Mercy Thompson moved to the Tri-Cities with hopes of picking up a teaching job. Instead she arrives smack in the middle of a turf war between two were...moreMercy Thompson moved to the Tri-Cities with hopes of picking up a teaching job. Instead she arrives smack in the middle of a turf war between two werewolf packs. Mercy is a walker, a shapeshifter with the power to turn into a coyote. After being raised by the Marrock (the alpha of alpha werewolves) the last thing she wants to do is get involved with werewolves again. Unfortunately, she happens to be a magnet for the supernatural. Her first job as a mechanic results in her working on a vampire's car alongside a pint sized half-fae. Before she knows it, she's hanging out in fae bars with vampires, getting visits from the local alpha werewolf, and not living that normal life she planned.
Homecoming is a nice treat for Mercy Thompson fans who want to know what happened to Mercy before Moon Called. Here we get to see a young Mercy (I would suspect around twenty-two) meeting the alpha Adam, the vampire Stefan, as well as moving into the trailer she still inhabits during the series. We also get to see smaller moments that impact the series, such as how Mercy got her cat, and how the sheep necklace made it to the Tri-cities. As a result, the story is a lot of fun to read. At times Briggs lack of experience with the comic medium does end up showing through. The story is basically solid, although somewhat disjointed. I saw ways that the author could have ordered scenes or presented information that was a little more clear. The artwork is pretty good, although the fact that the artist changes half-way through the series is somewhat jarring. One thing I didn't expect is how watching certain events take place is a lot different than reading them. For example, in the first scene, Mercy shifts from coyote to human form, which results in her running away from a pack of werewolves while stark naked. This is a much different experience actually watching the chase than if you were just to read about it.
Originally a collection of four comics, Homecoming may feel a little short for those used to a 300 page novel, but the story itself is quite fun, and the artwork is nice. Homecoming is a nice supplement for existing fans of the Mercy Thompson series who don't mind seeing the series told in a different medium.(less)
As a child, I loved fairy tales, but as I’ve grown older I’ve started to see their flaws. One of the things that have struck me the most is their port...moreAs a child, I loved fairy tales, but as I’ve grown older I’ve started to see their flaws. One of the things that have struck me the most is their portrayal of women. You can be Rapunzel, the beautiful, goodhearted maiden that must be rescued by the handsome prince, or the evil, ugly witch that locks her in the tower. With all of the modernizations of fairy tales released in the past several years, these stereotypes are often turned on their heads. Rapunzel’s Revenge is a great example of this. It, much like the traditional story of Rapunzel, tells the story of a young girl who is locked in a tower by an evil witch. Only this Rapunzel isn’t waiting for any handsome prince. She watches as her hair grows at an unnatural speed. When it becomes long enough, she lassos a nearby tree and swings herself down. Once she hits the ground, her story doesn’t stop there. She’s out to take revenge on the woman who locked her up in the first place, and rescue her enslaved mother. On her way, Rapunzel makes friends with Jack, a good humored young man who carries around a goose and a magic bean, and experiences many exciting adventures.
Rapunzel’s Revenge is a graphic novel that takes place in a fantasy world inspired by the Wild West, some of the panels even mimicking shots you might find in a western. Although the story is not quite as enchanting as Shannon Hale’s young adult fair, there’s plenty of fun to be found here. Rapunzel is a sassy heroine that happens to be a little naive of the ways of the world. Jack, with his-Xander-like personality and amusing companion (the goose), is the perfect sidekick. I enjoyed the romantic storyline that played out between the two of them. The artwork was a little uneven. At times, the bright colors and uniquely drawn characters really drew me in, but there were a few time where I felt as if it didn’t portray the characters emotions to the fullest. The action sequences are plenty of fun, although there are a couple times when the reader will have to suspend disbelief.
I would recommend this graphic novel to young readers, but also to people who enjoy children’s literature. I plowed this quick read in a few hours, and found it to be cute and fun.(less)
Blankets is an autobiographic graphic novel about the life of Craig Thompson that chronicles his youth, raised by a fundamental Christian family, and...moreBlankets is an autobiographic graphic novel about the life of Craig Thompson that chronicles his youth, raised by a fundamental Christian family, and his late teens. The story is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping back and forth between childhood and adolescence and ending in early adulthood. The first several pages of the book are grim, as they focus on a poverty stricken lifestyle, a domineering father, being bullied at school, and even hints at sexual abuse in the hands of a babysitter. I found myself mentally preparing for a downer, a depressing story of an abusive childhood that lead to an emotionally screwed up adult. But then, Thompson did something that shocked me. Instead of writing a cynical, disturbing novel of a trouble youth, we get a story of hope, growth and the impact of meaningful relationships.
There are three relationships that this book focuses on. The first is Craig’s relationship with his younger brother, who he is forced to share a bed when young (which gives us many humorous scenes). The second relationship, which takes up most of the novel, is with Raina, an emotionally complex woman who becomes his first love. The third is relationship with God and religion. I found myself completely drawn into all three storylines. I smiled at the childhood innocence that made up the young scenes with his brother. The romance scenes between him and Raina left me feeling warm and fuzzy. The exploration of religion is very well done. Although Thompson doesn’t mask his doubts or criticism of the church, he portrays the religion of Christianity quite respectfully, often weaving in Bible verses or stories to help tell the tale.
The artwork that makes up Blankets reminded me a bit of comic strips, but it’s not afraid to break out its boxes and distort reality a little to get the emotional impact. Although Thompson’s dialogue is fantastic, the story is the most compelling when drawn with minimal words, such as the time that Raina and Craig first explore each other physically.
The 592 page length does look daunting a first, but I was shocked at how fast I flew through it (I consumed it in a sitting when I was sick). There is so much more I could write about, such as his respectful portrayal of mentally handicap individuals, or the unconventional way he develops the love story, but I’ve gone on enough for long. If you’re looking for an emotional coming of age story in graphic novel formant, then I would highly recommend Blankets.(less)
Much like the Season 8 of Buffy, Angel: After the Fall shows what happened after the last episode of the series. Unlike Buffy, Angel was canceled befo...moreMuch like the Season 8 of Buffy, Angel: After the Fall shows what happened after the last episode of the series. Unlike Buffy, Angel was canceled before it’s time, and the last episode “Not Fade Away” ended on quite a cliffhanger. Following up the series with comics is not only a great gift to fans, but it’s a logical way to continue the series.
The first volume of After the Fall reads very similarly to the first Buffy arc, The Long Road Home, in the fact that the differences to the television show are startling. Thanks to Angel’s plot to take the fight to the Senior Partners, Los Angeles has been plunged into a hell dimension. Neighborhoods have been taken over by demon lords who keep humans as slaves, and the sun as the moon is out at the same time, which has a strange effect certain supernatural creatures. Fans of the show will be happy to see the return of almost all the series regulars, but may be surprised in some of the different roles that they fill. Also, a lot of minor characters, such as the werewolf Nina and Gwen, are back in larger roles, which is nice to see. Admittedly, it does take an issue to get used to all of the changes in the series. The artwork is also something that has to grow on you. Although it’s far from bad, it doesn’t quite measure up to Georges Jeanty’s work on Season Eight when it comes to portraying the characters. Angel certainly looks like Angel, and Lorne looks like Lorne, but a few of the other characters look very little like their real life companions. Still, once I got use to the changes and the artwork, I began to realize that the comic still felt like Angel to me. A lot of the plot twists seemed as if they would have fit in very well with the trends of the show, and, most importantly, the characters still sound like the characters.
Another positive thing I need to comment on is the quality of the graphic novel itself. Dark Horse gave Buffy the star treatment with gorgeous covers and its clean and effective design, but IDW’s first volume of after the fall takes the cake. It’s presented in a handsome hardcover with quality cover art. The paper is of great quality, and it even has a blood red ribbon bookmark built in to prevent dog-earing. Volume one is also filled with extras such concept art for the characters, text-less covers, and additional art for the series. We also have the original treatment for this five issue series, as written by Joss Whendon and Brian Lynch, and the script for the first issue with commentary by Brian Lynch. This volume has a hefty price tag at $24.99, but trust me, they earn your money with this one.(less)
A couple weeks ago my fiancé told me that I should read Midnight Nation. He compared it to Neverwhere, a book I’ve read recently and really enjoyed. I...moreA couple weeks ago my fiancé told me that I should read Midnight Nation. He compared it to Neverwhere, a book I’ve read recently and really enjoyed. I was skeptical at first. Neverwhere is a very British book. How could this very American story be similar? Once I started, I realized quickly that I had underestimated it. Midnight Nation tells the story what happen to people who have been forgotten by society. They fade from our world, exiting in a bleak shadow of our own universe that is patrolled by monsters. Our protagonist, Los Angeles police officer David Grey, falls into this midnight nation, but not because he’s been forgotten. His very soul has been stolen. Now, lead by a beautiful and mysterious woman named Laurel, he must make a trek to New York City to retrieve his soul, and he has less than a year to do it. If he doesn’t make it in time he will become… well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.
Midnight Nation is an incredibly well written graphic novel that works well on many different levels. On one level it’s a very complicated story about hope and the universe, but it’s also the classic struggle between good and evil. David, a police officer who struggles to do what is right, is a very likeable hero, and his guide Laurel is a well written strong woman. The reader is able to connect with them early on, making this graphic novel very hard to put down. The secondary characters are also well crafted. For example, the author could have taken the easy, more predictable way out by making the antagonist purely evil, but he instead gives him layers. The artwork not cartoonish, but instead has a sketchy realistic quality to it that suits the gritty storyline really well.
Midnight Nation is highly recommended for people looking for a story with a little meat on it. I also think it’s also a good gateway book for people that are looking to get into graphic novels, as the story is very easy to get into and hard to put down. I highly recommend this.(less)
It would be interesting to go back to the days when a book was just a book and nothing else. The twenty-first century goal appears to be to take a sto...moreIt would be interesting to go back to the days when a book was just a book and nothing else. The twenty-first century goal appears to be to take a story and make it accessible to the maximum amount of people by presenting it on as many platforms as possible. Sure, there have been movie adaptations of books for a long time, and television series as well, but now the trend is to bring the story over to a comic/graphic format. The Twilight Saga is the latest series to jump onto this trend with the release of Twilight: A Graphic Novel. As one can tell from the title, Twilight: The Graphic Novel is a straight retelling of the first book in the Twilight Saga.
Unlike other paranormal titles that have recently made the jump to sequential art, Twilight is not presented in an American comic book style, but is clearly inspired by Japanese shoujo manga/Korean manhwa. This seems like an wise choice from a marketing standpoint, as plenty of teenage girls, Twilight's main fan group, are likely to already have jumped on the manga train. As a reader, it makes a lot of sense to me considering the Twilight Series often read like a text-only shoujo series, with it's over the top drama/romance, and emphasis on good looking guys. In this adaptation, Young Kim does a really good job with the artwork, which comes off as very flowing and romantic. The illustrations are presented in mostly black and white with the occasional splash of color to either assist with storytelling or enhance Bella's surroundings. The character designs are obviously not based off of their movie counterparts, and feel truer to their descriptions in the book than the movie cast.
Admittedly, it's been a long time since I've read the novel Twilight, but the graphic novel seems to do a solid job at adapting the story. While I was reading it, I couldn't help but compare it to the recent movie adaptations, which have been pretty faithful the source material, but ultimately lack the charm and magic of the novels. This is less of an issue here. There are a few pages that feel too dialogue heavy, but for the most part the story flows really well from page to page. The graphic novel reads impossibly fast, a little too fast if you ask me. Price at a hefty twenty dollars, the graphic novel only covers a portion of the actual novel, focusing on the early development of Bella and Edward's relationship, and ending soon after Edward's big reveal in the sunlight. I know that it takes a long time for the artist to adapt a work to this detailed style, but I couldn't help but wished that we had gotten to see the entire novel. Still, I can't really complain as I got this book off of paperbackswap, and technically didn't pay anything for it, but I can only imagine that may bother people who have paid full price.
The first volume of Twilight: The Graphic Novel is sure to appeal to fans of the Twilight Saga, and manga/manhwa inspired artwork. Obviously, they are planning on at least finishing up adapting the novel Twilight. If they chose to continue the series, I'm curious to see how Kim's pretty artwork will handle some of the more violent moments later in the series. (less)