Comic Review Bites: The NetGalley Haul

With thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read advanced copies of these graphic novels in exchange for honest reviews.

Spera vol.3 by Josh Tierney: Spera began as an online comic that is now on its third volume. It tells the story of two exiled princesses, Lono and Pira, who’ve escaped into the world of Spera. Working as adventurers, the friends and their companions, a cat, a fire spirit and Adel, go where adventure takes them! Adventure involves being trailed by members of Lono’s court who blame her for betraying and abandoning her people in the face of war, and later, in trying to reignite a fire spirit.

The princesses initially seem like the typical princess and the princess who wants to defy the princess stereotypes, but there is so much more to them. My daughters and I were smitten/grossed out when the princesses attempted to eat bugs and anything else they could find like proper adventurers. Their quests play on RPGs and the entire main story is filled with a lot of quirkiness and heart. The artwork is also really impressive, particularly since there is a different artist for each section. The girls and I really enjoyed reading this and think this would make a fascinating cartoon.

My Little Pony – Pony Tales: I did say I wanted more Pinkie Pie and I definitely got lots with an entire story dedicated just to her – along with stories spotlighting each of the mane (lol) team. The moral of each story comes down to friendship, as per the apparent requirements of a series with “friendship is magic” as the subtitle. Unlike the other MLP comics I’ve read with the girls, the ponies don’t use magical friendship to solve these problems. They use actual friendship, from Rarity helping out the hippies to Twilight Sparkle inspiring a recluse.

Once again a fun time spent reading this with my daughters. The MLP comics have proven to be fun for all three of us.

Cyborg 009: This is a re-imagining of Shotaro Ishinomori’s original manga classic. I have not read the original, but this re-imagining seems to hold to the simplistic roots, while updating the story with more modern and mature art. This is about a cyborg named Joe to find his body worked over with technology and no memories of his past. His first test is to kill his predecessors, 001 through 008, but they have plans of their own and take him along on their escape from the evil company seeking to dominate the world with cyborg super soldiers.

This was a good introduction to the major players and plot of good versus evil, adding a bit of emotion and motivation by way of Joe pursuing his life after his memories return. It sets up for a promising story, while paying homage to its source.

Bandette vol.1: Presto by Paul Tobin: Bandette is a fun, charming Robin Hood-esque criminal who is as much a bane to the police as to the criminals she sometimes helps them apprehend. Bandette is a cat burglar with a love for art and literature but her heart lies with her “urchins,” various groups of young people within the city whom she can summon to her aid as the perfect distractions. Everyone but the bad guys and the inspector she continuously foils loves Bandette, including the handsome Danny, whom she elegantly strings along.

This was a cute and campy read that continuously brought a smile to my face. Her banter was cute and I especially appreciated the technical pages at the end describing the process from word to image.

East of West vol.1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman: The horsemen of the apocalypse are reborn only to find that one of their number is missing. Where oh where could Death be? Well, he’s busy wreaking unholy vengeance on those who wronged him of course! But this isn’t simply a tale of brutal violence. Death has a very valid purpose to his onslaught, and the revelation and the heights that revelation takes the story to is one of the amazing things about this graphic novel. Meanwhile, the remaining horsemen, in the form of very frightening children, are searching for him, and the Chosen are working to bring about the end of the world, as promised in The Message.

This is an alternate history that deviates ’round about the US civil war because of The Message and its contents. Initially, things are wonderfully unclear, with the mystery slowly teased out with some truly shocking reveals, none of which I could possibly expect. Needless to say, I am in definite need of more…

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