{Short Takes} Three Graphic Novel Reviews

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Secret agents, fairy tales, and high school drama. It’s been a good reading week for graphic novels!  

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Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain

Writer: Chelsea Cain

Artists: Kate Niemczyk & Ibrahim Moustafa

Bobbi Morse, ace S.H.I.E.L.D agent, struggles with nearly constant doctor checkups. She’s been dosed with both the Super Soldier Serum and the Infinity Formula, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s worried she might develop negative side effects.

They’re right about the side effects. Not so right about the negative part.

Bobbi doesn’t let any of this effect her in the field or keep her from saving her ex (Clint Barton), her new “boyfriend” (Lance Hunter), or protecting teenage girls from other themselves.

Bobbi’s story in Mockingbird Vol. 1 is a blast to read. Chelsea Cain brings humor and adventure to the comic while the artists, Kate and Ibrahim, bring eye-popping action and the female gaze. I loved that Bobbi was the type of snarky, capable hero you don’t often see in female characters. It was such a relief to read a comic with a female lead that was sexy, angst-free, and fun. It’s a shame that this series was cancelled. I am glad, though I still have one more volume of Bobbi’s story to read. It’s definitely high on my TBR.

 

30073153Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Tales

By Cory Godbey

Labyrinth Tales collects three stories set within the universe of the 80’s film.  The stories are short, sweet, and make perfect bedtime stories (which just so happens to be when I read them). Some might be familiar to you from Free Comic Book Day or the Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Comic released last year, but in spite of their familiarity, I think Labyrinth Tales is worth the purchase. It’s hard covered–and so more durable than a floppy comic–and Godbey’s breathtaking art looks fabulous and glossy on the page. Definitely a must-buy (or, at the very least, a must-read) for Labyrinth fans.

 

25852959 (1).jpgArchie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Writer: Mark Waid

Art: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish

Archie and Betty broke up. The cause has something to do with a certain “lipstick incident,” but no one at Riverdale knows exactly what that means. Unfortunately for the rumor mill, the ex-golden couple refuses to say anything. Thankfully, when the theories begin to run dry, drama arises when new girl, Veronica, turns Archie into her errand boy. Will Betty and Jughead be able to save Archie from her clutches or is he truly lost to his newest crush?

Archie Vol. 1 is my first introduction to the world of Archie comics, and surprisingly, I loved it. I somehow missed out on reading Archie as a kid, but Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ work has gotten me curious as to what I’ve been missing all these years. I know this rebooted Archie isn’t exactly the same thing as old-school Archie, but I’m going to delve into it all the same. I loved the humor, drama, and wackiness of The New Riverdale, and I have a feeling that that is what’s been carried over from the older Archie comics.

Besides, I want more stories about these teens–especially Jughead!
What comics or graphic novels have you been reading lately?

Graphic Novels on My TBR

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I’ve been bad about reading comics this year. The only series I’ve followed in single issues are New Romancer, Venus, Green Arrow Rebirth (which just started), and Goldie Vance. Thankfully, with DC Rebirth happening this summer, there’s a lot of series I hope to add to my pull list. I know I’m at least going to try Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Superwoman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad, and The Hellblazer. I’m crossing my fingers that half of those series are as good as Green Arrow. I need more superheroines and anti-heroes in my life.

As bad as I’ve been with single issues this year, I’ve been even worse with trades. I’ve read maybe eight volumes–which is really low for me (I read 35 last year). I probably wouldn’t even have made it to eight if it wasn’t for all those Star Wars series. I’m not even caught up on them. Maybe I’ll get to Vader Down before Rogue One is released.

In general, I think this lack of comics enthusiasm’s in part because I started associating comics with depression thanks to my binging of X-Men when I was feeling really, really low last year. I’ve been trying to read comics when I’m feeling okay in 2016 to break that correlation.

It’s working. Sort of.

I still catch myself saving up comics and graphic novels to read when I’m feeling bad. The way I figure I can best circumvent that is to read more comics. That way I don’t have to hoard them for bad days. There can be enough to go around on the good days too.

To see if my plan works, I’ve made a proper Graphic Novel to-read list. This way, when I’m wondering what series I should read next, I can just check my handy list.

comics-tbr.jpgGraphic Novels on My TBR

  • Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North ~ Choose-Your-Own-Shakespeare-Adventure by the writer of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl? Yes, please!
  • Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, Stephane Roux, Alex Sinclair, Paul Mounts ~ I’m very much looking forward to Margot Robbie as Harley in The Suicide Squad. Somehow though, I’ve never actually read any Harley-related comics. I need to remedy that before August, and I figured I’d start with The New 52 and move out from there.
  • Birds of Prey by Gail Simone, Ed Benes, Adriana Melo, and Alvin Lee ~ Gail Simone introduced me to the world of DC Comics with her Wonder Woman and Batgirl series. I haven’t ever picked up her Birds of Prey, but with the new Rebirth series coming out and me having Barbara Gordon withdraws, I figured now was as good of time as any to start it.  
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer by Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo ~ I read the first issue of Constantine and loved it. I meant to keep buying it in single issues, but I sort of missed the second issue and never caught up.
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson ~ Unpopular Opinion: I don’t care for Brian K. Vaughn’s writing. I’ve heard that Paper Girls is sort of “The Goonies with Girls” so I’m going to give it a try anyways. The 80’s nerd in me wants to like it.  
  • Archie by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish ~ Time for another confession: I’ve never read any Archie comics in my entire life.  With Riverdale coming to the CW, I want to finally change that.
  • DC Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage ~ I read the first issue of DC Bombshells and it just didn’t capture my attention. I love the art though and I’m going to give it a proper chance now that it’s in trade.  
  • Black Canary by Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, and Sandy Jarrell ~ The only thing I liked about the new Batgirl run was Black Canary. From what I remember, she was grumpy and all around lovable. Since I’m also adoring the character in Green Arrow Rebirth, I want to go back and read through her solo series. After that I might try to track down the Black Canary and Zatanna series too.
  • Power Up by Kate Leth and Matt Cummings ~ I know I can always rely on Kate Leth for a fun read. I haven’t read any Power Up yet, but it looks pretty adorable. (Released June 28th!)
  • Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karel Kesel, and Al Barrionuevo ~ I’ve read the first volume in DeConnick’s Captain Marvel before, but I didn’t like it (I actually gave it one star on Goodreads). Recently, I decided to try Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps and I really, really liked it. It’s about time I gave this series another chance.  

What comics are you loving right now? Anything good on your TBR?

My Free Comic Book Day Wish List

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Last year was my first Free Comic Book Day. Unfortunately, I worked in the middle of the day so I didn’t end up joining properly in the festivities. I did still manage to run to my local comic shop and Books-a-Million and ended up with a rather large pile of comics that I slowly worked my way through over the summer.

Needless to say, it was awesome.

This year, I’ll be working again. Thankfully, my new comic shop is a block and half from where I work. I’ll be running there on my lunch break and, hopefully, they won’t be completely out of everything. I may have to have my mom be my back-up comic spotter–just in case.

To prep for May 7th, this year’s date, I went through the list of comics coming out and picked my top choices. There’s a lot of really neat stuff being released, and I can’t wait to have an even more ridiculous backlog of comics after the day.

My Free Comic Book Day Wish List 

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Boom Studios 2016 Summer Blast ~ Boom Studios is one of my favorite comics publishers, but all I really need to know about this sampler is that it includes a Labyrinth short story. *Grabby hands*

Doctor Who: Four Doctors ~ I first got into buying single issues thanks to Doctor Who. I’m not completely up on these series anymore, but I’m always ready for more stories about the 9th and 10th Doctor.

Civil War II ~ I don’t love events, but last year, I liked picking up the Secret Wars preview on Free Comic Book Day so I’d, at least, have a basis for what was going on if I wanted to purchase some of the series. We’ll see if anything in Civil War II catches my interest this year!

Captain America ~ Captain America is my least favorite Avenger, but–weirdly–Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my second favorite MCU film (right after Guardians of the Galaxy). It might be time for me to give Steve Rogers a proper chance.

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Dark Horse Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens ~ This sampler sold me based on the fact it has an Aliens story in it. That’s really all I needed to know. Of course, I’ve been meaning to give Hellboy a try too so this might finally get me moving on that! 

Grumpy Cat (And Pokey) ~ Can a person who loves cats really pass up a Grumpy Cat (and Pokey!) comic? I don’t think so.

DC Superhero Girls ~ DC’s Superhero Girls merchandise is adorable. In high school, I would have absolutely collected the dolls and action figures. Thankfully, I don’t collect dolls anymore, but I am psyched that DC is releasing a companion comic for FCBD. I love that cover so much I might even have to frame it. 

Dark Horse All-Ages Sampler ~ Last year, the Dark Horse sampler was one of my favorite Free Comic Book Day comics. This year, it might be one of my favorites again. I mean, it has a Legend of Korra story! What’s better than that? 

What are you picking up on Free Comic Book Day?

Image Source: PREVIEWSworld and Kiss Them Goodbye

Reading Batman V Superman: The Court of Owls

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One of my bookish goals for 2016 related to reading Batman and Superman comics in preparation for Dawn of Justice. It’s weird to think that, before this week, I had never read a Batman comic. I’d read Bat!family comics, sure, but nothing in particular about the Bat himself.

As a kid and teen, I loved the Batman films, but I was too embarrassed to read comics. Being a geek wasn’t very cool then, and I was already that weird girl who wore Batman tees (which I had to find in the boy’s clothing section) and named her car Bruce. I didn’t want to be seen as even weirder by getting into the comics. For some reason, that was one step too far for me. It wasn’t until college that I began reading comics regularly, and it wasn’t until after graduation that I picked up Gail Simone’s Batgirl run—which was the first DC Comics series I got into.

Since then, I’ve read Batgirl (Babs and Stephanie Brown), Catwoman, Nightwing, and Gotham Academy. Batman, however, still seemed so forbidding to start. There’s A LOT of Batman comics out there, and while New 52 seemed like a good place to getting going, I was still overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

With the film release looming, I finally broke down and decided to start with Scott Snyder’s The Court of Owls. I’m passingly familiar with the arc since it intersected with Batgirl’s and it’s a New 52 Volume 1 so I figured it’d be a decent gateway book.

The Plot

Batman thinks he understands Gotham City and its citizens. He’s been at this Bat-business for awhile and he’s seen it all. He most definitely knows that there’s no Court of Owls—in spite of what the people of Gotham and his own family believe.

Weird deaths and mysterious owl insignias are being found around the city. Somehow these are all tied to Batman by way of Bruce Wayne. He and Harvey Bullock discover a note at a murder scene proclaiming that “Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow.” The Bat doesn’t take the threat seriously, but begins an investigation into the murder and the owls anyway. He doesn’t expect to find the actual Court of Owls. That’s a fairy tale. He does, however, expect to find people using the owls to terrorize Gotham.

What he actually discovers nearly drives him mad.

Thoughts

The Court of Owls met my Batman expectations—mostly because I expected a plot heavy book with violence and not a lot of women. That is exactly what I got. While not necessarily a bad thing, those were some of the reasons it took me so long to get into Batman stories in the first place. I prefer character driven stories (which is why I read a lot of Indie comics) and I like interesting, well-rounded female characters. It’s not surprising then that I’ve stuck so long with Batgirl, Catwoman, and the girls of Gotham Academy.

On the positive side of The Court of Owls, I did like seeing Batman as “The Great Detective” for the first time. In the films, that side of him isn’t really explored since the movies focus on the punching and catching of baddies rather than on his scientific mind. In Scott Snyder’s story, Batman is primarily a detective—almost along the lines of Sherlock Holmes. He’s rational and seems to know everything about everything. I liked his cold rationality and his stubbornness–particularly since both of those things got him into trouble in the end.

Bruce’s relationship with Dick Grayson was also fascinating. You could just feel how frustrated Dick was with Bruce’s coldness, sureness, and lack of selfcare.  Dick saw Bruce loosing it, and he didn’t like not being trusted to help. That tension in their relationship is one of the reasons I’d like to keep reading this series. It feels inevitable that these two will come to a breaking point where they’ll either have to part or have to deal with their difficult relationship.

Damian’s presence also warmed by heart. I love Damian. He’s so serious and snarky. I wish he’d been in Court of Owls more (because he’s a favorite), but I particularly loved how distraught he was when the Bat-Signal broke. He’s a little adult so much of the time. It was nice to see a bit of the child in his peak through for once.

Those little moments of emotion with Damian and Dick were unfortunately rare. This comic was more focused on Bruce and his descent into madness. While that wasn’t a bad storyline, I had hoped for more interpersonal focus. Batman really only interacted with Dick and Lincoln (a mayoral candidate) on a personal level, and that was really on the light side too. I’ve never been a huge fan of comics wrapped solely up in plot and that’s what The Court of Owls was. I hope, as Scott Snyder’s run continues, that we’ll get to delve deeper into Batman’s psyche and his relationships. I want to know more about that and not just more about Batman fighting villains.

As for the art, I liked most of what Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion did here. The slightly sepia coloring felt perfect for Gotham City (which was rendered in intricate detail too). I also appreciated the design on the Owl’s costumes and Batman’s suit. The steampunk look of the Talon’s suit in particular was just plain cool. While there are a few artistic choices I didn’t love (like the rotating of the pages and the goopy, red blood), I didn’t find much that was off-putting. One of the few reasons I chose this book was because the art felt accessible to me (i.e. not a lot of fanservice going on). I did think it was funny though that, for once, I had trouble telling the male characters apart rather than the women (Bruce looked like a shorter Lincoln and Dick, Tim, and Damian all looked identical).  I could have done with a bit more distinctiveness on the characters and a bit less boxiness in Batman’s jaw, but those are hardly big things. Overall, I definitely liked the look of this comic.

I’ll definitely pick up the second volume of this series. I want to see where it goes from here and how everything develops. I’m truthfully not that interested in the Owl’s plot itself, but I’d like to see it through to its conclusion.

To me, that’s not a bad response to my first adventure in Batman comics. Next up, some Superman!

Do you have a favorite Batman series? What would you recommend reading next? (I have The Dark Knight Returns on hold at the library. So I will get to that one soon!)

Image Source: Kiss Them Goodbye

First Impression: Legends of Tomorrow

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Arrowverse has been gearing up for the premiere of Legends of Tomorrow all season. First, on Arrow, we got the return of Ray Palmer and Sara Lance. Then, on The Flash, we learned more about Leonard Snart and added a new member to the Firestorm team. Finally, we got the backdoor pilot/crossover which introduced Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Legends’ big bad, Vandal Savage.

With all that build up, there was a good chance that Legends of Tomorrow wouldn’t be able to rise to the occasion as the newest (hopefully hit) show to enter the Arrowverse. In the end, it met my expectations and exceeded them, but it remains to be seen whether it can hold it’s own with Arrow and The Flash.

The Plot

Things are bad in the year 2166. Vandal Savage has become the supreme leader of Earth, but a time traveler–by the name of Rip Hunter–wants to journey back in time to stop him from coming to power. His fellow Time Masters don’t think it’s their business to interfere with the timeline. Respectably disagreeing, Rip steals a time ship and heads to 2016 to collect a group of heroes and villains to join him on his quest.

Coming along for Rip’s ride is Ray Palmer a.k.a. the Atom (who was last seen not-being-dead on Arrow). He’s being heroing since rejoining the land of the living, but he’s not thrilled about his failure to leave a legacy. Rip offers him a chance to be a legend, and Ray’s willing to try anything to make a difference in the world.

Also joining the team is Sara Lance. She’s a member of the no-longer-dead team too (only in her case it’s more literal), but she becomes a time traveler because her sister, Laurel, convinces her that it’s an opportunity to come into the light and be a hero called the White Canary.  

Meanwhile, the duos of Heat Wave & Captain Cold and Firestorm join the ranks as well. Snart and Mick come along because they dream of being the greatest thieves of all time (literally because: time travel) and Dr. Stein drags Jax along (again literally because: drugged) since he wants to science the heck out of time travel.

Lastly, the bird gang of Hawkman and Hawkgirl feel duty bound to join the quest since Vandal Savage’s fate is inextricably tied to theirs. Above and beyond that, they learn that if they aren’t the ones to deal Savage a death blow, his deadness will be less than permanent.

Once the “Legends” are successfully drawn together, Rip takes them to the 1970’s to meet with Dr. Boardman–the only authority on Vandal Savage and the Hawkpeople–to find out where they might be able to intercept Savage in the past, present, and/or future. Unfortunately, they have a bounty hunter on their tail and deadline to beat.

So That’s a Lot Characters, Right?

Not a lot happens plot-wise in the pilot of Legends of Tomorrow. That’s mostly because so much time is spent bringing the characters on board. It’s understandable that things would get off to a slow start when you have this many individuals to wrangle together, but that doesn’t stop the pilot from moving at a snail’s pace until the first jump in time occurs. After that jump, everything starts pulling together. The characters start interacting, the plot jumps forward, and everything gels. It just takes awhile.

As pilots go, Legends of Tomorrow is successful at giving us the basics of what’s going on while establishing characters and interpersonal dynamics. It might not have been as strong of a pilot as The Flash or Arrow had, but it got me caught on the show anyways with it’s sass, style, and Ray Palmer’s tears.

Atom’s Super Now

Brandon Routh is one of those actors that I’ve sort of had a crush on for ages. I adored him in Superman Returns, and I was very excited when he joined Arrow. Unfortunately, he wasn’t great on Arrow. He was the boy-version of Felicity and that didn’t work so well (since there can only ever truly be one Felicity).

Taking him off Arrow and transplanting him on Legends was the best thing that could happen for his character. There’s still his boyish, geeky wonder, but it’s tempered by him having a heartbreaking afterlife crisis.

After discovering that his “death” left no impact on the world, Ray Palmer’s definitely a mess. He had been trying so hard to make a difference that it shakes him when he realizes he didn’t succeed. That absolute pep he had on Arrow is finally gone and it gives him a depth that he originally lacked.

That depth makes him a promising lead character on Legends of Tomorrow. While the show is technically an ensemble, it could benefit from having one or two of its nine(!!) characters taking the forefront. Ray Palmer is the obvious choice because he has a struggle that’s both interesting and tied in with saving the world. 

Sara Lance would be second on my list for focal character.

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Getting Weird With Sara Lance

Never in a millions years would I have expected my new brotp to be Sara Lance and Captain Cold, but the pilot proved that Sara’s at her best when she can get weird with some baddies.

I never much cared for Sara during her time on Arrow. She and Oliver never had the chemistry that the show, obviously, wanted them to have and her plot was filled with too much brooding and melancholy to be interesting in a show already filled to the brim with brooding and melancholy. As a character, Sara had potential, but to fulfill it, she’d have to be free of Ollie’s orbit.

Legends of Tomorrow frees her.

Not that they really have a choice–what with her having the bloodlust from the Lazarus Pit and all–but it seems like she can embrace who she is now that she’s not being watched by Oliver, the guy who feels the need to make every woman in his vicinity behave as he sees fit.

While she’s the White Canary now, it still seems like she’s relishing being a blunt fist rather than actually playing the fallen angel. Not surprisingly, her natural companions in Legends are Snart and Mick.

I appreciated the trio of them going to the bar and getting in a fight (with Captain and Tennille playing in the background). That scene was my favorite of the pilot. It brought out the best of Snart’s sassyness and, surprisingly, coaxed some snark out of Sara too. Those two immediately became the duo to beat on this show. As much as I love seeing Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller back together, Purcell’s Mick doesn’t add much to the show. He doesn’t have Snart’s depth or charm, and I wouldn’t shed a tear if he were to be left in the past, giving Snart and Sara a chance to become BFFs.

The Hawkpeople are Not the Best

Hawkman (who will henceforth be caIled Hawkguy for reasons) and Hawkgirl, in contrast, are my least favorite duo simply because they have no chemistry and, boy, does Hawkguy ruin everything by being incredibly dull.

I had nothing against Kendra on The Flash. She was cute, smart, and a decent foil for Cisco. She had potential as a hero, but it’s been squandered already by pairing her with her “destined lover.”

While occasionally that sort of story can be romantic, here it’s just ew.

There’s nothing really to say about birdman, Khufu. He talks about destiny, has abs, and is otherwise a nothing character in the ranks of Mick. On a show so bloated with characters, he’s really unnecessary (and dull. Did I mention dull?).

Above and beyond that, their story in the pilot was a complete emotional waste. Once it’s revealed that Dr. Boradman is their son, it became obvious that this was going to be a throwaway story about one of their children from another life. The problem with that is that this person is their son. That could have carried a lot of emotional weight. Unfortunately, it that bit of the story was over so quickly that I was disappointed a promising plotline like that was wasted so early in the series.

(I guess with time travel it’s possible we’ll see Boardman again. I hope, at least, that will be the case.)

Martin Stein is the Worst

I spoke too soon when I claimed that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were my least favorite duo. Stein and Jax are technically my least favorite–even though after this episode, I’d hardly call them a duo.

I never liked Martin Stein on The Flash. He was unpleasant and snobby, but somehow, my low opinion of him managed to worsen with the Legends pilot. He is an awful, awful person, isn’t he? He drugged his Firestorm companion, Jax, to get him on the time ship, knowing full well that Jax was adamant about not joining the Legends team. That’s abduction. That’s taking away a person’s free will. That’s just plain wrong.

Because this show loosely exists in the morally weird zone that is the extended Arrow universe, this doesn’t end up being a bad thing. I can’t forgive it though, and I hope Jax gets a better Firestorm partner in the future. Stein’s just not cutting it and should get left in the past because he is the worst.

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Fridge Time with Rory Williams

Rip Hunter (a.k.a. Rory Williams from Doctor Who) is the last of our heroes and, by far, the most distracting character on the series. Not only is he a Time Master (presumably similar to a Time Lord), he also wears a long brown coat and steals a Time Traveling ship. If that doesn’t sound passingly familiar than you must not be a Whovian.

It wasn’t only the weird Doctor Who parallels that threw me off but also his part in the worst bit of the pilot.

I’m talking about the fridging of yet another female character.

Legends of Tomorrow was doing so well with coming up with motivations for its characters until it got to Rip. In a TV universe that is notorious for fridging women (and otherwise treating them awfully to motivate male characters) I was furious when it was revealed that Rip’s wife and child were his motivations for his actions.  I’m very sick of fridging–to the point where it’s a reason I will stop reading books or watching shows.

Since the show did do so well otherwise with motivating its characters, I’ll keep watching, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on good behavior for the foreseeable future.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t expect to like Legends of Tomorrow. I actually expected to hate it. Surprisingly, I didn’t. While a lot of the reviews I’ve read haven’t been overwhelming positive, I think Legends is a decent addition to the Arrowverse. Its pilot had rough points, but its characters show promise and the time traveling concept could be timey whimey fun.

I’d definitely say try it!

What did you think of Legends of Tomorrow? What’s your favorite Arrowverse show? 

Image Source: Screencapped

Graphic Novel Review: Hinges

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Clockwork City is a town populated entirely by automatons and dolls. Each automaton starts as a blank slate. They are given a name, clothes, and their choice of odd (a plushie companion) and then introduced to the city and assigned a job.

Orio, the heroine of Hinges, awakens and goes through all the steps. Unfortunately, when she makes her choice of odd, she chooses Bauble–a troublesome creature who causes so much mayhem that she’s unable to find a position.

Life gets more complicated for Orio when something begins murdering automatons. Bauble tries to help, proving that there might be more to him than being a troublemaker after all.

Hinges started as a webcomic created by Meredith Mcclaren. Image published the graphic novel edition, but the original is still available online (so you don’t have to worry about tracking down the graphic novel to read the story). There are further adventures of Orio and Bauble on Mcclaren’s blog too–which is great because I’m, at least, looking forward to reading more about Clockwork City and its collection of characters.

I first discovered Hinges while browsing the Graphic Novel section at a bookstore. Its art and overall look immediately caught my attention. The sepia tones and stark loveliness of Clockwork City made me need to read the story. It’s not often that art draws me in, but Mcclaren’s style was just so different that I got caught up in it.

Reading Hinges was actually almost like watching a silent movie. There was some dialogue, but it was the characters’ expressions and the world around them that really told the story.

My only qualm about the art (and it’s not a huge one) was that the action sequences were a bit rough. Occasionally, I was taken out of the story when trying to decipher what exactly was happening in a certain panel, but I’m hoping that as the story goes on the style of the more action-heavy pages will get smoother.

As for the characters, I really liked Orio and Bauble. Orio didn’t utter a word until the last page, but I felt like I got to know her all the same. Bauble, on the other hand, was hilarious and brave, and he 100% made me wish that I had my own odd. (Furbies are the closest thing the real world has to odds and that’s just unacceptable!) The side characters were great too and almost all women–which I obviously liked. I definitely want to see Floyd (a haberdasher) and Orio working together in the next “Books.” I think Floyd’s curmudgeonly attitude will be an interesting foil to Orio’s sweetness.

Hinges was a very cute and entertaining graphic novel. It’s technically an all-ages comic, but I think it would appeal more to teens and adults than the “Ages 9+” that it’s suited for.

I’d highly recommend checking Meredith Mcclaren’s work out–especially if you’ve ever wanted to have a walking-talking plushie companion of your own.
Is you could have a stuffed animal companion, what would it be?

Image Source: Goodreads

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2016

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Joining in with The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday again!

Most years, I don’t make normal resolutions. I tend to find that sort of thing unnecessarily stressful. The only exception is that I always set reading goals for myself. Usually, that’s as part of the Goodreads Reading Challenge, but I also try to strongly encourage myself to read certain things every year.

In 2015, I wanted to read 75 books and to read more diversely. I surpassed my goal of 75 books easily, and I do have to say that I did better at reading the works of diverse authors than I have in previous years. Overall, it was a win (despite several bad reading slumps and A LOT of graphic novels read).  I’m hoping this year to do better so I thought I’d make a longer list of book-related goals this year.

Like with other years, I don’t plan to hold myself to completing all of these, but I tried to make them as easily doable as possible. These ten “resolutions” are all things I actually want to do so we’ll see how it goes in 2016 !

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2016

  • Reread the Shannara Chronicles Before Watching the TV Show ~ I read Terry Brooks series when I was in high school–which was long enough ago that I remember next to nothing about the books. The previews for the show look excellent, but the book nerd in me needs to know what’s in the books before even embarking on the pilot. Time to get cracking those spines since the show premieres soon. (Only a figure of speech, of course. I don’t crack spines.)
  • Start Game of Thrones ~ I’d say read the entirety of the Game of Thrones series, but I’m not 100% certain that I’ll like it. Finishing the first book would be an excellent start. Finishing the second would be even better. We’ll see what happens.
  • Catch Up on Series ~ This should be like five different resolutions because there are plenty of series I’m WAY behind on. I need to read Knight’s Shadow, three of The Expanse books, and Invasion of the Tearling. I was so proud of myself for getting to After You by Jojo Moyes last year, but now, I’m feeling the pressure of all these unfinished series!
  • Read Batman and Superman Graphic Novels in Preparation for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice ~ I love Superman and Batman, but I’m bad and haven’t actually read any of their comics. I tend to shy away from the testosterone heavy superhero series, but I want to finally give them a try.
  • Read 75 Books This Year ~ I used to set my goal at 100 books every year, but I’m a perfectionist and I stress out if I don’t feel like I’m meeting my full potential. . .even if that just has to do with not reading all the books I meant to in a year. I set my goal at 75 now because I can meet it without having to try too hard (and it also makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I inevitably surpass that number).
  • Read Some Non-Fiction ~ I like non-fiction in theory. I just don’t read that much of it anymore unless it’s a memoir. I used to love reading non-fiction so it’s about time I got into that again.
  • Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ~ The film’s coming out. I need to buckle down and read this. I own it so I really have no excuse, and if all else fails, I can listen to the audiobook on my lunch break.
  • Read Lady Susan by Jane Austen ~ Sticking with the theme, I’ve read a lot of Jane Austen, but I never read her last (unfinished) novel. Again, I own it (no excuses) and I really just want to get to it before the confusingly titled adaptation, Love & Friendship, is released. (I have read Love & Friendship, by the way, but there’s no way anyone would actually adapt that manicness to the screen.)
  • Read Some Books in Translation ~ I haven’t read many translated books since I was in college–maybe like one that was originally in French. I already have one book out of the library that was written by a Chilean author, but I need to try some more. If you have any recs for this goal, let me know! It’s sort of intimidating to know where to start.
  • Read Diversely ~ Last year, I made this resolution and I’m doing it again this year. (I want to try to read more and more books by Women and POC every year!) With this resolution, I also am going to try to focus more on diverse books on the blog. I did that to a certain extent in 2015, but I want to go even further with it this year.

Do you have any reading goals this year? How do you feel about resolutions in general? Yay or nay?

Image Source: Kiss Them Goodbye

Graphic Novel Review: Shadow of the Queen

shadow-of-the-queen

The Evil Queen concocts a new plan to find Snow White. With the help of the werewolves, she will finally track down her nemesis’ hiding place. She sends her Huntsman to the mines to collect the silver needed to “persuade” the wolves to help the queen. The queen’s newest plan, unfortunately, places the Huntsman into a difficult position. His actions will lead to many deaths. He may not have control of his heart, but that doesn’t mean he has no conscience. 

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