Series

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superman Action Comics Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics Volume 2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics (Action Comics III, Volume #2 – DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 130 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 30th 2017)

Another great comic, featuring some of our favourite people – including Clark Kent, Superman (no, they’re not the same person), Lois, Jon and even Superwoman.

Carrying on from the previous volume, we’re waiting to discover who this new Superman is after the original Superman’s death, not to mention the mysterious Clark Kent who’s turned up too. And tying into Superwoman, Lana is still mourning the death of her friend when the replacement Lois turns up.

I’ve found this plot really intriguing – what happened to Superman and Lois Lane? Where have all these “replacements” come from?

The first issue(s) in this volume touch(es) on Lex becoming the new Superman, featuring several other famous heroes. Again, this ties in to Superwoman.

I love Jon, and it’s nice to see Lois and Clark/Superman making themselves a little life together. And I like how the different Clarks and Lois’ have their little differences as characters, despite technically being the same people. And Jon is trying to cope with the change in lifestyle, with this whole new world.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I think this is a really interesting story currently. It’s a good comic in general, and I plan to keep up with it. 4 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Blue Beetle Volume #1: The More Things Change

The More Things Change

Blue Beetle (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: The More Things Change by Keith Giffen – eBook, 146 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 10th 2017)

I really didn’t know much about this comic before. All I knew about Blue Beetle is that my boyfriend pointed out how he, in Injustice 2, has a face like Groot. I just can’t unsee it now.

Another teen hero – but one that was not raised into the role. Jaime Reyes has a strange beetle attached to his back, found by him and his friends. With the “help” of Ted Kord, Jaime goes into some pretty interesting scenarios, playing hero. And then Doctor Fate makes an appearance, warning them about the scarab being “unreliable”. Extensive tests on Jaime bring to light what is happening to him.

He runs into The Posse, a gang who are well-acquainted with Jaime’s mother. And then Mordecai shows up, threatening Mrs Reyes’s life. But it’s not her he’s after.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I won’t lie, I kind of had no idea what exactly was happening half the time. I liked the banter and humour in this – especially with Ted Kord – but I couldn’t really keep up with the main plot. Maybe if I read more, I’ll understand what’s going on. I’m not sure. 3 stars for this.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Supergirl Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Supergirl (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen by Steve Orlando – eBook, 166 pages – Published April 4th 2017 by DC Entertainment

I went on a little comic spree yesterday and this is my favourite of the three I read. It was my first introduction to the Supergirl series, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more!

Kara Zor-El, the cousin to Superman, is sent to Earth while her home city is dying. She;s given a secret identity, a human life to lead under the name of Kara Danvers. Her human parents try to help her settle in and live like a normal human, going to school with other teens and even learning to drive a car. But then her father – who she thought was dead – returns, with some strange new (and very modern) changes.

I love Kara as a character. She’s a sassy teen, but she also has so much more going on. She’s from a whole different planet, she lost her parents (twice, now) and has to make decisions that no teenager could ever dream of.

And the art style in this is a bit different to other comics – more sketchy, kind of sharper. I liked it.

The overall plot was really good – Kara’s dad, Zor-El, is trying to rebuild Argon for her. But his visions are twisted, and he’s causing harm to Kara’s new family while trying to bring back her old one.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This was easily one of my favourite comics I’ve read. 5 stars. It was so interesting and exciting and I just love Kara’s character so much.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Who Killed Superwoman? (Superwoman: DC Universe Rebirth Volume #1) by Phil Jimenez – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 9th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published April 4th 2017)

I finished this ARC this morning, just one day before the file expires. Oops.

So the protagonist of this novel is Lana Lang – probably a lesser-known character from the DC Universe. She, along with the infamous Lois Lane, doubles as a Superwoman – protecting the city now that Superman is gone. Of course, they still have Lex Luthor playing Superman, but he seems to be bringing more trouble than good.

I won’t ruin it for any potential readers, but I will tell you this: Lex’s past is really coming back to haunt him now. After all these years, there appears to be a new Luthor on the block…

My favourite part of this was Lana’s battle with anxiety. Yeah, I know, I always point out stuff like that. But this was really good – I found it so relatable at times. It was so refreshing to see a big superhero character have human issues like anxiety.

And I actually found myself feeling kinda sorry for Lex. He was only trying to help (though I suppose we all know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions).

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I really liked this volume. The art was great, the plot interesting, and the characters relatable. 4 out of 5 stars. A series I’ll be reading more of.

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Manga/Graphic Novel Review: The Beast’s Tale

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

A few days ago I posted my review of the first instalment of this collection, Belle’s Tale.

The Beast's Tale

The Beast’s Tale (Beauty and the Beast #2) by Mallory Reaves – eBook, 178 pages – Published March 2017 by TokyoPop

There’s not a whole lot extra I can say about this one, as I mentioned the art style last time. I did like how this featured the Beast’s side – as the title suggests – and therefore provides more insight into his own experiences and feelings. It was nice to read these two parts together; the same story but from different perspectives. I think it was a pretty unique was of telling the classic fairytale.

This has never been my favourite story, but I still enjoyed it. I preferred this book to the first one, as it seems a bit more original and took a bit of a new turn on the original story. Overall, a strong 3.5 stars.

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Manga/Graphic Novel Review: Belle’s Tale

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I’ve never actually read the original book of Beauty and the Beast but I love manga and thought I’d request a review copy from the publisher. I’m assuming it’s been kept pretty close to the original story, but like I said, I don’t really know.

Belle's Tale

Belle’s Tale (Beauty and the Beast Volume #1) by Mallory Reaves – eBook, 178 pages – Published March 2017 by TokyoPop

Most people are pretty familiar with the general plot of this tale, where Belle meets the Beast and is kept prisoner in exchange for her father’s freedom. She discovers the truth about what happened to her mother all those years ago, and begins to fall in love with the once-terrifying Beast. But when the village learns of his existence, they are not welcoming or friendly toward him. And his time is running out…

I’ve always found it to be a bit of a weird story, but I suppose it is kind of cute? But this review isn’t on the plot, as this is just an adaptation of the original. The art that’s used is quite nice, not particularly outstanding in my opinion but still good. I always find these manga adaptations to be a lot easier to understand, but the watermark on this review copy did get in the way a bit! Obviously, you won’t have that issue if you buy the novel, though.

If you’re a fan of the classic tale then you’d probably really like this. And it’d make a great gift, I think. 3.5 stars.

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Book Review: Evil Rises

Evil Rises

Evil Rises (Noah Reid #0.5) by Wesley Robert Lowe – eBook, 42 pages – First published June 10th 2014

This is just a short prequel to Lowe’s Noah Reid series, with a little extract from the first book included at the end. The story itself is only about 35 pages long.

There’s a little intro to the culture and the origin of Shaolin Martial Arts, which is an important theme in this story. It helped to understand the story, so I appreciated that detail.

The beginning of this story is almost a prequel to the prequel; the childhood experience of Wudan, who would later become Master Wu. Why he chose to take up Shaolin training, and then why he decided to leave “Heaven” to teach the art to others.

The protagonist of the series, Noah, is introduced in this story. He’s not a big character here, though – we’re simply given a taste of what he’ll be like and what purpose he will serve. Instead, this story focuses on some of Master Wu’s students: Tommy, Garret, and (presumably) the antagonist of the series, Chin. We see how Chin went from a young student to a criminal businessman, and are even given some of his motives. And then, after a tragic “accident”, we see his former friends and colleagues planning to defeat him when the time comes.

I like the idea of this, and having all this backstory is really interesting. But this was one of those books that just didn’t stand put to me. The writing seemed mediocre, the characters average at best. I didn’t dislike it, exactly, but it didn’t really excite or interest me. 2.5 stars, as it wasn’t awful but it just wasn’t my kind of thing.

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Graphic Novel Review: American Vampire Volume #1

American Vampire Volume #1

American Vampire Volume #1 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King – Paperback, 192 pages – Published November 1st 2011 by Titan Publishing Company (first published October 5th 2010)

I’ve decided to check out more graphic novels at the local library, and have started going through alphabetically. Which is how I found this series, by Stephen King, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.

It’s an adult graphic novel, complete with tons of action and obscenities. It’s set back in the 19th and 20th Centuries, in – you guessed it – America. It’s about a new breed of vampires; the American Vampire, stronger and less vulnerable than the original European vampire.

Of course, the two groups are rivals. Best friends fight each other, and one person welcomes death instead of becoming a monster. It’s all very interesting and exciting. The art is great, too – it really portrays the action and danger and monstrosity of the vampires.

But I, personally, got a bit lost and confused with the timeline – there are dates and everything, but I often forget them. And all the different characters got a bit confusing for me, too, but that might be because I didn’t have the time to sit down and really focus on the novel.

I’m still planning on reading the next few volumes of this series. It’s really interesting, and I like this new breed of vampires. As for the young girl born at the end….. I wonder where that will go! 3 stars.

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Book Review: Ensnared

Ensnared

Ensnared by A.G. Howard (Splintered #3) – Paperback, 416 pages – Published January 13th 2015 by Amulet books

I read the first novel of the Splintered series and immediately fell in love with it – purchasing the entire series as paperbacks. This is book #3 in the series by A.G. Howard.

If you haven’t read the first two novels then I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But I will say what I can about the plot and character development (of which there is plenty).

Alyssa takes us on another crazy journey, from the human realm through AnyElsewhere and, of course, Wonderland. Again, she finds herself stuck between her two halves – and between her two loves.

Along with her parents, Morpheus and Jeb, Alyssa must banish Red’s spirit forever, return Wonderland to its former glory, and find a way to balance the two halves of her heart. But the travel to this magical realm has changed Jeb, and he’s found something he’s not willing to leave behind anymore.

There’s a lot of madness and magic in this, which is my favourite part. The pure craziness and mystery of Carroll’s Wonderland is captured beautifully by Howard. There are weird and terrifying creatures – my favourite being the strange butterflies native to AnyElsewhere, even if they do endanger the life of one of our beloved characters – as well as beautiful landscapes and clever backstories. The whole origin of Carroll’s story is put into question, Alyssa slowly uncovering how he discovered the magical land all those years ago.

The main part of this is about Alyssa trying to placate the two halves of her heart. After her previous run-in with Queen Red, there’s something strange going on inside her heart – something that hurts when her human side and netherling side are fighting. What’s wrong with her? How can she live like this?

And Morpheus and Jeb still aren’t the best of friends, either. They’re almost constantly competing for her affections – despite being stuck alone together for who knows how long. I’m always routeing for Morpheus, even if he is a bit of a troublemaker.

The ending is quite a nice compromise, a clever and clean way to stitch everything together. And the epilogue is really good, in my opinion. I won’t tell you what happens. But it’s short and brief, leaving so many questions and opportunities at the end that makes me reeeally want to read the companion book.

It is sometimes a little too perfect, if you know what I mean, but it’s not sickeningly good or sweet. I think the solutions they conjure are really creative and clever, and when they’re in trouble I’m always wondering what they’ll come up with this time.

As for development, Jeb and Morpheus have a clear “epiphany” sort of moment toward the end. But I found that Alyssa also developed a lot, slowly – little realisations that shape her being over time, shape her as a queen.

I do love a good Wonderland story. This isn’t, in my personal opinion, quite as the first novels, but I still really enjoyed it. 4 stars for Ensnared.

Check this book out on Amazon here.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Adventure Time Volume #6

Adventure Time Volume 6

Adventure Time Vol. #6 by Ryan North – Paperback, 128 pages – Published April 3rd 2015 by Titan Comics

Another fun little read from Titan Comics. There’s not much that’s new to talk about here – Finn, Jake and their friends are off on more colourful adventures, this time involving ghosts. The characters will mostly all be familiar from the show and previous comics, except for a new foe here and there.

The art is as bold and wonderful as always, and the stories are all just as fun as usual. There’s even the theme of mistakenly generalising negative beliefs across a whole community, which is such a relevant lesson for people to learn in this world.

There isn’t much else to say about this, but I definitely recommend these comics for a nice, light read sometimes. I’m revising for exams currently and have loved relaxing with this. They’re appropriate to every age group – kids will love it, and the YA community are crazy about this franchise. Just because it may be a “kid’s” story, I think anyone can appreciate them.

4 stars! A bit of fun, with important lessons intertwined. I love these.

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