Comic Review Bites

Saga Volume 3

The last volume ended with a stand-off that seemed to spell certain doom for our protagonists. I expected to step into the aftermath of this, but instead, Vaughan went backward, giving us the little human moments that make this little dysfunctional family so wonderfully endearing. From playing board games to arguments to questionable coping mechanisms, I adore the way Vaughan makes these out of this world creatures exactly like you and I. It’s impossible not to empathize with someone or some thing in this book, and it’s easy to get caught up in those moments—only to remember that certain doom is most likely heading their way. As future baby Hazel continues to narrate the story of her parents’ forbidden love, the dark reminder that this story will have a bittersweet ending still hovers quietly over every moment.

Alternate review: OH MY FEEEEEELS!!!

Extinction Parade

Max Brooks has given us a new spin on the zombie apocalypse with World War Z (the book, not the movie, which didn’t give us much of a new spin at all). In this comic, he does so again. Unlike WWZ, the “subdead” are front and centre in very gory detail, but there is something notably missing: the humans. That is, the humans as the main characters, whose adventures we usually follow as they try to survive. Instead, we have a very interesting twist: a pair of female vampires. Apex predators who have lived through decades, watching humanity grow and change and feeding on us all the while. Now that this plague has taken over, they are no longer bound to many of the rules they once were. But as the pair revel in this new world order, they are blissfully unaware of one simple fact: their food supply is dwindling.

With thanks to NetGalley and Image Comics for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

Pretty Deadly Volume 1

This is a dark, western fairy tale of sorts about a love triangle gone wrong—as is to be expected when a beautiful woman has Death’s love child and that love child becomes a deadly assassin intent on hunting down the man who caused all the pain in the first place, who is busy trying to protect a little girl who…. Um… Let’s go back a bit. The first part of the story builds an ethereal mystery surrounding this love triangle and a little girl in a vulture mask, her companion, Fox, and the deadly women who are hunting them. There are a few other characters who become involved, and at about half way, when the major twist is revealed in a stunning moment, I really started to like this book. With that revelation, the pacing of the story picked up significantly, with all the mystery more or less solved as everyone rushes toward Death. This rush made the ending falter, with little time taken for the reader to get used to new direction, or time for the characters to make anything of themselves. Perhaps this will come in further issues, but for the moment, I felt the second half of the story was a let down simply because it moved too quickly.

With thanks to NetGalley and Image Comics for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

There are a few major storylines from the ‘80s X-Men that I missed out on. With the movie now in theatres, it was time to catch up on one of the more iconic ones. I was disappointed to discover that this collection is not entirely focused on the Days of Future Past storyline. Instead, it opens with Jean Grey’s funeral (the very first one!), with Scott basically going through flashbacks of the X-Men and his love for Jean. The Days of Future Past story does not take place until the second or third issue in the collection, and is surprisingly not very long. But the important thing is that it establishes where human hate of mutants can and will lead if the X-Men don’t do their job well. It’s an interesting storyline, but I think the impact is lost for me because of the brevity. While I knew all the characters, there wasn’t enough time to appreciate them within this timeline and therefore mourn their losses when I knew the events would be remedied a few panels later. That said, sentinels and the anti-mutant sentiment certainly did become a major issue for the X-Men after this, so the impact of the theme made it worth the read.

Gotham Central Volume 1: In the Line of Duty

Gary Oldman ordered Ben McKenzie to do his homework when he was cast as Jim Gordon in the upcoming Gotham tv series, so it’s only fair that I do my homework too. While Gotham is considered to be losely based on this graphic novel series, the show will take place at the beginning of Gordon’s career, with Bruce Wayne and many other villains as children—meaning, there will be no Batman. Gotham Central takes place after Jim’s retirement and focuses on the various cops in the precinct and how they handle crime fighting under the shadow of a man they can’t admit exists. Some of them aren’t particularly happy that he does exist, and I love the balance between their animosity and their realization that, considering the utter crazy of their opponents, at times Batman is a necessary evil. The story does not rely on Batman’s existence, though, and he appears only briefly. There are many other crimes that don’t necessarily involve mentally deranged costumed freaks. There is a level of crime procedural drama involved, and, while the particular cases might not be all that inspired, it’s the GCPD themselves that make this story really work.

The Harlem Hellfighters

You’ve probably heard this story before: Coloured men who want to fight for their country, for their freedom, who are treated as less than garbage, but persevere to become the best of the best. We’ve seen this story told many times, in many different forms, from the Tuskegee Airmen, to the The United States Colored Troops. But that doesn’t mean the that the story of men who fought and died for the freedom of a country that hated them is any less important.

I loved the choice of black and white artwork. There are some brutal scenes, typical of horrific events during a war, but the stark contrast of black and white makes the scenes more powerful and vivid than full colour.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: