Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Renato Jones, Season Two: The Freelancer by Kaare Kyle Andrews

Renato Jones, Season Two: The Freelancer
by Kaare Kyle Andrews
Published by Image Comics • January 30, 2018
136 Pages • ISBN 978-1534303386 • Paperback



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Book description:
Mysterious vigilante Renato Jones showed the One% that for all their money, for all their power, they are not untouchable. But now they're pushing back, and resulting class warfare may be more than even Renato can handle. When full-time villains control the whole word the only hero who can take on the job is self-employed… a Freelancer.

KAARE KYLE ANDREWS proudly presents Season Two of the most dangerous comic on the planet!

Collecting
Renato Jones Season Two #1-5


What started out as a satire of the current political climate in the US quickly grew into a scathing commentary about where we are probably going as a country. Renato Jones is Andrews way of dealing with the mess that our country has become over the last couple years, and it is brilliant, hyper violent, and continues to be one of my favorite books Image is releasing right now.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Doctor Who meets Mister Men by Adam Hargreaves


Dr. Second by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-0515158502 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • August 29, 2017

Dr. Third by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-1524784935 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • February 6, 2018

Dr. Fifth by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-1524784942 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • February 6, 2018

Dr. Sixth by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-1524784966 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • February 6, 2018

Dr. Seventh by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-0515158519 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • August 29, 2017

Dr. Eighth by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-0515158526 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • August 29, 2017

Dr. Ninth by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-0515158533 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • August 29, 2017

Dr. Tenth by Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages • ISBN 978-1524784959 • Paperback
Published by Penguin Young Readers Licenses • February 6, 2018



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Book description:
These storybook mash-ups, written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves, combine the iconic storytelling of Doctor Who with the whimsical humor and design made famous by his father, Roger Hargreaves.


I know there isn't much to any of these books (I only count 4 of them as a whole book), but as a fan of the Mister Men books and a certified Whovian, I think these books are hysterical fun. Each is illustrated and told in the fashion of the Mister Men books, and each Doctor and the Companions in the books are written very closely to their live-action counterparts.

Now, we will just need a Dr. Thirteenth adventure come the end of the year to complete the set!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gotham by Gaslight: A Tale of the Batman by Brian Augustyn, illustrated by Mike Mignola & P. Craig Russell

Gotham by Gaslight: A Tale of the Batman
by Brian Augustyn, illustrated by Mike Mignola & P. Craig Russell
Published by DC Comics • March 12, 2013
112 Pages • ISBN 978-1401211530 • Paperback



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Book description:
Presenting a new edition of the title collecting the adventures of the Victorian era Batman. This volume includes the breakthrough Elseworlds epics GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT and MASTER OF THE FUTURE, which pit the Dark Knight against Jack the Ripper and a death-dealer from the skies over Gotham. This title features artwork by Mike Mignola (HELLBOY) and P. Craig Russell (THE SANDMAN).


Gotham by Gaslight is a unique retelling of the Batman origin. This book was actually the starting point for DC's later Elseworlds series due to its popularity. The Elseworlds series took their characters and reset them in time periods or circumstances different from their established histories and told one shot stories around these new ideas. The other interesting bit about this new (old) Batman story is that it can be considered a Steampunk Batman tale, before Steampunk was as popular as it is today.

Gotham by Gaslight follows the basic idea of Bruce Wayne/Batman's origin, with Bruce Wayne's family being murdered in front of him as a young boy and him later in life going out into the world to recreate himself into a force of good against evil as Batman. The difference here, however, is that this all takes place in the 1890s and his first adversary is Jack the Ripper. (This isn't spoiling anything. You learn that Jack the Ripper is in this book on the very first page.)

The real star of this book is the art by Mike Mignola. Fans of his Hellboy series will appreciate his dark and shadowy graphic sense, which ultimately lends itself perfectly to this tale. I think anybody who is a fan of Batman, or of Steampunk and is at least familiar with the Batman mythos, will find this quick read enjoyable.

This newer edition of the graphic novel also includes the lesser impressive sequel, Mast of the Future, which finds Batman up against a more generic villain and while the story is good, neither the art nor the writing is quite up the to the first volume's originality.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin
Published by Vintage Books • December 1, 1992
128 Pages • ISBN 978-0679744726 • Paperback



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Book description:
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.


The second selection from David Bowie's son's online book club honoring Bowie's love of books, Baldwin's The Fire Next Time was originally written in the 1960s, and is just as important today, if not more so as it shows just how little we've come as a society. Collecting a letter that Baldwin wrote to his nephew on the the hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation and an essay on Baldwin's thoughts about where the country was at the time in regards to civil rights, it's disheartening to think that he could just as easily be writing about the current climate in the US.

Jim Henson's The Power of the Dark Crystal, Vol 1 by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Jim Henson's
The Power of the Dark Crystal, Vol 1
by Simon Spurrier,
illustrated by Kelly and Nichole Matthews
Published by Archaia • October 31, 2017
112 Pages • ISBN 978-1608869923 • Hardcover



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Book description:
An official sequel to Jim Henson’s cult classic fantasy film The Dark Crystal.

Years have passed since the Dark Crystal was healed and peace was restored on Thra. Though Jen and Kira have ruled as King and Queen, they have become distracted by power. The planet is sick and those on the surface of Thra are not the only ones effected. A mysterious race of creatures called Firelings live in a realm near the planet’s core, hidden from the Gelfling and their kingdom. A young Fireling named Thurma is tasked with stealing a shard of the Crystal to restore power to her world. Along the way she’ll befriend the young Gelfling Kensho, conjure the Skeksis and Mystics, and embark on one incredible adventure.

Written by Simon Spurrier (
The Spire, X-Men Legacy) and lushly illustrated by Kelly and Nichole Matthews (Toil & Trouble), The Power of the Dark Crystal includes behind-the-scenes materials on the making of this sure to be classic tale of wonder.


Picking up 100 years after the events of The Dark Crystal, the land of Thra is lush and vibrant, a world basking in the glow of the healed Crystal. Or, at least that's what the Crystalline Eminence wants everyone, including Jen and Kira, to believe. Jen and Kira slumber in the glow of the Crystal, trusting that the world of Thra is still at peace. In their absence, the Crystalline Eminence has convinced the inhabitants of Thra that in order for them to bask in the glow and be healed by the Crystal, they must bring tributes to the Crystal, and without a tribute, they are turned away. This is not the world that Jen and Kira dream of in their slumber. Thra is sick, and they are unaware.

When Thurma, a young Fireling (beings who live in the flames of the core of Thra), is sent to beseech help from the Gelflings who rule Thra, she sets in motion events that she does not truly understand, because she is sent to request a shard of Crystal, which her elders say will rekindle the dying flames of their world. When she is turned away, Thurma takes matter into her own hands and cracks the Crystal again, freeing once again both the Mystics and Skeksis. As she flees the Castle of the Crystle, Thurma is entirely unaware of the evil that she has let lose into the world again.

I loved this story. Based on a script that was written as the sequel to the film, this reads just like the original movie feels. All of the characters from the film make an appearance, including Aughra and Fizzgig, and everyone feels like themselves. Simon Spurrier has expertly captured the characters voices and personalities. Kelly and Nichole Matthews' art is spot on perfect for this project, with a lovely natural flow to the art that breathes life into the land people of Thra.

I wish this had been made into a film; I'm wildly curious as to how they would have created Thurma in puppet form. However, being given the opportunity to read what could have been in film is still just as thrilling. If you're a fan of The Dark Crystal, this is essential reading.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 2018 Recap

  1. The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Vol 1 by Nagabe
  2. The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Vol 2 by Nagabe
  3. The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Vol 3 by Nagabe
  4. Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire's End by Chuck Wendig
  5. Saga, Vol 7 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
  6. Saga, Vol 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples 
  7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Graphic Adaptation) by Chuck Wendig, illustrated by Luke Ross
  8. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
  9. I Hate Fairyland, Vol 3: Good Girl by Skottie Young

Pick of the Month
The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Vol 1-3 by Nagabe


January 2018
Number of books read: 9
Number of pages: 1,908

Number of books acquired: 26
Number of those books read: 2


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 9
Number of pages: 1,908

Number of books acquired: 26
Number of those books read: 2

I Hate Fairyland, Vol 3: Good Girl by Skottie Young

I Hate Fairyland, Vol 3: Good Girl
by Skottie Young
Published by Image Comics • October 24, 2017
136 Pages • ISBN 978-1534303300 • Paperback



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Book description:
Gert finally realizes that being such a murderous maniac might be the reason she’s not been able to find her way out of the candy-coated world of Fairyland that has been her nightmare for over forty years. She sets off on a new quest to redeem herself and tries to earn her way back home with good deeds and kindness and love an whatever other mushy, touchy-feely things she can manage.

The epic and hilarious fantasy quest continues from fan favorite cartoonist SKOTTIE YOUNG

Collecting issues 11 through 15.


This volume felt a little less episodic than the previous one, but still seemed to jump from one scenario to the faster and faster to get to the end of the story arc. However, SPOILER ALERT after having a revelation that being her usual murderous self may not actually be working in her favor, Gert changes her ways and finally finds her key, and all looks like it is finally working in Gert's favor, but of course this is Skottie Young and he can't let Gert off that easily. The twist at the end was spot on perfect for this series, and I can't wait to see how this next story arc plays out.

Full of Young's typical dark humor and wildly outrageous art, and Nate Piekos continues to explode retinas with his eyeball-popping colors, I Hate Fairyland continues to be one of my favorite series coming out of Image these days.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Neverworld Wake
by Marisha Pessl
Published by Delacorte • June 5, 2018
192 Pages • ISBN 978-0399553929 • Hardcover



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Book description:
Enter a realm where fears are physical and memories come alive in this absorbing psychological suspense thriller with a twist, from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film.

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim--their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend--changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft--the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world--hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim's death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she's never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.


OK, so I've now been trying to write a review that doesn't give anything away about this book, and I can't. So I'll just give you my general impressions about aspects of the book. I've been sitting on my review of Marisha Pessl's Neverworld Wake for a couple of days now, wondering how I wanted to write this. On the one hand, this is typical Pessl, with a twisting, unpredictable story that doesn't necessarily end up where you think it will. On the other, this is Pessl's first foray into YA, and I think it suffered a little from that. Almost all of her characters come from some life of ridiculous privilege and by halfway thru the book, I had grown very tired of hearing about it, because inevitably it felt like she needed to remind us of their privilege and untouchability. Maybe it was just me, but it felt a little heavy handed on Pessl's part. Add to that, unless I missed it, is there is no real explanation for what is happening to the characters. There's some half-cocked reasoning behind it all, but there is no solid answer to the question, "Why? Why does this happen? Why do these characters need to make this decision?" Maybe it was the fact that this book was far too easy to put down and that it took me almost all month to read it because it wasn't holding my attention all that well and by the end of the month and finishing the book, I wasn't entirely sure I remembered what happened at the beginning, and didn't care enough to go back to reread portions to get caught back up.

I don't know, maybe others will find this enthralling, but for me, I just ended up having more questions than answers by the end. I feel like this should honestly be a 2 star book, but at the end of the day, I kept thinking about it more and more, so I guess that garnered it an extra star? Maybe?

And to be honest, I really wish I'd been reading the book being referenced to in Neverworld Wake far more than NW. Maybe someday, we'll get that book, because that one sounded intriguing as hell.


I received an advanced print copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Graphic Adaptation) by Chuck Wendig, illustrated by Luke Ross

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(Graphic Adaptation)

by Chuck Wendig, illustrated by Luke Ross
Published by Marvel • November 21, 2017
144 Pages • ISBN 978-1302902032 • Paperback



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Book description:
It's been three decades since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star and toppled the Galactic Empire...but now, on the remote planet of Jakku...there is a stirring in the Force. A young scavenger named Rey...a deserting storm trooper named Finn...an ace pilot name Poe...and a dark apprentice named Kylo Ren... Their lives are about to collide as the awakening begins. Writer Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath) and artist Luke Ross (Hercules) take us back into the saga of a lifetime!

COLLECTING:
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS ADAPTATION 1-6


I know this is an adaptation of the film, but when it is a word for word, scene for scene rehash with absolutely nothing new added, the redundancy of the project becomes wildly apparent. I guess I just expect to have something new added in to make it worth my time and money. I probably won't be picking up any future adaptations if they are this one dimensional.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Saga, Vol 7 & 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples


Saga, Vol 7 & Saga, Vol 7
by Brian K. Vaughan,
illustrated by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics
2017/2018 • 152 Pages
ISBN 978-1534300606
ISBN 978-1534303492
Paperback




Vol 7 at AmazonVol 8 at Amazon
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Saga, Vol 7
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Saga, Vol 8
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Book description:
Saga, Vol 7
From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.

Collects issues 37 through 42.


Saga, Vol 8
After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

Collects issues 43 through 48.


Saga is another series that continues to surprise me with how much I enjoy it. I did not like the first volume of the collected editions the first time I read it, and set the entire series aside in my head. Cut to about a year later, and a friend convinced me to give the series a try again, so I picked up the first volume again and something clicked for me this time - the story really stuck with me (Vaughn's writing really hit home for me the second reading), and Staples artwork is spot on perfect for this story.

As the series has progressed, it has become way more timely and aware of what's going on in the real world today and bringing those themes into the story; themes of acceptance for those who are different (or lack of acceptance in some cases), trans rights, women's rights, etc. What started out to me as being a simple battle between two cultures who cannot accept each other's differences has become a story that is still about these problems, but one that is now holding up a mirror to what's going on in the real world. Staples art has continued to shine issue after issue and while there does seem to be a whole lot of nothing happening from one story arc to another, the storytelling is still strong and Vaughn continues to move the characters along, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I'd like, but it still seems to work. I'll continue to read this series as long as Vaughn and Staples continue to out out such strong work.