17.8.16

Graphic Novel Round Up Reviews!

I read quite a few graphic novels these past couple months, so I thought I would tell you my thoughts on them! I am going to share my thoughts on the series and whether or not I will be continuing to read and collect them. There are a total of 14 of them that I will be talking about here, so buckle up because you're in for a ride. Here are the ones I will be talking about, if you are looking for a specific review:
  • AMULET Volumes 1 & 2
  • SEX CRIMINALS Volume 1 & 2
  • LUMBERJANES Volume 4
  • THE WICKED + THE DIVINE Volumes 1 & 2

AMULET by Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: GRAPHIX
Series Length: 7 Volumes

Series Summary:
Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot---and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

Volume 1: The Stonekeeper

Source: Purchased from Costco
Rating: 3/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1238684.The_Stonekeeper
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
I think this one was interesting -- and I love how Emily is taking to power and becoming a leader -- but I feel like there was something ~missing from this one to make me really LOVE it. As well, I thought the text in the speech bubbles was difficult to read clearly and quickly. However, I am really interested to see how the world grows and what is to come out of the next adventures. I want to see more of the elf king and I hope that Navin gets more screentime. It's nothing out of this world but I think there are a lot of "real world" type issues that are immediately addressed and I like that there are still adults present. But this does use a lot of typical fantasy tropes and not necessarily in a good way -- at least so far.

Volume 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse

Source: Purchased from Costco
Rating: 3/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6277410-the-stonekeeper-s-curse
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
Just like with Volume 1, I think that this one is interesting but it's nothing special. The characters all feel like their tropes and while it is a good thing to have tropes in these kinds of stories, I feel like when describing these characters I could be describing a million others just like them. I don't feel any particular attachment to any one of them and couldn't care less about if Emily succumbs to the power of the amulet or beats it. I feel like it's a good MG fantasy and the stakes ARE high but I'm just not feeling it. There is a lot that could be done in this one and with these characters but it isn't happening and it is leaving me feeling underwhelmed. I'm hoping for more in the next volumes. 

SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Publisher: Image Comics
Series Length: 3 volumes + counting

Series Summary
Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks. A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here! 

Once the thrill of new lust fades, where do you go? Come along and laff and love with Matt and Chip as they brimp back ceaselessly against the past.

Volume 1: One Weird Trick

Source: Purchased from Big B Comics in Niagara Falls
Rating: 4/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19536001-sex-criminals-volume-1
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
There is so much goodness in this one, but it's also a little confusing at times. It jumps from past to present to breaking the fourth wall and it makes it a tiny bit difficult to keep track of what is happening, who knows what, etc. but I did really enjoy it.

I thought the first two issues were really interesting. I liked seeing the dynamic between Suze and Jon develop as they realized they were both affected by this curse. I thought the third issue was the best because of the karaoke scene that wasn't. But after that with the fourth and fifth issues, I had a really hard time keeping track of time and the story. It seemed to jump a little all over the place and not really allow the reader to continue on the same linear path that the first three issues had allowed.

The dialogue was crisp and clean and felt really natural. I think the art in this one is fantastic and I enjoyed all the bright colours that were attributed to the "Quiet." As well, I just really enjoyed the concept of this one -- good people doing bad things to save a library! My kind of people. BUT as a warning, if someone's dick glows, that is a BAD SIGN. Do not have sex with them. 

Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop

Source: Purchased from Chapters
Rating: 4/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23228585-sex-criminals-volume-2
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
I feel like this one was a rollercoaster. It was a slow incline and then got really exciting but was over in like 30 seconds. I didn't think it was as inticing or interesting as the first volume was (even though I rated them both the same). I am glad we learned more about Jon's past but I felt like I wanted more out of his mental illness and how it was treated. I wasn't a huge fan of the fact that the therapist he was going to see wasn't paying attention to him and his issues. I felt as though that type of negative stereotype is something that could have been done without. I did like that he started to go see someone who was attentive to him and his needs but I just was put off by the first interaction that I couldn't get past it.

I thought this one focused a bit too much on back story and not enough on the present and into the future. I would have liked to see a bit more from the relationship side but I think it is interesting that they are not the only ones with this problem and that they are actively seeking out the others. However, I'm still confused as to why there is a police brigade for this and what that means for our heroes.

LUMBERJANES by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen

Publisher: BOOM! Box
Series Length: 4 volumes + counting

Series Summary:

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.  

Volume 4: Out of Time

Source: Purchased from Big B Comics in Niagara Falls
Rating: 4/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27248586-lumberjanes-vol-4
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
I really enjoyed the first volume of LUMBERJANES and was immediately enthralled with it. I have since started collecting individual issues and have a standing pre-order with my local comic shop for the bind up graphic novels. However I felt as though volume 2 and 3, while still good, didn't quite feel like a Lumberjanes story. But Volume 4 definitely brings that back AND kicks it up a notch. 

I liked getting more of the backstory about how the camp was formed and what actually happens there -- especially the bit about how they only seemed to have been gone for a couple days when the girls thought they had been gone for weeks. I think the story is starting to come together to have an overarching goal and plot rather than just "episode" type stories.

I am very excited to see where this one heads and am glad that it is starting to feel more like the first volume rather than the last two volumes. I can't wait for volume 5! 

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Image Comics
Series Length: 4 Volumes + Counting

Series Summary:
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

Volume 1: The Faust Act

Source: Purchased from Chapters
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23093359-the-wicked-the-divine-vol-1
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review:
Have you ever read something and thought "Ah, yes this is my kind of thing"? Because that is what this comic series is for me. This series has literally everything I want in it: magic, gods, a look at morals, etc. etc. etc. and honestly I recommend it to everyone.

The art was fantastic. It was clean, bright, and engaging. I also loved how the pantheon symbols were drawn and included in the beginning of different sections to tell us who the players were. I thought that it was easy to read and determine what the sequence of panels were.

I thought the story was super intriguing. I loved all the twists and turns in this one. I liked that there was just enough information to keep us engaged without giving too much of what is to come away. As well, that cliffhanger! I need the next volume asap!

I would recommend giving this one a shot. I thought it was engaging, informative, and something a little different than what else is out there. I am definitely going to be continuing with this series.

If you enjoy it and are into anime, you could try Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works since it has a sorta similar concept and a really clean art style.

Volume 2: Fandemonium

Source: Purchased from Big B Comics in Niagara Falls
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24666002-the-wicked-the-divine-vol-2
Purchase: Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Review
Fandemonium suffers from second book syndrome. Honestly I think if I had been collecting the comics and reading them as published, I may have stopped around issue 7 or 8. This one is good and I like that it has a dark theme, but I feel like it is getting away from the writers a bit. It is almost as though they are trying to do too much in too little time. I think what was best about the first volume that we didn't see in the second was the subtle hints about what was happening and what to expect. 

But in the second volume we are introduced to a lot of characters and are shown a lot more rather than being told a little and having it left in the air. I also thought that it was almost as though too many gods were awoken this time around and I would have liked it to take a bit more time. I do like that it is really easy to distinguish between all the gods whether based on the art style, the way they speak, or the colour theme used on the page. 

I still recommend this one and I am definitely going to continue on with the series! 

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