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.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson

Title: Lumberjanes
Author: Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Series: Lumberjanes #1-4
Rating: 4 Stars
128 pages – Expected publication April 8th 2015 by BOOM! Studios
Bought

Summary: Camping was never this dangerous. The Lumberjanes, five teenage best friends, have some pretty strange adventures at the scout camp this summer.

What I liked:

  • Don’t you just hate all those comics where the female body is all leg, boob, and butt? Enter Lumberjanes – a comic where teenagers have actual awkward teenage bodies
  • Having humor in comic books is hard, or honestly, in any kind of book. A successful joke is dependant on perfect timing, and I think the writers of Lumberjanes nailed it. I laughed out loud several times throughout the book
  • Girl powerrrrr!
  • Honestly, I was expecting this one to be rather lame by the premise, but it completely surprised me by being filled with crazy action and awesome characters
  • There is no swearing, violence, or nudity. If you have any preteens in your life you’d like to give something fun, this is a good one
  • It has one of the cutest romances ever. I love that this one isn’t about grand gestures and amazing proclamations, but about things like holding hands and being aware of each other
  • There is this entire Indiana Jones-esque sequence that’s pretty brilliant

What I didn’t like:

  • The girls are very diverse, but I had troubles keeping track of who was called what
  • Although I love the crazy adventures and the running around, I was hoping for more of a plotline – though it looks like the next volume will have more of that
  • Because in most panels all five girls are present, they can seem rather busy and crowded

Verdict: An adorable and funny comic, which has given me an appetite for more. Perfect gift for someone in need of some PG girl power

4 stars

Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp… defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons… what’s not to love?! Friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! /em>

Planet of the Apes, Vol. 1: The Long War by Daryl Gregory

Title: The Long War
Author: Daryl Gregory
Series: Planet of the Apes #1-4
Rating: 4 Stars
112 pages – Published October 18th 2011 by Boom! Studios
Bought

Summary: When an ape is assassinated by a human, the unstable truce between the two factions shatters.

What I liked:

  • Even though I have never seen any movie or read any comic in the Planet of the Apes franchise, I had no trouble getting into this book. Everything is exposed clearly and without resorting to massive chunks of text to explain back story
  • The art style is grittier and darker than I’m usually attracted to, but it works great with the subject matter
  • There are so many themes underlying the conflicts in this book. It’s interesting how a war between apes and humans forces you to think about humanity
  • I’m starting to think this is just a Boom! Studios staple, but, female characters that are integral to the plot! There is nothing I hate more than the obligatory eye-candy damsel in distress female, in a story that is 99% male. In this comic there are good males, good females, bad males, and bad females. That’s what I like to see
  • Also, a pregnant female main character who’s still kicking ass. Awesome

What I didn’t like:

  • The story is so short! I wish this was told in six-issue arcs rather than a four-issue one. It’s over so quickly
  • Some evil characters look too much like evil characters. They just ooze evilness
  • I think some of the technology is rather implausible

Verdict: This Planet of the Apes comic is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar to the franchise. It has the added benefit of being way less sexist than most comics, though the downside is that it’s rather short.

4 stars

The classic action and drama of Apes is back in this brand new graphic novel series.

Get your hands on these damn dirty Apes! Beginning an all new series that takes place before the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie in the continuity of the first five films. Ape society has reached a new golden age. But there are ripples of dissent in both the ape and human ranks. Tensions will rise and soon all will be caught in chaos! And amidst all this uncertainty, what is the fate of…The Lawgiver? Written by award-winning novelist Daryl Gregory.