Plutona by Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, & Jordie Bellaire

Plutona by Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, & Jordie Bellaire

Wow. This was a really good graphic novel. I went into it not really knowing anything about it, and I’m so glad for that. This will be a spoiler-free review because I don’t want to ruin any reading experience.

For such a short graphic novel, the character development is really good, and I truly felt for each of the characters. I especially sympathized with Diane, as I went through similar friend troubles with a former best friend of mine in high school. Each of these kids has a backstory and also the front they’ve put on around the other kids in this makeshift group. There’s always tension, and it’s uncomfortable and real. It doesn’t feel forced whatsoever, and the focus of this group is what makes the later events so surprising.

There is a plot twist that I never saw coming, and I literally gasped out loud. I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just say that it gave me a lot of sudden feelings and the ending definitely left me feeling unsettled, as I’m sure it must have intended.

I have seen this compared to Stand by Me/”The Body” in other reviews that I’ve glanced at, but I haven’t read/seen that yet, so I can’t talk about that comparison.

Rating: ★★★★★

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Free Comic Book Day Mini Reviews

Free Comic Book Day Mini Reviews

Happy Free Comic Book Day! If you didn’t know, FCBD is a day in May when comic book stores give customers free comics that are usually produced specifically for the day. They can be a first issue of a series or a spinoff of an existing series. I love both of these, and I was able to pick some up today! I devoured them already and have decided to write short reviews on them, since I really enjoyed all of the ones I read and gave them all five stars.

“I Hate Image” by Skottie Young

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Being that I absolutely love the I Hate Fairyland series, this issue was my most anticipated of the comics today. Image is my favorite comic publisher, and I even met Skottie Young at BookCon last year. That being said, this was so much more enjoyable than I even expected. This issue has Gertrude (the main character of Fairyland) on a mission to the Image headquarters, and of course she stumbles upon many other Image characters along the way. My favorites were all mentioned: Bitch PlanetThe Walking Dead, and East of West. The incorporations of these other comics was executed amazingly, and didn’t seem forced because it didn’t take itself seriously. Gertrude and the IHF plot fit this kind of collaboration perfectly, and if you love that series, definitely try to pick this issue up! It was awesome knowing the other comic series mentioned, but it wasn’t necessary to enjoying the issue as a whole.

Bob’s Burgers by various authors & artists

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First off, I love the Bob’s Burgers TV show and have been wanting to read the comics for awhile. Though I haven’t gotten to the existing comics yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this short issue of three stories in the BB universe. Each story focused on one of the Belcher kids, and they fit the story and tone to each personality perfectly. The stories were satisfying as a snack, and they did make me want to pick up the larger volumes even more. These made me laugh and also want to binge-watch the show again.

Suicide Squad #1

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Though I enjoyed the Suicide Squad movie well enough, we all know it had many flaws. I’m not sure if I waited to start this series because of that, or because I already just really love the Amanda Conner Harley Quinn series and am sucked into that storyline more. Either way, I’m glad this first issue was included in this year’s FCBD so I had more drive to read it. The in media res beginning was really good, and then getting into the individual backstories later was beneficial. Unlike the movie, which tried to get the backstories all out of the way at the beginning, this story held my interest more at the start. The backstories weren’t unnecessarily drawn-out, and the emotions were still there. This issue did a great job at setting up the Suicide Squad (really, the movie should have done it more like this issue). It was quick but not forced, and I didn’t feel like I was missing something. It makes me want to continue the series with more motivation than I had previously. The artwork in this was average; it did seem a bit inconsistent with Harley’s appearance, but at least it wasn’t too distracting.

Spill Night by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland

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This was another issue I was excited about and hoping to pick up today. I was thrilled when I found out that Scott Westerfeld had released a graphic novel and added it to my TBR right away. I do still need to buy it, but I’m definitely going to soon. This FCBD issue is a short prequel to that graphic novel, and it gave me a good idea of the premise of the series. It is definitely that unique kind of sci-fi that Westerfeld does (I absolutely love his Uglies and Midnighters series), and I can’t wait to find out more about this world that I’ve only gotten a small glimpse into. The artwork is messy-looking, but while reading, it seems purposeful as it matches the vibe of the plot and just goes along with the whole thing quite well. I love the creepy lettering in this as well. This issue exceeded my expectations and I’m so happy for that, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the first volume of the Spill Zone series (though Vol. 2 is not until 2018).

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Thanks for reading my short reviews! Did you go out to get comics on FCBD this year? Did you pick up any of these? I also bought volume six of Lumberjanes and am very excited to continue my favorite comic series. Today put me in a comic mood for sure, and even though I am excited for the novels I’m currently reading and planning to read soon, I also want to keep up with the comics that I’ve gotten and plan to buy some more soon.

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Harley Quinn, Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

Harley Quinn, Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

To sum it up: another great Harley Quinn volume.

Through this compilation, Harley adventures through the winter holidays, goes on a date with a Mr. Bruce Wayne, and begins a Harley gang (that being kick-butt ladies, unrelated to biker gangs). This volume begins with another issue of guest artists and a strange hallucination sequence, but I thought it was more well done than previous guest-artist storylines. It seemed strange, but it wasn’t a one-off, since the new character introduced through it remains throughout this whole volume.

I also enjoyed the storyline with Bruce Wayne and Batman, and it was also good at showing how Harley’s new adventures are after her time in Gotham.

My favorite storyline of this was, of course, the startup of the gang of Harleys. I can’t wait to get the next volume and dive into how this group plays out, and there is really good diversity with the women she hires as Harley assistants. It’s not just diversity as a marketing ploy, either, as their backgrounds play into who they are as characters and how they came to find Harley. This comic issue was funny, powerful, and I’m all for kick-butt lady squads.

I know I’m late at reading these volumes (as this is only volume three of six currently out), but I’m taking my time with it, and comics are expensive. I can’t be the only one, though, so if you haven’t read this series yet, get to it! Harley is a great character who is unique in her own ways, and I relate so much with her love of caring for animals and eating junk food.

Rating: ★★★★★

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February 2017 Wrap-up!

I read a total of nine books this month, which I’m pretty proud about. I’ve completed 20 books into my 50-book reading goal for 2017, so I may be raising that number later on.

  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie ★★★★☆
  • Vamps by Elaine Lee & William Simpson ★★★★☆
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, & Carolyn Nowak ★★★★★
  • The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories by Robert Chambers ★★★★★
  • I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young ★★★★★
  • Username: Evie by Joe Sugg ★☆☆☆☆
  • Amulet, Vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi ★★★★★
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook) ★★★★★
  • From a Buick 8 by Stephen King (audiobook) ★★★☆☆

I also started a some books this month that I hope to finish next month.

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Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

I went into this book having pretty much no expectations, and I’m glad for that. If I had higher expectations, I would have been even more disappointed.

This graphic novel was full of thrown-in cliches and tropes, and though sometimes those can be done right, this wasn’t one of those times. The bullied girl at school being targeted for seemingly just being the bully’s cousin didn’t make much sense to me. Evie, the main character, never got favored over Mallory, the bully, and there was no backstory to why she bullied her besides the fact that they are related. Evie’s father seemed to know she was being bullied even though Evie always talked to him as if nothing was going on. The part about Evie escaping to sit in the fridge to clear her mind made no sense to me at all (do people do that??). The concept of the digital world that was created was interesting, but it just didn’t make sense that a father would create that for his daughter to escape into. A father would usually want his daughter to experience the real world and be able to get through her struggles, not ignore them in a fabricated world.

Another aspect of this graphic novel that I didn’t care for was the art style. In some parts it looked nice, but that was mainly scenery. All of the characters looked similar in facial structure, and at the same time, a character looked different in every frame. Evie’s face seemed to reflect a different age in different parts, from younger pre-teen to more adult, just depending on the angle of her face. I really just didn’t care for it, and I enjoy a lot of various art styles in graphic novels and comics.

I’ve never watched Joe Sugg’s Youtube videos, so I didn’t have any high hopes or anything going into this, and the second volume of this series could be better, but I don’t know if I’ll be picking it up.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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January 2017 Wrap-up

This month was a pretty decent reading month. I set my yearly goal for 2017 as 50 books, and I’m already 11 books there (which is definitely more than I thought I’d finish this month). I read some awesome books this past month, and I have linked my reviews to those I have reviewed. My favorite read was The Gunslinger, and I can’t wait to continue that journey.

I also did a show/series review on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, if you’re interested in reading that.

What was the best book you read in January?

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H2O (Graphic Novel) by Grant Calof & Jeevean J. Kang

H2O (Graphic Novel) by Grant Calof & Jeevean J. Kang

The premise of this graphic novel is interesting, but the way in which it was executed didn’t really cut it for me. H2O is set in the year 2250, after one hundred years of the entire Earth being in a drought. An attempt to fix the atmosphere created “radiation storms” that burned anyone in its scope. The blurb on the back cover asks “How quickly would we ‘de-volve?'” but the contents inside the book don’t necessarily show this.

The main problem I had with this book was how normal the communications technology was shown, and how many people there still were in the world. I’m not a scientist by any means, but I would think that if the Earth hadn’t gotten rain in one hundred years, all life would very quickly become extinct. How would we stay alive without being able to grow food? If radiation storms are burning people and cities, how are there any places still left to inhabit? If the entire world went without water for one hundred years, I imagine we’d be a lot closer to Mars, in appearance and ability to inhabit.

The technology used for computing and communication seems very close to today’s technology, but I just don’t know how these types of things could continue to run without the people behind that technology keeping it going. The premise is interesting and thought-provoking, but the way the book is carried out doesn’t make sense in this way. The idea behind the story is what I liked most, because it got me to think about these types of hypothetical situations and events. The book just didn’t go the way I would think these things would, if they were to actually happen. Yes, I know this is fiction, but it just raised too many questions and not enough clear answers for me (especially in the fact that it’s never explained why it stopped raining in the first place).

In addition to these issues, the character development was attempted, but it just didn’t make me feel anything for the characters. I really hate the trope of blaming the son for his father’s mistakes, and this becomes the main nemesis’ backstory. The main woman’s backstory is pretty thrown together as well, and it all felt quite rushed. I understand that it’s a short book, but at this point, we could have done just fine with barely any character’s backstory because it didn’t have an emotional affect on me.

When I review graphic novels and comics, I like to note the art style, because it’s incredibly important in these formats. The artwork in this book wasn’t bad or good, really. It was good for the story, as the images are clear and not confusing as to what action is taking place, but it wasn’t anything special that stood out to me.

Overall, it was just an okay book. I didn’t hate it, because it made me think, but I just don’t particularly care for it. Again, the premise of a world-wide draught is interesting, and would probably make a really good hypothetical documentary or podcast, but it just doesn’t hold water in the plot that was carried out (pun intended, sorry not sorry).

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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