Adult, Books, Comics

Descender Vol 1. : Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Comic book day!  Here is a review I did several weeks back now on the first Volume of Descender (Spoilers: I really like the art guys).

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Comic Title: Descender
Volume # & Title: 1: Tin Stars
Collected Issues: #1-6
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 160
Genre: Science Fiction

 

Anybody else read Descender?  Anybody else as obsessed with literally everything that Image Comics publishes.  I swear to god they have so many great new imaginative things coming out every month and it hurts my heart and my wallet.

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Adult, Books, Comics, YA (Young Adult)

The Vision: Little Worse Than A Man Review

If you are wondering how I have read a volume of a comic that has yet to be released?  Well my friends, reading comics in single issues sometimes has its advantages.  Let me tell you about a thing you should budget for in June because boy is it a good ‘un.

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Comic Title: The Vision
Volume # and Title: 1: Little Worse Than a Man
Collected Issues: 1-6
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colorist: Jordie Bellair
Publisher: Marvel
Page #: 136
Genre: Superhero, Horror, Science Fiction

It is super weird to see something from one of the big comic publishers on here.  It is even weirder to see one that is a superhero title.  Although I have to say that this isn’t your average every day super hero comic.

This is the story of an average family.  We have the over worked father whose job has no security and just wants to provide for his family.  There is the lonely house wife who just wants every one to be happy.  The heart broken daughter and the over protective son with slight anger issues.  Sounds like every suburban family to me?  They even get a dog by the end of this book.  They just happen to be bio-netic robots.  Doesn’t your neighborhood have one of those?

While the problems these family members have are very normal, the catalysts for each of their issues are … lets say … slightly out of the norm.  That’s why you should pick this comic up though. This is the story of a family who just wants to fit in.  It just isn’t your average, average family, they have little quirks that make the story interesting.

I honestly did not realize I would feel so badly for characters that have a hard time understanding human emotions.  They seem to be stuck somewhere in between a state of complete emotional break down and apathetic and mildly intrigued by human affairs.

This is the story of what happens when a super hero goes home.  This is the story of one man’s need to be normal, to live a happy life, to just be normal.  I love things like that.  I think I’ve had enough of the crime fighting and the bad guys moving the plot.  We need more stories about the internal struggles.  This is one of those, and honestly it was really done well.

So if you want a super hero comic for people who don’t really like super heroes… this might be the one for you.

I think that’s all I have to say on this one. So I will be back soon.  Whether it is tomorrow as a replacement Monday post or on Friday with a book review!

Adult, Books, Comics

Y The Last Man: Book One by Brian K Vaughan Review

Day two of posting things when they are supposed to be posted this is a pretty good streak so far.

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Series Title: Y The Last Man
Volume: Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 & 2
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrator: Pia Guerra
Publisher: Vertigo
Page #: 256
Genre: Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic

You would be surprised how much I was actually kind of on the fence with this one.  I had heard of this one, and knew it is one of the most critically acclaimed series to date and it is by the writer of Saga which I have up until this point enjoyed for the most part, and yet? I was sad that it didn’t quite live up to the hype.  Was this a case of the hype was too great?  I don’t know, I didn’t feel over hyped going into it.  I was pretty open to whatever.  Maybe I just figured that more people would have spoken out about the few things that I did take issue with.

My main issue, and it is one that I don’t often mention with comics but is a problem in books a fair amount, was that often times I felt there was author intervention.  The point that Vaughan was trying to make was pushing characters to act in certain ways that I honestly didn’t think they would.  There were times where I felt those out of character scenes were caused in an attempt at humor, and other times in an attempt to make some sort of plot based movement or emotional point.  It just didn’t really work for me.

I have issues with books that stand up on the soap box and shove their message down your throat.  Honestly Saga is much better at it, and it might just be that Vaughan is learning as he works on more and more projects, which is entirely acceptable, but still this is more interesting in concept than what actually shows up.

Now after complaining for three paragraphs I feel I should say that I didn’t hate this book.  Quite the contrary, it was an interesting little romp.  I will definitely continue the story.  Let’s just say I’m not jumping up to get it.

Probably not the most helpful review, but hey, I tried.  I’ll hopefully have a book review on Friday, we shall see.  Gonna do my best.

Books, Comics

April Monthly Pull

I was going to do a weekly pull, but I realized I don’t buy that many comics at once so it might be wiser to talk about what I read in a month.

Here is the toddling baby of that idea that hopefully will grow and flourish later… because its a bit of a mess right now.

Hope this wasn’t too cringe worthy.  I will be back on Friday for a review so get excited about that!

Adult, Books, Comics, Musings

East of West: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman Review

So you are little bit intimidated by the scale of East of West, and rightfully so, I wanted to talk about my experience reading this comic as well as maybe help some folks who are little nervous get into it.

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Comic Title: East of West
Volume Title: Vol. 2: We Are All One
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image
Page #: 144
Genre: Science Fiction, Western

As I’m writing this post I’m not entirely certain whether I reviewed the first one or not but I’m leaning toward not.  The only reason I say that is that this is perhaps one of the most confusing comics I have read.  While that may seem intimidating hold on just a moment because I am going to tell you why its worth it.

I know that when I got back into comics and discovered Image as a company who put out a lot of things I love East of West put out a single issue that had all of the different factions mapped out.  I remember thinking, if you need a dramatis personae for your comic you probably aren’t doing it right.  While I do think having that would have been helpful when I picked up the first volume I no longer think that its such a bad thing.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who abandoned it because there were too many people, it was too confusing, etc. I mean I myself often talk about how too large a cast of characters is one of the main reasons I can’t ever seem to finish Game of Thrones, and yet… and yet.

I think that the artist did a really great job of illustrating each faction so that they visually represent something.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about them all being along racial lines, but at the same time it means that you see someone and you instantly understand where they are coming from and what their values are.  I think that this also allowed for interesting discussions on history, this world seems to share some portions of our own history, but somewhere along the lines separate but equal was taken to the extreme.

There are moments where I feel like it strays a bit into stereotyping but it always seems to push past that to something more.  The things that seem stereotypical have different motivations and lead somewhere that I wasn’t expecting.

While I wasn’t entirely sold on the art style I think that it has grown on me and I am actually very impressed by how many different characters there are that all are very distinct.  The problem with a huge cast of characters is that they can become confused and like I said not only is their style showing the faction they belong to but is entirely their own.  There is no confusing characters in this way.  Even Low, which I love, sometimes has a character whose design is so close to another’s that I momentarily forget who I’m looking at, and context usually irons it out for me, but I don’t even need that here.

In any case, I said in my goodreads review and I’ll say it again, I cannot wait to get the third volume. I am so excited.  This one was especially good and I hope that it keeps up the pace.

Books, Comics

Runaways: Battleworld by Noelle Stevenson Review (Spoiler Free)

Remember when Wednesday was comic book day?  Lets bring that back.

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Comic Title: Runaways: Battleworld
Writer: Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Sanford Greene
Publisher: Marvel
Collected Issues: #1-4
Genre: Teen Superheroes
Rating: T for Teen

When we actually talk about comics on comic book day guys.  I did the thing.  I have succeeded.  I also think I will have another review next week but I’m not positive as of right now.

Alright, talk to you guys on Friday!  Off I goooo to work again, because the real world never eeeeends!

Adult, Books, Comics

Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope Review

I promised I would back track a little and do a full review of the first volume of Low when I went to do a review of the second volume and realized I had never actually talked about the first.  Which is a travesty as this comic was my favorite comic of the year!

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Comic Title: Low
Volume Titile: Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope
Collected Issues: 1-6
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 144
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Rating: M for Mature

Just looking at that cover you probably know what drew me to this comic in the first place.  I’m such an art snob when it comes to comics, if the art isn’t appealing to me it often means I can’t keep reading it even if the plot and writing is fine.  There needs to be a balance of both and I have heard people complain about the writing here, that it doesn’t match the art, or that the art is so flashy in order to cover up the fact that the story isn’t very good, and I would like to tell you why that isn’t so.

Now, I know that some people have an issue with how the trajectory of this story takes place.  It is a bit confusing at times, as it skips around in perspective and time and place.  This can make it frustrating to read as it isn’t linear.  However, I would recommend if you are confused to try reading it a little slower.  The comic is extremely well constructed.  You are seeing all of the different points in time and perspectives of one family as they struggle to find a way to save the human race.

This is a dystopian comic that takes place in giant under water cities generations after they were originally built.  The structures are breaking down and running out of resources so most of the people have resorted to living each day like it were their last.  They have lost hope.  However, the main characters in this story have not.  They are going to go on an expedition to the surface to find a probe that has returned to earth saying it has found a planet suitable for living, despite the fact that the air and the water near the surface are toxic.

On top of this, I think the thing that makes a good comic great is the ability for there to be subplots and sub-characters having stories in the background of panels where the main plot takes place.  These can either feed into the main plot later, or simply be little details that really add to the world building.  I think this is one of the greatest strengths of Low.  There are so many interweaving stories, it is able to show so many different ways of coping with the loss of hope, or the sudden realization that there may be hope after all.

If you are a fan of dystopian literature and are looking to get into comics or graphic novels, I would definitely think about picking this one up!  Like I said, it was my favorite comic of last year.

If you want to read my review of the second volume then you can find it here!

I will be back on Friday with a book review, and then something new and special on Saturday!  Get read guys, new things coming our way.

Books, Comics

Southern Bastards Vol. 2: Gridiron Review

Alright guys, fun facts, I am running out of comics that I’ve finished to review for you so I’m going to need a new comic related feature to put in here on Wednesday to stretch it out until I finish something new or, you can give me suggestions for comics I should go and read!  That too!  If there is a little bit of a lapse in quality comic content, my apologies, this is why.

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Series Title: Southern Bastards
Volume: Vol. 2: GridIron
Publisher: Image Comics
Collected Issues: #5-8
Writer: Jason Aaron
Illustrator: Jason Latour
Page #: 128
Genre: Mystery
Rating: M for Mature

Now, I’m going to preface this review with: I have never been that interested in any kind of sport ball.  This volume is incredibly saturated in sports ball.  So I didn’t love it.

However, (You knew there was a however coming didn’t you?) I still think that this comic in general has a lot to offer.  Now stereotypes tell me that people in the south love their community activities, which as you guessed, would include sports ball of all shapes and sizes.  This particular town in question prefers HandEgg (Football but I prefer to accurately describe the sport).  I was willing to listen to this story about this sport because it was giving me insight into one of the most intriguing characters in the previous volume (see my review of that if you so desire).

I have to say that when I picked up issue number 5 I figured it was going to pick up where the last volume left off.  I was wrong.  I didn’t realize then, but having continued reading the comic, I know now that this series is not a chronological story.  It isn’t plot driven.  It is character driven.  It is a story giving you a definition of this town through its inhabitants.  Each volume focuses on a different character.  This volume focuses on the main antagonist of the last volume and the next volume focuses on someone different.  I feel like the longer the comic runs the more all of these stories will twist together into something tangible and perhaps even a forward moving plot, there was a bit of a mystery involved in the first volume it might be wise to get back to that.

I cannot say at this moment whether it will be successful at this.  However I think it has a lot of promise and for the time being, I have faith in what they are doing with it.

I will stick around even though I, someone who grew up in Massachusetts and never cared about communal activities … reading is a pretty solitary act, until you start talking about it on the internet that is… I will stick with it because I really love the atmosphere of this comic.  I feel like it perfectly captures something completely other to me.  It may be a bit of the uncanny.  I like the way that it moves so slowly and that we are focusing on different aspects of these stories because it means that at some point it will catch me by surprise.

I really love mysteries and thrillers and horror.  I feel like this comic has the potential to be really great at that.  Is it for everyone? No.  Is it still worth checking out if you have an interest in it.  Of course.

Now you might be wondering.  Michaela, you are always going on and on about the art in comics.  Well, yes, I am, because I love art.  I do have to say that the art in this comic is not my favorite.  It is blocky and harsh and I usually prefer softer lines and more flowing panels.  However, (See that pesky however keeps showing up) I think that the art style here perfectly matches the story they are trying to tell.  I’m not going to sing its praises but the strength of this comic is in its atmosphere and most of that is created through the art style.

So guys, that’s what I have to say to you for this lovely comic book day!  I hope all of your pulls this week were fantabulous and I will talk to you guys on Friday with a book review!

 

Adult, Books, Comics

Rat Queens: Vol 2. The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth Review

Two weeks ago I reviewed my favorite comic of last year, this week I review the runner up.

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Comic Title: Rat Queens
Volume: 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth
Collected Issues: #6-10
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: Image Comic
Page #: 128
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Rating: M

Yes I have reviewed the first volume of Rat Queens and you can find that review here!

So why is this my second favorite comic of the year?  Aside from the fact that as a nerd who enjoys both playing and running Role Playing games including Pathfinder and this comic being the embodiment of everything that is great about that, I love the fact that this comic wasn’t afraid to put aside their main plot for a volume to build on their characters.

The best part of role playing in my experience is the way that people build their characters, shape them with stories that may or may not be true but they use them to find their place in the world, as well as the way those stories interconnect and bring the group together.  This volume perfectly embodies this.

The humor and the sex and the drinking is all still here, don’t get me wrong, but I really loved the way that this volume focused on what is most likely the worst moment of all of the main group’s lives.  I’m not going to go into specifics but despite the somber tone a lot of these issues had, it meant that by the end of the book you were rooting for them to succeed.  Not just because they were funny and adorable, but because you had seen where they were coming from and why this was important to them.

If you are a character oriented reader this volume will be something that you love I am sure.  The art is fantastic even though there was a change from the first volume, if anything I like it more.  The side characters that I often find myself loving more and more are still here.  There is suspense, there is drama, there is humor.  What more could you ask for in a comic?

I would also recommend this comic to anyone looking for a comic filled with bad ass ladies that are represented realistically.  Each of the girls have a different body type, different struggles, different attitudes.  They are all awesome in their own right.  There is a transgender character.  There are lesbian characters.  All of it feels natural and genuine.

If none of that convinced you I have one final argument, and I’ll leave you with that:

Lady dwarves have beards.

Boom.

 

 

Adult, Books, Comics

Low: Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us Review

Comic Review!  Woo! It is like I review things … weird.  Also third post in a week… unheard of.  We are getting things back on track.  Going to make blogging a habit.  Going to make reading a habit again as well.

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Series Title: Low
Volume: #2: Before the Dawn Burns Us
Issues Collected: #7-10
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 104
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: M for Mature!

If you were wondering, no, I did not review the first volume of Low, and yes, I know this is a great over sight on my part.  If you haven’t heard of this comic before you should definitely start there because this is a sequential comic and there are plot lines and characters that you will need to know from the first volume.  This is not the case for all comics, but definitely for this one.  This is not to say that this should be a problem because both volumes have been outstanding.  I might do a more in depth review of the first volume soon as well, to make up for my over sight.

TL;DR: Read the First Volume First.  It is Fantastic!

Now, on to the second volume.

My initial feelings?

*pained groan* THE ART IS SO GOOD.  IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS.  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.  I have said, again and again, if Tocchini sold prints I would buy them all.  I need them

Now I have a friend who has said that he doesn’t trust comics whose art is outstanding because often the plots can be over shadowed by this.  This may be true for some comics but I have always found that while this art is painfully gorgeous it only adds to the story being told.  There have been few comics that I feel every brush stroke adds to the story.  Figures in the background having their own plot, or doing things that would eventually show up in the main plot.  The tiniest detail can have great importance.  Some might find it distracting, but for me, it is so important.

As far as the plot goes, I don’t want to spoil the first volume if you haven’t read it.  I have to say that watching the story unfold for characters we haven’t seen for a while was interesting.

The first issue in this volume has one of the most heart breaking endings I have read in a while.  It perfectly embodies what I feel Low does so well.  It shows a post apocalyptic world as it could be in many different forms.  Each of the cities have taken a different aspect of the horrible side of human nature and upon realizing the futility of it all and the mortality of their race have fallen into depravity.  This new city has such an  interesting way of going about it.  Not only is it interesting world building but the world building has shaped the characters.  These worlds are not without consequence.  It isn’t just Remender flaunting his imagination, as I feel is the case with Black Science, the world building is pertinent to the characters and how they live their lives, their beliefs, their morals, it all comes down to where they grew up.

Everything leads into something else.

If you aren’t sold on the art, or perhaps are over sold, know that this story is so well crafted.  Pieces of it are woven together in such a way that I can do nothing but applaud it.  This comic has everything I could want and more.  I am sure that it is my favorite comic of the year and I wish more people would read it.  I have all of the issues and both of the volumes so that I can lend them to people.  Please pick it up if you haven’t already.

I hope those of you who celebrate it have a lovely Christmas Eve tomorrow and I will hopefully have a book review for you guys on Friday.  No guarantees, but I will do my best.