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.

Comic Mini Reviews: Ms. Marvel #1-5, Buzz! & The Wicked + The Divine #1-5

Title: No Normal
Author: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Series: Ms. Marvel #1-5
Rating: 5 Stars
120 pages – Published October 30th 2014 by Marvel
Bought

Ms. Marvel is one of the most accoladed comics of 2014, and not without reason. Defying the standard white-washed gendered comic conventions, Ms. Marvel has Marvel’s first muslim protagonist.

Shock-factor aside, Ms. Marvel is just a great comic with a great main character. I could relate with Kamala – her problems of identity, friendship, and independance are things every teen struggles with in some way or another. Kamala isn’t a stereotype, nor is she a caricature ridiculing the plights of the children of immigrant families. I found Kamala to be incredibly well done, and I really enjoyed her transformation into a super hero. Honestly, the only shocking thing about this all in my opinion, is the fact that Marvel waited so long with creating a non-Christian non-white main character.

Title: Buzz!
Author: Ananth Panagariya
Artist: Tessa Stone
Series: Standalone
Rating: 2 Stars
169 pages – Published December 17th 2013 by Oni Press
Bought

Buzz! features a world where spelling bees are the shit, and there are even underground illegal bees where people face off – sometimes to the death. Webster falls into a bad crowd at the first day at school, and finds himself entering the spelling bee competition.

The art is done in a black and white style with bright yellow splashes. Sometimes the character’s shirts are yellow and black striped, bee-style. Spelling bee, bee colours, get it? Get it? The yellow splashes looked okay, but they were too bright and distracting while reading for me.

Though Buzz! is often compared to Scott Pilgrim, I barely saw any resemblance. The spelling bee fighting scenes were cluttered and unclear, the geeky humour absent, and the characters predictable and clichéd. Buzz! doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Title: The Faust Act
Author: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Series: The Wicked + The Divine #1-5
Rating: 5 Stars
144 pages – Published November 12th 2014 by Image Comics
Bought

The art in The Wicked + The Divine is stunning. The use of colour, the aesthetic, the panelling… This comic looks pretty damn amazing. Combined with an intriguing story and interesting characters, this makes for one awesome read. I read this digitally, but can’t wait to get a paper copy of it as well. I would love to reread the story and get to know the gods closer. And I’m very curious to see where the story leads in the next volume!