing. I’ll say that the idea is pretty cool, but the writing is not. The characters – mostly Evie – feel the need to constantly explain what they are doing or why something won’t work or that they are currently running. Okay, not the last one, but that’s what it felt like. Instead of showing the reader what was happening through the art or through dialogue, we are flat out told in long explanatory thought boxes. It was exhausting and unnecessary and annoying.

The bottom line: I was NOT a fan of this graphic novel. From flat art and characters to unnecessary explanations, Username: Evie is just not a good book.

Rating: 3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?

Comic Book Review: Memetic #1-3

I don’t post a lot of comic reviews on my blog, which is something I want to do more of in 2015. So why not start with a recent favorite? Memetic was a limited run series of three issues from BOOM! Studios.

Memetic #1-3    WRITER: James Tynion IV / ARTIST: Eryk Donovan
COLORIST: Adam Guzowski / LETTERER: Steve Wands

When your comic book shop tells you they think you’d like a new comic about a killer meme and asks if you want them to order you a copy, you say yes. I mean, a killer meme?! Of course you say yes. Then, when you’ve read all three of them, you wish there were more and can’t believe it’s over.

What am I talking about? Memetic, of course! A three-part mini-series from James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan, Memetic was scary, you guys. It felt too real, as if it could happen any day now. To sum up without spoiling it (you should really just read them; it’s only three issues!): one day in the near future, a meme spreads on the internet. Seemingly harmless and strangely adorable, the meme is that of a sloth giving the viewer a thumbs up. Nothing that special, right? Somehow the image makes the viewer feel ridiculously happy, making people around the world want to share it with everyone they love. On and on it goes until almost everyone with access to the internet has seen it. But then people start dying. Can they find the source and get him/her to flip the image and save humanity? Or will we die out because of our obsession with social media?

Memetic was so good. It was a little confusing at times, with a little too much happening at once, but I was expecting that as they had to shove an entire story into three short issues. Though it was a lot all at once, this didn’t annoy me. I wanted more! The issues were intense, thrilling, terrifying. It felt like a logical story coming from our current society; it never felt preachy or like Tynion was shoving his message down our throats. Obviously it felt a bit like a cautionary tale against what could happen when you become addicted to the internet.

The artwork was really great. Not over the top but sensationalized enough in all the right places. It’s simple in the beginning, to bring out the story and let it say what it needs to, but later, when things get crazy, it comes out in full force to scare the crap out of you. Eryk Donovan’s art is creepy but feels realistic. Adam Guzowski coloring brings it to life.

Overall, Memetic was an unnerving, modern-day cautionary tale. It probably wasn’t healthy how into it I was. But comics aren’t going to kill me, right? RIGHT? …Totally worth checking out this (way too short) run from BOOM! Studios.

I’m also posting this review on WatchPlayRead. Check out my contributor page on WPR if you are interested in seeing more of my comics reviews. I usually post two a week, so there’s a bunch over there!

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 3]

If you’ve read my review of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Saga, you know that I’m a little bit obsessed with it. A little bit – haha.

Saga, volume 3 Cover

This volume was no different. I mean, I went out and bought Volume 3 because our library system doesn’t have it yet and I wasn’t going to wait. This guy on Goodreads sums it up pretty well: “This comic is so good it’s starting to piss me off.”

I honestly don’t know the point of this review because I can’t really tell you what happens without potentially spoiling the first two volumes. Honestly, if you have even the smallest interest in getting into comics (and you are open-minded about potentially crude behavior), please check out Saga. It’s funny, imaginative, and amazing. The illustrations are incredible and perfectly match the content of the story. Like, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples didn’t win a Hugo Award for nothing – they won it for the incredibleness that is Saga.

We, of course, get some new characters in this volume, including the two reporters who are hoping to make their career on the story of Alana and Marko. I’m kind of in love with them. There’s also some drama (when old girlfriends resurface or when some of our friends eat some not-so-friendly fruit). I’m kind of freaking out about how this issues ends and I can barely wait for the next volume; I’m almost tempted to start buying the individual issues because I. need. to. know.

This girl sums up my feelings about the next volume: “I’m sure I’ll be totally fine for the next six months as we await Volume Fo- [LYING]”

Saga, volume 3 geek out

Publication info:

Saga [volume 3]

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; March 25, 2014

144 pages (paperback)

 

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 3 “Safety Behind Bars”

So far this week, I’ve reviewed the first two volumes of The Walking Dead comics, Days Gone Bye and Miles Behind Us. Today, I’m reviewing the third volume, Safety Behind Bars, which just made me even more obsessed with the comics. I wish I could just buy ALL the volumes and spend several days reading them all, but, alas, there are like 20 volumes and I cannot afford that.

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 cover

Goodreads Summary:

This volume follows our band of survivors as they set up a permanent camp inside a prison. Relationships change, characters die, and our team of survivors learn there’s something far more deadly than zombies out there: each other.

What I thought:

The group make it into the prison, but outside the snow melts and a handwritten note says “All dead. Do not enter.” Uh oh. In the prison, the group finds four criminals who’ve holed themselves up in the kitchen. Rick decides to go back to the farm and invite Hershel and his children (and Glenn) to stay at the prison; they’ve got plenty of room. What a nice move on Rick’s part; he’s a good dude.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 All Dead

Julie and Chris enter into a suicide pact that goes wrong. Chris shoots just a second too soon and Julie dies but Chris lives. When Tyreese gets to the two of them, he finds his daughter dead, but soon she returns to life as a zombie. This was a previously unknown way to turn and the group realize that they are all infected and should they die, they’d be a zombie. Oh crap.

This prompts Rick to go back to where they buried Shane and kill him again. That’s what you get, Shane!

Back at the prison, Hershel finds his twin daughters, Susie and Rachel, murdered in the barber shop. The group locks up Dexter, the inmate who was convicted for murder. Andrew, convicted for drug dealing, talks to Dexter (it is implied they had a relationship) about getting the guns from the armory and kicking them all out. Andrea is in the laundry room and is attacked by Thomas (convicted for “tax evasion”) and is beaten down by Rick, who introduces the “You Kill You Die” rule. Thomas is eventually shot by Maggie and thrown over the fence. Hershel watches as he is eaten by zombie.

The Walking Dead, volume 3 Susie and Rachel dead

At the end of the volume, Dexter and Andrew threaten Rick and his gang and tell them to “Get the fuck out of my house.”

Well, dang. Just as they think they’ve got a nice place for themselves, they’re kicked out. Apparently, this is not what happens in the show. Again, I don’t know what happens, but I thought this volume was super intense and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The artwork continued to be top notch and super impressive. I can’t wait to see what happens in volume 4!

READ THESE COMICS ALREADY!

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Charlie Adlard

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 2]

So if you saw my review of Saga [volume 1] last week, you could probably guess that I LOVED it. Like, A LOT. Like, asdfkl; a lot.

As soon as I finished reading it, I put a hold on Volume 2. I couldn’t wait for it to come in, and when it did, I was so pumped. I flew through the second volume, and I can safely say that I am OBSESSED with this comic. It’s incredible. To show you how much I love it: our library system doesn’t have Volume 3 anywhere, so I went to the comic book store last weekend and bought it. I don’t even own the first two volumes (yet) but I will not wait until the library system has it to read it. I needed it NOW.

Just in case I need to say it again: this comic can be offensive to some people and there may or may not be expletives below.

Saga, volume 2 Cover

I honestly don’t know how to properly describe how much I love this series and why I think you should read it. Remember, it’s kind of offensive: there’s sex scenes, a huge, disgusting scrotum that dangles down from a grotesque giant, and a lot of “bad” behavior. However, there are also several real, mature, unromanticized relationships that are just beautiful (particularly the one between Alana and Marko). And yes, this series is technically sci-fi (with spaceships, aliens, robots, and the like) but the relationships are so genuine and human that you don’t have to be a sci-fi fan like me to enjoy it.

In this volume, our star-crossed lovers continue to search for a safe home for their new family. Their babysitter, a ghost with no legs named Izabel, has been marooned on a nearby planet and Marko and his mother (yep, Alana’s in-laws have come) must go down there to find her. This is when we meet our gargatuan, nasty scrotum which is attached to a giant who wants to kill our heroes.Saga, volume 2 - The Will and The Stalk

Meanwhile, The Will is mourning the death of The Stalk, and he gets a completely unexpected and totally awesome ally who promises to help him with his mission and to help save Slave Girl. Prince Robot IV is still reading (and becoming obsessed) with the book that Alana was reading when she worked in the prison. We get a really lovely backstory about how this book brought our two heroes together. I enjoyed getting to learn about how they two of them met.

I also really liked how baby Hazel’s narrations and interruptions were more frequent in this volume, as I really like her input into the story. I thought that we got to know our characters even more in this volume and I continued to really root for our heroes. And again, I still really love The Will A LOT even though I know his mission is to kill our heroes.

Staples’ art is incredible and it completely matches the story. She’s able to perfectly capture the looks on our character’s faces and I honestly don’t think any other artist would have worked as well. In this volume, Alana is much softer than she was in the first volume, which I think is because she’s becoming more of a mother and protector. I liked her character a lot more this time, not that I didn’t already like her.Saga, volume 2 - Alana reading

I think I liked this volume even more than the first, and like I said, I had to go buy the third volume because I can’t wait to see what happens next! I can’t recommend Saga enough. Read it. Just do it, okay? 😀

I will, Marko. I will.

I will, Marko. I will.

Don’t believe me when I say it’s super awesome? Check out this article titled “10 Reasons You Should Be Reading Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga.”

Publication info:

Saga, volume 2

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; June 2013

144 pages

 

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 2 “Miles Behind Us”

Volume 2: Miles Behind Us

On Tuesday, I reviewed The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye, which I definitely enjoyed! Today, I’m reviewing Volume 2 “Miles Behind Us”, which is when I became truly and completely hooked on The Walking Dead comics. I’m kind of obsessed.

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, Volume 2 cover

Goodreads Summary:

This volume follows our band of survivors on their tragic journey in search of shelter. Characters live and die as they brave a treacherous landscape littered with packs of the walking dead.

What I thought:

OH MY GOODNESS. This is when I realized I was obsessed with this series. I love that it’s technically a zombie story, but that’s not really the focus in these comics. It’s on the humans and their lives and struggles: their search for food and shelter and a way to start a life for themselves again.

[spoilers] In this volume, Lori figures out that she’s pregnant, and she struggles to come to terms with this and decide whether or not to keep it in the face of their search for food and shelter. How can she bring someone into their world when they already don’t have enough food for themselves?

The group runs into Tyreese, his daughter, Julie, and her boyfriend, Chris. I liked Tyreese right away. He’s a total badass. They begin to travel together, and they come across Wiltshire Estates (I think this is another one of those differences between the show and the books; I was told that Wiltshire happens at the same time as an event that happens later in the books. I’ll find out when I watch). They think they are safe, but are soon overcome by zombies. Donna is killed (YES! I know that’s horrible, but I did not like her AT ALL).

The Walking Dead, volume 2 Wiltshire

When they go hunting, Carl is accidentally shot by Otis, a farmhand for Hershel, who allows them to stay at the farm while Carl heals. I was so happy when Glenn found love with Maggie at Hershel’s place. I like Glenn. There’s a crazy scene in which a BUNCH of zombies are let out of the barn where Hershel’s been locking them up instead of killing them. Again, amazing artwork. Hershel was a complete idiot for keeping all those zombies locked up though. I know he did it because [spoiler] his son was one of the zombies, but seriously? Stupid move.

The Walking Dead, volume 2 Carl Shot

Unfortunately, the group is forced to leave Hershel’s farm and at the end of the volume, they stumble across the prison which they hope will become their home.

So much craziness and so much awesomeness in this volume. I was definitely hooked by this volume. HIGHLY recommended.

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Charlie Adlard

Make sure you check out my review of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars on Saturday!

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, Volume 1 “Days Gone Bye”

It would be pretty difficult to be alive and be someone who is online a lot and NOT know about The Walking Dead. I’ve heard A LOT about it, but I have yet to watch the TV show (I know, I know. But I lived in another country for a while and just didn’t have time). However, I’ve definitely been intrigued by it, so it was high on my list of comics to check out when I started reading them. So far I’ve read the first three volumes and I bought the fourth volume yesterday. I’m kind of obsessed. I want to read a decent amount of the volumes before I start watching the shows so I can compare and not having anything spoiled. I thought I’d review the first three volumes for you this week!

There may be spoilers if you’ve never watched the show, because I don’t know when what happens in the books happens in the show so I can’t warn you. I’ll just say: there are potential spoilers in this review.

The Walking Dead, Volume 1 cover

Volume 1: Days Gone Bye – Goodreads Summary:

The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.

What I thought:

I thought Volume 1 did a fantastic job at introducing the series. We get a really good idea for what is happening and I kind of fell in love with the series right away. I think it makes you feel the fear and anxiety that these characters, particularly Rick, feels throughout this whole first volume. I definitely felt for the characters and I wanted each one of them to survive. The human factor in The Walking Dead was wonderful and it made you connect with these characters from the beginning. There’s a focus on how humanity would adjust to life in a post-apocalyptic world after being so used to living comfortably in our current society, which I really enjoyed. The dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre is my favorite, so this fit in quite well with what I like.

I also really love the artwork. I think the black and white illustrations worked really well, and boy, were those zombies GROSS.

The Walking Dead, volume 1 Atlanta

[Potential spoiler alert] At the end of volume 1, Shane goes absolutely crazy and is about to shoot Rick when Carl shoots him. I was discussing this with a friend who watches the show and was told that this didn’t actually happen in the show until the end of like season 3 or something. I was also told that the relationship between Shane and Lori was a lot more intense in the show than in the comics. In the comics, they’ve slept together only once but when Rick shows up at their camp, Lori goes right back to Rick. I thought this was an interesting change, but I can understand wanting to elaborate on their relationship as it probably added a lot of drama to the show.

The Walking Dead, volume 1 Shane

I really enjoyed this first volume and I was glad that I already had the second volume checked out from the library and waiting to be read. If you like the show or just love a good zombie story/human story, you should check out these books! Especially if you’re a fan of seriously awesome zombie art. Definitely recommended.

Written by Robert Kirkman; illustrated by Tony Moore

Make sure you check out my review for Volume 2: Miles Behind Us on Thursday!

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think? Also, can you tell me (spoiler-free if possible), what the differences are between what happened in this volume and the show? 🙂

Comic Book Review: Saga [volume 1]

I was warned when I picked this up at the library where I work that it was super offensive but really, really good. I don’t have a problem with offensive at all and I’m usually a fan of really, really good, so I checked it out. WOAH! OH MY GOODNESS, YOU GUYS! SO SO SO SO GOOD.

WARNING: This book is pretty dang offensive and has some bad language and nudity, so if that might bother you, don’t read on. I have included a few pictures, one of which has some boobs, and I have one expletive in my review. 🙂

Saga, volume 1 Cover

HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS (there’s that one expletive). This book. If you are interested in or already love graphic novels, read Saga. It is incredible. I flew through it and then immediately put a hold on the second volume. We don’t have the third volume in the library system, so I’m probably going to buy it. I’m kind of obsessed.

Okay, so the planet Landfall is at war with its moon, Wreath. The conflict between the two has engulfed the entire galaxy. In the midst of all this, two soldiers from opposite sides of the war find love with one another. Branded as traitors after the birth of their daughter, Wreath foot soldier Marko and Private First Class Alana of Landfall are hoping to escape the war that has consumed their worlds to raise their daughter in a safe place. Unfortunately, because they are traitors, the two sides of the war can now agree on one thing: Marko and Alana need to die. Uh oh.

Marko and Alana (along with their baby daughter Hazel, who narrates the story) are stuck on Cleave and must navigate the planet to find the Rocketship Forest so that they may escape the planet and galaxy. On the way, they find the Horrors, a group of ghosts of the residents of Cleave, who are stuck on the planet after they die in order to protect it (it obviously didn’t work well as the war has overrun the planet). Fortunately, Izabel, one of the Horrors, offers to help the couple on their journey. Izabel was one of my favorite characters in the novel. She’s a super sassy teenager with no legs. She’s funny and sweet and completely endearing.

Izabel

The government of Landfall hires Robot IV, a prince, who, I think, is more human than several of the actually human characters in the novel. His “head” is a computer screen, and I really liked how occasionally he’d have pictures show up on the screen either to demonstrate his feelings (like the picture below) or to show the people he’s talking to the evidence that he’s questioning them about. It was quite clever actually.

Saga 5

We also have a couple of other antagonists, mercenaries hired to hunt down the couple and their daughter. One of them, The Stalk, has got to be one of the creepiest creatures I’ve seen in a long time. Fiona Staples, the illustrator, is brilliant and The Stalk made me shudder when I first encountered her. In fact, I got creeped out pretty much every time we saw her, particularly if we were seeing her from a new angle. The picture on the left is the first time we see her and then the one on the right is a little later on. *shudders*

Saga 6 The Stalk

But my absolute favorite character has got to be the other mercenary, The Will, and his super awesome cat.

The Will

I mean, can you say “BAMF”? Look at him walking at us. The cape, the cigarette, that freaking cat. He’s super intense and sassy and I just love him. The Will supposedly only has the ethics that his clients tell him to, but he soon is fighting with his morals in order to… well, I guess I won’t give it away. You should just read it. But I was rooting for The Will, even though he’s technically the villain. Sometimes, it was hard to remember that he had been hired to kill our heroes.

So our heroes.  Alana and Marko are strong and kind and they are perfect for each other. I found that I was on their side right from the beginning; I wanted them to escape the war, to be happy, to be free. I think there is definitely something to say about an author (and illustrator) who can evoke such strong emotions from their audience. I really wanted everything to work out for our heroes.

I could probably talk about all the different things I loved about this graphic novel for days. So I’ll stop there, but I loved this novel and I’m so glad it was my first graphic novel (in a while). I cannot wait to keep reading about these characters.

Publication info:

Saga

Written by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Fiona Staples

Published by Image Comics; October 2012

160 pages