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: 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!

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.