Swankivy's Reviews > Steven Universe: Playing by Ear (Vol. 6): Playing by Ear

Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar
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it was amazing

This is the sixth graphic novel compilation of the ongoing Steven Universe comics!

As with many comics originally released in individual issues, the publishers later released this trade paperback compilation of the issues 21 through 24 in Volume 6, with more volumes scheduled for release after the individual issues have been out a while.

I had already written outlines and reviews of the four comics as they came out. There’s not much point in writing up rereleased content, but just for your info, I’ll spotlight the included stories and list the variant covers!

(They call the issues “chapters” in this compilation.)

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE is about Peridot learning a new skill: guitar-playing! Her challenges include learning chords and accepting that new skills do not always come immediately and efficiently, but anything is possible with lessons from the amazing Mr. Universe.

For issue 21 there were only two covers included; they have continued the trend of reducing the covers to only a main cover and a subscription cover now.

1. The main cover: Steven, Lapis, Amethyst, and Peridot in a band (with two of them in Camp Pining Hearts clothes), by Missy Peña (also the front cover image of the collection).
2. Subscription cover: The group down on the beach in front of the Temple, by Scott Maynard.

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO is about Vidalia and Onion coming over for dinner–and, in Onion’s case, causing some anxiety and danger for Steven.

For issue 22, here are the two covers included:

1. Main cover: Steven doing a dramatic pose surrounded by roses and one Cookie Cat, by Missy Peña.
2. Subscription cover: The Gems running on the beach with Steven in the front carrying his backpack and a determined expression, by Lanna Souvanny.

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE is about Garnet learning to care for Cat Steven–with help from Connie and Steven!

For issue 23, here are the two covers included:

1. Main cover: Ruby and Sapphire with their hands clasped, joyful, by Missy Peña.
2. Subscription cover: Instant photos on a desk in front of a Keep Beach City Weird laptop screen, presumably Ronaldo’s, by Alex Chiu.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR is about Steven looking for a special place to take Connie as a reward for doing well on a test–with the help of the Crystal Gems!

For issue 24, here are the two covers included:

1. Main cover: Steven, Connie, and Pearl in dance wear doing a pose, by Missy Peña.
2. Subscription cover: A four-way video game play by Pearl, Amethyst, Steven, and Connie, with Garnet waving a small flag in the back, by Ayme Sotuyo.

There is NO other new content in the book, so if you only care about having all the stories and already own individual issues, there is no need to get this. But if you prefer having them all together and want the variant cover art, pick it up!

There were some very cute ones in this collection–I loved the depth they spent on Peridot interacting with Greg to learn music, and Garnet trying to be a cat mom was some of the most hilariously adorable and true-to-character Garnet stuff in this run. Seeing Pearl reveal a special place to her and Rose was so nice when seeing it repurposed. The Onion-focused one wasn’t quite as much fun for me, but it was still really interesting to see Onion learn some connection with Steven’s needs and watching Vidalia enjoy time with Amethyst. I love all of this.

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Reading Progress

February 25, 2020 – Started Reading
February 25, 2020 – Shelved
February 25, 2020 – Finished Reading

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