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.

Jonesy Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries

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goodreads-synopsis

A sarcastic teenager with the powers of cupid unleashes her preternatural matchmaking abilities on her school with hilarious and charming results.

Jonesy is a self-described “cool dork” who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love! Anyone. With anything. She’s a cupid in plaid. With a Tumblr. There’s only one catch—it doesn’t work on herself. She’s gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong…

Written by Sam Humphries and illustrated by Caitlin Rose Boyle, this charming tale is sure to appeal to romantics and cynics alike

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I received Jonesy on Netgalley for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

I’ll keep this review short and sweet. Jonesy is an outcast at her school. She doesn’t have many friends besides two. She is obsessed with her favorite singer Stuff as any young girl would be. She doesn’t love the feeling of love and she tries to be against the social norm. Jonesy received her powers by watching Anime. She can manipulate people with mind control, but she can’t force people to love her.

Jonesy was a short entertaining comic, and if you’re expecting a plot to this book, there is none. Jonesy focuses on her misadventures and her plots that go wrong! It’s a fun read, but it could have been a bit better. I have to say I love how the cast is diverse. Lastly, I love the relationship Jonesy has with her puny donut loving father!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Snotgirl, Vol I: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

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Who is Lottie Person?
Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this first collection from New York Times Best Seller Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds) and dazzling newcomer Leslie Hung!

Collecting: Snotgirl 1-5

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I am a huge fan of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and Seconds. I first saw images of Snotgirl on my twitter feed around last year and I waited to read Snotgirl unti the first volume came out. I preordered my book immediately. I had high hopes in Snotgirl, trust me, I was hyped for Snotgirl. I’d assume that Snotgirl was going to have the same fun, same charm, and same comedy style as Bryan Lee O’Malley’s previous books.

Snotgirl feels different from all of O’Malley’s previous works. Far different from what I’d imagine. Snotgirl tries to be mature and satirical, when in fact, it’s not funny at all. I feel that Snotgirl is far more darker comic that tries to have moments of lightheartedness. This comic makes you think about about adulthood and it’s sad reality. This is one of my favorite moments from Snotgirl:

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Tangent: I found this quote very relatable to my life. No one tells you how to be an adult, you have to work on your own and realize that not adulthood can suck, but you have to continue to try pushing yourself to do what you want to do. Push yourself until you can achieve your dreams. You have to realize that you have the ability to do anything even if you’re accomplishing goals late into adulthood.

Lottie Person is a fashion blogger whose life is a mess. She tries to stay relevant in the fashion blogging world as she’s aging in her industry. She’s a beautiful diva on the outside. One can assume she has no flaws based on her outward appearance. She has blogger friends who aren’t really there for her, and she does not have any real friends she can depend on besides her personal assistant. Lottie Person is living a facade. She conceals her envious personality from others. She feels jealous when she cannot catch up with others. Besides, Lottie has another secret that she has hidden from everyone else which is her uncontrollable allergies…hence Snotgirl.

I felt that Lottie was an unreliable narrator because it is hard for her to recount some events from her life. Some of the events from the story made it hard for me to trust Lottie. For example, she is given new allergy medication that makes her forget what she is doing. I have a feeling the medication she is taking will play a larger part in creating chaos and destruction as the story progresses. All I can say is that Lottie made it hard for me to like her, but she seems very realistic. She represents the hideous nature of being too warped into social media, that’s my take on it. I have no idea where the story is going, but I will pick up Volume II when it comes out. I love the murder mystery of Snotgirl because the comic made it hard for me to trust Lottie or her toxic friendship. Lastly, I love the way the characters are drawn. I love art style. Overall, Snotgirl was too hyped for me, but it presented a story which I do want to continue. The only character that really stood out was Lottie, and I would like for the supporting characters to have more development.

Final Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️  (3.5)

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Seconds.jpgAuthor: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Genre: Graphic Novel

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

goodreads-synopsis

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

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The first series I’ve read from Bryan Lee O’Malley was Scot Pilgrim Vs The World, and I’ve been meaning to read Seconds since it came out. I got the opportunity to read it at a Barnes and Noble and finished it all in one sitting. Anyways, if you like the Scot Pilgrim series, I’d recommend reading Seconds.

Katie is a chef with a dream of opening her own restaurant. Her life isn’t going as she had planned. There are some mistakes that she wants to take back. One day she is given an opportunity to redo her day over again.

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I found Katie to be very relatable! She is flawed, but she has a good heart. She doesn’t follow the rules which turns her life upside down. She gets her dream life, but it does not satisfy her. She runs away from her mistakes by continuously .

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Katie tries to fix her mistakes several times throughout the book. At some point she becomes a bit mad with power. Katie becomes dependent on the mushroom to solve her problems. I really enjoyed her character arc. She was funny and irritating at some points, but has the heart of gold. I really enjoyed her growth from the beginning to end.

Besides Katie, the secondary characters were just as great. Hazel, the waitress, was one of my favorites. She reminded me so much of myself. And I liked how she had her own role in the story.

The art style is cute, but this story is dark and hilarious. Though I did feel the ending was a bit rushed.

Lastly, Katie’s interactions with the narrator were extremely funny!

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“Adult life is terrible, Hazel. Never grow up. Everything’s complicated, and there are too many rules …”

“There are things we can’t change, and we just have to accept that. And maybe that’s some kind of grace”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau

zodiac starforce

Author: Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, YA

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters–not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself–and the world–from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship–with plenty of magical-girl fighting action–delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics!

Collects Zodiac Starforce #1-#4

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Zodiac Starforce was kindly provided by Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.  

This was review was supposed to get published last week, but I accidentally scheduled it for today. My bad. Ha ha.

What a fantastic graphic novel! If you’re a fan of magical girls like Sailor Moon, you should definitely check Zodiac Starforce. Let me start off with character designs, I love it. I love the “big” hair too. Reminds me of Jem & The Holograms, the animated series and not the movie.

There are flaws to this first volume. The story starts with absolutely no explanation about our four protagonists. Nada. The beginning was a bit confusing because it doesn’t properly introduce the characters. I had to read the beginning twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I would have liked for each of the girls to have their backstory revealed and how they got chosen by Astra, a celestial goddess. It feels as if I picked up a second book in a series, instead of the first book. Hopefully each girl has their backstory explained in upcoming volumes because it’s a issue that needs to get resolved.

As for the pacing of the story, it was a bit rushed. I would have liked for more details, but alas, that was not the case. I am hoping that the next volume does not encounter the same issues I found with Zodiac Starforce. As for the characters, my favorite had to be Kim aka Aries. She has most of the funny moments in the overall story. I am hoping that she gets much more screen time. The bond between the girls was not strong enough for me. Why? Even though the girls have gone through many perils, it is said but not seen. Lack of an introduction to each other the characters makes this story a bit weak for me.

Final thoughts? Zodiac Starforce is a entertaining graphic novel. Even though I had issues with it, I still want to continue the story. Here are my reasons why you should read Zodiac Starforce?

  • Diversity: All the girls are diverse and so are the background characters. It is quite refreshing. I can’t stress that enough
  • Magical Girls: Who doesn’t love Magical Girls?
  • Zodiac: Each girl has a power based on their zodiac sign! That sounds awesome! Hopefully a Sagittarius gets introduced soon tumblr_inline_niyn5ntHcI1ry72eo
  • LGBT
  • Gorgeous artwork: I can’t get over how beautiful it is! Look at it:

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Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)