Mini Book Reviews: Graphic Novels Edition

HeathenSynopsis: Heathen Volume One collects the first four issues of the acclaimed fantasy series from creator Natasha Alterici. Aydis is a young Viking woman, who after being banished from her home, sets out on a mission to right the wrongs of a corrupt god. Her first move is to find and free the cursed Valkyrie Brynhild. Gods, demons, and creatures of lore, Heathen is packed with fun intriguing characters and lavish artwork. The trade features an oil painting cover, cover gallery, and a forward by award winning lesbian fiction author Geonn Cannon.

Commentary:

Warriors don’t fight for themselves, they fight for those who cannot fight on their own.

When I first read Heathen, I did expect myself to fall completley in love with the story. I got this book from Netgalley when I was randomly looking for comics. This is a tale about Adysis, a viking woman set on a journey. The artwork is beautiful, and it is easy to get immersed into the world. Adyis is courageous, living in a patriarchal village in which she does not follow the norms of women. Adyis is a rebel in her own right, and the storyteller of this book. I love how Adyis converses with the Gods and acts like it’s not a big deal. She is not frighten by the power they hold over the world. She remains true to herself and her beliefs, despite encountering many challenges along the way. Although Adysis is the main protagonist, the story is told in two persepctives. Brynhild was cursed and released by Adyis, and she is forced on a journey to save Adyis. You learn that the gods are not to be trusted, especially Odin. Honestly, I love the diversity of this viking lesbian comic. For only 4 chapters in this volume, it is packed with mythology and diversity. I cannot wait for the second volume of Heathen!

 taproot.jpgSynopsis: Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.

Commentary: I may have been watching a lot of Voltron lately, but Blue and Hamal remind me of Hunk and Lance. I could not unsee it with the character designs.

As for the story, Taproot is about a gardener and a ghost falling in love with each other. This is a story about growth between two male protagonists who live in a divided world. I found that Blue and Hamal did balance each other out. The story was quite interesting, and there some elements of creepiness. Though, I don’t want to spoil Taproot, I felt it ended far too shortly. The second half of the book felt like an extra story rather than belonging to the plot. The artwork was definitely my favorite. A quick and easy read, though I wish the story were longer.

Joyride Synopsis: Earth sucks.
The stars have been blocked out for so long that people have forgotten there was anything else besides the World Government Alliance watching over them. Uma Akkolyte is a girl who shoots first, leaps before she looks, and is desperate for any means to leave her planet behind. And so she does. When Uma jacks an alien spaceship and punches through the stratosphere she sets forth on an adventure with an unlikely crew who are totally not ready for all the good, bad, and weird the universe will throw at them.
From writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Batman and Robin EternalGrayson) and artist Marcus To (NightwingNew Avengers), Joyride is a rebellious love letter to the sci-fi genre, exploring what happens when nothing stands between a group of teens and their freedom amongst the stars.

Commentary: Confined to Earth, Uma seeks adventure and freedom away from the strict rules enforced on Earth. Uma is the leader of this misadventure in space. Uma seeks thrill and excitement. She brings along her close friend Dewydd and Catrin is forced to tag along in this space adventure. The adventure unites the characters despite coming from different social and economical bacgrounds. Uma is the leader of the group and captain of her crew, because she is the one who planned the adventure. Overall, this comic does reveal background information of all three characters. Uma loved her life prior to the takeover, and she idolized her mother. Dewydd is the youngest in his family, and his older brother overshadows Dewydd and his accomplishments. Catrin is overall a badass, and she is not your stereoytpical princess. As I mentioned, the story is fast paced, and I would have liked to seen more explorations of different worlds for this first novel. I really liked Catrin because of her relatable grumpy mood, but makes an excellent friend. I loved how carefree and fun loving Uma is despite consequences. I like the one sided love that Dewydd has for Uma. Overall, this first volume was a fun volume and I hope the following volume allows for more character growth. It does remind me of a teen version of Guardians of the Galaxy. For the following volume, I hope that the stakes are higher. The third chapter of Joyride is my favorite because you learn the background stories of Uma and Catrin.

ladystuffSynopsis: A collection of Loryn Brantz’s vibrant and relatable Jellybean Comics about her everyday experiences as a lady 

Home manicure tips, awkward seduction techniques, scoping out the snack table, and—most important—prioritizing naps: Lady Stuff reveals these womanly secrets and more. In sections like “Grooming and Habitat Maintenance,” “Mating Habits,” and others, these brightly colored, adorable comics find the humor in the awkwardness of simply existing.

Like the work of Sarah Andersen, Gemma Correll, and Allie Brosh, Loryn Brantz’s Jellybean Comics are accessible and funny; lighthearted takes on the author’s everyday experiences and struggles being a woman.

Commentary: I’ve seen Loryn Brantz’s comics used by Buzzfeed. Most of the work included in this short book has been used by Buzzfeed. I was hoping for new material. The comics are okay for me. If I were a consumer, this comic book would not be the one for me. If it had contained new material, I would have rated this book higher. Unfortunately, this book didn’t make me laugh. It was average to say the least. This book is not about womanly secrets. It’s not relatable. For one thing, this humor is beyond awkward. I was getting second hand embarrassment from reading this. I know that I’ve mentioned Buzzfeed, but this feels like reading Buzzfeed the Book if one were to catergorize this.

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