Graphic Novel Review Bites
With thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.
My kids and I miss the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon. It was fun and funny, and also had some amazing messages. The new Teen Titans GO! cartoon foregoes the latter, opting more for irreverence and amusement rather than important morals, but there’s still a lot to make us laugh. Teen Titans GO! volume 1 Party does a great job of capturing all that goodness—and the ridiculousness of the cartoon. From crazy stories about Robin and Beast Boy’s mini-putt show down, to demon pizzas, this has just about everything. It manages to capture all the over the top sight gags and ridiculous expressions and actions of the characters, which is something I was worried about when I started reading this. Translating an animated cartoon to a static comic book page has the potential to lose much, which was the problem I had with Adventure Time Vol. 1. But unlike the latter, Teen Titans GO! doesn’t forget that imagery, colour, and movement are as much a part of the story. While it does not neglect dialogue and occasional plot points, it doesn’t get bogged down with words, allowing the reader to move smoothly from panel to panel.
As always, a review of Saga has to come with a warning for those who have no idea what this seriesis about: Simply put, Saga is not for the faint of heart. The opening page is yet another marvel of Staples’ and Vaughan’s awesomely disturbing creativity. But the thing is, as shocking as these images are, they are all contextual–far more so than a big old splash page of some superhero’s boob window or butt shot. Everything in Saga’s imagery is off the wall and meant to shock you, but again, it’s all contextual. And more importantly, right under the surface of all of that is a very realistic story of family and all the struggles that come with. Scrape away the crazy veneer and you have a continually touching story that hits really close to home. It’s impossible not to see myself or people I know in its pages.
Storm. She is my goddess, and I have been waiting my whole comic book life to see her story told with the justice it deserves. (I’m still waiting to see her get the same kind of justice on the big screen, but that’s another story.) When Greg Pak shared the Storm love on Twitter, I was in tears. And now that I have read all of the first issues and have this glorious volume one on my shelf, I am content.
I have always liked Pak’s work because he understands the characters he writes on an emotional level. Storm is not just lightning and thunder. Nor is this series about her simply bringing the rain (despite the title). The book explores her relationships with the most important people in her life, from students at the Jean Grey Academy, to Forge (OMG OTP ❤ ❤ <3) to Yukio, and of course, Wolverine, with whom she has most recently been linked. It also explores the connection between her emotions and her powers. Simply put, a bad mood in this alpha level mutant could level a city if she’s not careful. Imagine what can happen when she loses a loved one.
My only real disappointment with the series so far is that each issue jumps from one major factor/person in Storm’s life to the next, with no pause or transition to explain why. I’m not entirely sure what I would have wanted to see between these moments, but perhaps a bit more of a build up. And it leaves me with the question if “what next?” since the she has already visited these major players in her life. Of course, whatever the what next might be, I will be there to weather the storm.