Graphic Novel Mini Reviews: Nimona, Lost at Sea & Thor: Goddess of Thunder

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3 Stars
272 pages – Published May 12th 2015 by HarperCollins
Gifted

The start of this comic was so funny, cute, quirky, and lovely. Sadly the latter half didn’t live up to the former. There was not enough time spent on the strengths of the comic; the relationships between the characters and the humour. Nimona starts off so fresh and original, but in the end collapses under genre tropes, an overarching plot that felt done before, and a rather unsatisfying ending.

Would definitely have been better with more shark jokes.

Title: Lost at Sea
Author: Brian Lee O’Malley
Series: Standalone
Rating: 4 Stars
160 pages – Published May 3rd 2005 by Oni Press
Bought

Lost at Sea is the debut graphic novel of Brian Lee O’Malley – you might know him from his Scott Pilgrim books. Lost at Sea is more whimsical and lyrical in its writing. Text floats throughout the panels, sometimes a page only has one image, and most of the text is internal monologue. I loved the idea of this book, and it’s incredibly quotable with amazing haunting images. The four-colour scheme adds to the ethereal quality of the book. My only gripe is that the ending was too abrupt. It was almost as if he ran out of pages to make his point, and squished them in the last two instead of making a proper final climax. For a debut, Lost at Sea is pretty amazing.

Title: Thor, Vol. 1: Goddess of Thunder
Author: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Series: Thor (2014) #1-5
Rating: 4 Stars
136 pages – Published May 26th by Marvel
Bought

I bought Goddess of Thunder because of the fantastic cover and the fact that I love another female-centered Marvel comic, Ms. Marvel. Goddess of Thunder is a good starting point for a Marvel noob like me – you don’t really need to know all that much about the Marvel universe to be able to enjoy this comic. I have only seen one Thor movie and the first Avengers one, and they gave me enough background to appreciate this comic. The big blonde Thor guy is no longer worthy of his hammer, but some mysterious lady picks it up… The artwork is fantastic, and I love how the new Thor knows how to kick frost giant butts.

Comic Mini Reviews: Saga #1-18

Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Series: Saga #1-6
Rating: 4 Stars
160 pages – Published October 23rd 2012 by Image Comics
Bought

Saga is a violent space opera science-fiction romp with explicit sex scenes and a whole lot of randomness. It has a high shock factor, and probably shouldn’t be read in class or at work. Or any public place for that matter. (Really, don’t do it. It will get you VERY weird looks.) Gimmicks aside, Saga is also incredibly well written, funny, poignant, and has some fantastic messages on violence and its pointlessness. It’s great. The (rather adult) style reminded me of Rat Queens, which is similar, only set in a fantasy world.

Title: Saga, Vol. 2
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Series: Saga #7-12
Rating: 4 Stars
144 pages – Published July 2nd 2013 by Image Comics
Bought

I very much enjoyed how the second volume of Saga fleshes out the characters some more. Alana, our leading lady, is fabulously written. I love how Saga is more concerned with love within a family, and devotion towards loved ones rather than the falling in romantic love most fiction focusses on. This volume is shorter than the first, and felt slightly unfinished. The plot arc wasn’t as well-defined as it was in the first volume. The shock-factor is still present, but I’m probably becoming immune for it.

Title: Saga, Vol. 3
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Series: Saga #13-18
Rating: 3 Stars
144 pages – Published March 25th 2014 by Image Comics
Bought

Completing the story arc that started in the first Saga volume, the third left me rather confused. This graphic novel is filled with people receiving mortal wounds, yet only a few of them die. Someone got shot in the back of the head, but apparently is alive and kicking in the next chapter. The story was okay, but I felt like there were too many characters I didn’t care for. The art in this comic is great, but I’m not sure I’m interested enough to find out more in the next volume.

Letter 44, Vol. 1: Escape Velocity by Charles Soule

Title: Escape Velocity
Author: Charles Soule
Series: Letter 44 #1-6
Rating: 3 Stars
144 pages – Published July 30th 2014 by Oni Press
Bought

Summary: On his first day of his new job, president Stephen Blades finds a letter of his predecessor. In this letter, he learns about an alien construction hidden in space, and about the space mission on its way to discover what the construction is, and why it’s there.

What I liked:

  • I’ve been binging on science-fiction reads lately, and I liked this take on the “intelligent beings in space” theme. More mystery, and less big-headed green guys
  • President Blades is put in a difficult position – will he tell the public about the proof of intelligent being in the universe, or won’t he?
  • I liked how the spaceship team was made up of a combination of military and scientific personnel, and how they interacted with each other

What I didn’t like:

  • Jezus Christ, there is way too much text in this comic. Isn’t the idea that both the pictures and the words tell the story. If you need so much text, you know you’re not doing it right
  • The political intrigue didn’t live up to my expectations. All the different factions could have been awesome, but there just wasn’t enough conflict. It was all fairly standard and predictable
  • The art. It was just a bit meh
  • By the end of the book, we’ve barely progressed in the story. Too much time is spent on unimportant subplots, and the main attraction doesn’t go beyond basic development

Verdict: A mediocre politics and space mash-up. Mainly consists of heavy-handed dialogue and useless action scenes, without any real meat to the story.

3stars

On Inauguration Day, newly elected President Stephen Blades hoped to tackle the most critical issues facing the nation: war, the economy, and a failing health care system. But in a letter penned by the outgoing President, Blades learns the truth that redefines “critical”: seven years ago, NASA discovered alien presence in the asteroid belt, and kept it a secret from the world. A stealth mission crewed by nine astronauts was sent to make contact, and they’re getting close – assuming they survive the long journey to reach their destination.

Today, President-elect Blades has become the most powerful man on the planet. This planet.