Graphic Novel Review Bites

pathfinder 3Pathfinder Volume 3: City of Secrets

With thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pathfinder is an RPG some of my friends play but I have yet to try it out. In fact, I’ve only just dipped my toes into tabletop gaming, starting with DnD so that I can check this off my geek cred check list. But I have read Pathfinder comics before and loved the characters, which is why I jumped at the chance to read more about them here. Our intrepid heroes are, in many ways, the typical fantasy characters, but the comic does its best to break some of the races and classes out of the tropes they have been pinned to. This book once again pays particular attention to Merisiel, the elf rogue with the questionable past. Her loyalties always seem to be in question–though it’s usually Merisiel herself asking those questions. Meanwhile, Kyra has found herself in a city that hunts down clerics like her and murders them as heretics. She has no fear of them, but perhaps she should. And finally, the other notable plot line follows Ezren, the sorcerer who has only just come into adventuring in the later years of his life.

This was a fun read, even if it only gave a cursory eye to the plot lines mentioned above. It apparently is connected to another issue of the comic book series which delves more into the adventures of and relationship between Merisiel and Kyra and likely gives the (slightly predictable) twist ending in this book more of an impact.

I am quite fond of the art and colours in this book. It’s very focused on bright and lively primary colours, with sharp, well defined lines that really help the characters as well as their vibrant personalities stand out. 163a3-new3stars

lowLow, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope

With thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

Remender opens the story by informing the reader of his struggles with negativity and that, with the help of therapy, he eventually learns to be more hopeful. Low is very much the result of this new outlook, and, during the first few pages, Stel positively gushes hope inspite of the reality of the situation. This takes places far into the post-apocalyptic future where a few remaining humans inhabit the depths of the ocean. There is little hope that the surface will be inhabitable again, and even less hope that they will live much longer since breathable air is running low. But Stel is all about the sun coming out tomorrow. Initially, this gets a bit tedious, though thankfully the light, humourous banter between Stel and her husband offsets the over abundance of ridiculous positivity. Thankfully and realistically, Stel’s outlook falters somewhat when a training session with her family results in the death of her husband and kidnapping of her daughters. The story then leaps a bit into the future with Stel hoping that her estranged son will help her get the girls back.

The premise is interesting. We don’t often get to see post-apocalyptic from beneath the ocean. That alone piques my curiosity, and, once Stel’s sunny disposition settles into something more palatably rationale (she’s not crazy… just annoying), I found myself wanting to know more about this world and the fate of mankind. If only to understand just who the bad guys are supposed to be in this scenario and find out why anyone would be resisting the concept of, you know, air.

Tocchini’s art work is very dramatic. There is a lot of monochromatic colouring over top of the gritty, sketchy lines that seem to be popular these days. It’s beautiful, especially on the cover, but sometimes, it gets a little too messy and muddles an already vague story.163a3-new3stars

nimonaNimona

When you’re a villain, what could be better than having an powerful sidekick ready and eager to do your dastardly bidding? Wellllll… if said sidekick is far more powerful than she seems to be and has an unstable personality to go with that power, plans may go awry.

Ballister Blackheart’s dreams of becoming a hero were shattered the day he bested his best friend at the academy and an subsequent “accident” cost him his arm as well as his status. Now, Sir Goldenloin, once friend, is Blackheart’s greatest foe, but, as we see in the panels of their first confrontation, there’s more to their relationship than it seems. In fact, friendship, loyalty, and trust are the major themes weaving their way through this funny but poignant story. Stevenson crafts a dark but quirky and amusing tale of betrayal and corporate shenigans, forcing the questioning of good versus evil and what it really means to be a hero. This is a story that can be appreciated by all ages. I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to sharing it with my daughters.ab28c-new4stars

BirthrightBirthright, Vol 1: Homecoming

Nothing is worse for a parent than losing a child–except losing a child without the closure of knowing where that child is lost. This is what happens when Aaron’s son Mikey vanishes into the woods. Through altering perspectives, we learn that Mikey has slipped into another world a la Narnia, but the rest of the Rhodes family remains in ignorance and, over time, Mikey’s disappearance tears the family apart, especially when no one will believe that Aaron is innocent.

Meanwhile, Mikey’s new world is anything but Narnia, with great, viscious beasts ready to eat him for a snack and a group of freedom fighters who have pegged him as the prophecied saviour of their world.

When Mikey finally does return home, he is all Conan the Barbarian, but only a short time has passed for the family. Despite the improbability that this strange man is who he says he is, Aaron chooses to believe absolutely and joins Mikey on the quest to now save earth from the bad guy from the other realm. The catch? Turns out Mikey failed in his world saving on the other side and is now a minion of the dark lord. The latter sometimes plays a bit hokey, but Aaron’s desperate faith in Mikey and his quest is heart breaking. The twist that Mikey is under the thrall of the bad guy is an interesting one, even if the delivery is a bit corny. It’s enough to make me want to see how the writer manages to pull off this little upheaval of the typical hero story.163a3-new3stars

sunstoneSunstone

This review was originally posted at Women Write About Comics. I am resharing an excerpt here because I love this book so much and highly recommend it.

If I catch you reading Fifty Shades of Grey, I am going to politely remove it from your grasp and hand you a copy of Sunstone instead. And if you’re into great characters and wonderful, sweet, funny romance stories that explore sexuality, then I am also going to hand you a copy of Sunstone.

To be clear, this is a story that heavily features BDSM, but I want you to set aside any preconceived notions you have about that and read it anyway. First of all, it is an incredibly beautiful, informative, and healthy exploration of sexuality that forces us to acknowledge that sex is a completely normal part of our lives which we need to stop being so damn taboo about. Now, while BDSM might be a kink for some people, that does not make it any less important as a part of sexual exploration. But the key to BDSM is something that, unlike Fifty Shades, Sunstone makes very clear: BDSM is about consent and it is about trust.

Lisa and Ally meet online and begin a friendship based on their shared kink and their respective roles as sub and domme. Their first in-person meeting has all the awkward moments that anyone on a first date can imagine, and as their relationship blossoms beyond the boudoir, it’s hard not to fall for the characters as well. Yes, this book features BDSM and erotica, but just as importantly, it is about very human characters that many of us can relate to in many ways. They explore their roles as sub and domme, but, mainly through Lisa, the story also deals with friendship, relationships, and that butterfly feeling you get in your stomach (and elsewhere) when you fall in love. Read more at WWAC

66dea-new4stars

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10 Comments on “Graphic Novel Review Bites

  1. I’ve been thinking about picking up Birthright, Vol 1! Vol 2 comes out next month, so I figured now would be a good time to get into the series. Almost picked it up last week actually, but I still haven’t read Wythces Vol 1 I picked up last month. For some reason, unlike books, I don’t like to buy more graphics novels until I read the ones I just bought.

    Like

  2. So much love for Nimona, that graphic novel wrecked me. I only noticed the dedication after I’d read the book and it made me bawl because I’m a sap. I agree about Low, I was intrigued by the storyline but Stel was hard to like at times. I’d never seen Greg Tocchini’s art before but now I’m a fan!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Sanctum Sanctorum: Our Comic Collection | The BiblioSanctum

  4. Pingback: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | A Good Stopping Point

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