Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Comics | 4 comments

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: Paper Girls #2
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 125
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 6-10 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

After surviving the strangest night of their lives in the Cleveland suburb of Stony Stream, intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future… the year 2016. What would you do if you were confronted by your 12-year-old self? 40-year-old newspaper reporter Erin Tieng is about to find out in this action-packed story about identity, mortality, and growing older in the 21st century

My Thoughts:
I started the first volume of this series not really knowing what to expect but positive that almost anything by Brian K. Vaughan would be good. It was a little bit of science fiction, a little bit of paranormal, a little bit of nostalgia for the late 1980’s and just a whole lot of fun. Four paper delivery girls stumbled into the middle of strange events that weren’t totally explained in volume one but it was so good I’ve been waiting for Volume 2.

Apparently so were a lot of other people. I finally got to the top of the hold list at the library. I read this in one sitting and I’m already getting annoyed about having to wait for volume 3. I have a feeling that this a comic series I’ll subscribe to the digital editions of the individual issues.

Three of the original girls land in 2016 right in front of the present day adult version of one of them. It’s time travel with plenty of twists.

There’s a lot of action and adventure but there is also a lot of humor. Landing 3 twelve year old girls from 1988 in 2016 makes for some pretty funny moments.

1988 meets 2016

Click on the image for s larger version

The art is wonderful. It’s colorful and even though some of the creatures are kind of gross it’s not disgusting.

This is a comic series you should be reading either in the collected volumes or the individual issues.

Brian K. Vaughan does it again.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Comics | 4 comments

Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Paper Girls series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 1-5 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smashhit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

My Thoughts:
I admit that I have a bit of a predisposition to like most of what Brian K. Vaughan does. When a friend from my LibraryThing group recommended this I was an easy sell. He was absolutely right. I loved it. In fact, I don’t want to wait for the next trade collection to find out what happens. I will likely subscribe to the digital individual issues. This is just fun.

Set in late 1980’s Cleveland on a Halloween night the strange things the four paper girls encounter are initially possible Halloween costumes and pranks. It doesn’t take long though, to figure out that this is much stranger than they initially think. The flying dinosaurs from outer space are a pretty good hint.

Time travel, creatures from outer space, apple symbols (that I can’t wait to find out more about) and general all around good adventure featuring four smart teenage girls. It ends on a cliffhanger so you’ve been warned.

This is completely beyond explanation but trust me. Find this series. Read it.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in 3.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Graphic Novel | 2 comments

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Niko Henrichon

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 136
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A fictionalized account of the true story of lions who escaped the zoo after the 2003 bombing of Baghdad.

Why I Read It:
Recommended highly (and repeatedly) by many of my friends.

The Book:
From the publisher:

In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, Pride of Baghdad raises questions about the true meaning of liberation — can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?

My Thoughts:
Told by and from the viewpoint of the animals this is a beautifully told and illustrated story. The four lions who are the main characters all have distinct personalities. When their world they know in the zoo is suddenly changed so drastically the freedom they have wanted is granted. However in a city at war is a dangerous and desperate place for all of the zoo animals.

The artwork in this is simply beautiful despite the wartime setting.

The political allegory is pretty much what I’d expected and I knew what the final outcome would be so that didn’t come as a surprise either. The telling of the story through the animals both worked and yet didn’t work for me. At some points it felt like bits and pieces of both The Lion King and the Madagascar movies. The anthropormorphizing of the animals at times went a bit too far into humans they represent in the allegory but overall it was still a good book.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Y: The Last Man Vol. 9: Motherland and Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K Vaughan

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Graphic Novel | 2 comments

Y: The Last Man Vol. 9: Motherland by Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Vol. 9: Motherland and Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K Vaughan with artwork by Pia Guerra and Goran Sudzuka

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #9 and #10 of the Y: The Last Man Series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: Vol. 9 – 2007, Vol. 10 – 2001
Pages: Vol. 9 – 143, Vol. 10 – 167
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The final two volumes in a series about what happens after all the males die except for a young man and his pet capuchin monkey.

Why I Read It:
This series has been a bit of a hit or miss journey but at a certain point I had to finish to find out how it ended.

The Book:
These two volumes are compilations of issues 49-60 of the comic series.
From the Publisher:
Volume 9: Motherland

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. Finally reunited, the last two males on Earth – Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand – are on a slow boat to China, heading for a long-awaited reunion with Yorick’s lost fiancée in Paris. But while the pair are getting ready to cross two more continents with their longtime protector Agent 355, their other traveling companions – biochemist Dr. Allison Mann and her girlfriend Rose – are nearing the end of a different quest: finding out what caused the plague that wiped out every other mammal with a Y chromosome four years later.
What they find, in a hidden lab in Hong Kong, is something that none of them expected – something that could mean the end not just for the Last Man, but for any future his gender might have.

Volume 10: Whys and Wherefores

THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE. More than four years after the male-killing plague scoured the Y chromosome from the planet, the saga of Earth’s two surviving males is about to come to a close. In their long odyssey around the globe, Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand (together with their traveling companions Agent 355 and Dr. Allison Mann) have managed, against the near-constant threat of death and despair, to discover a possible origin of the gendercide and – in Yorick’s case – to father one of the first children of a new, post-male generation.
Now the remaining trio of Yorick, Ampersand and Agent 355 are at last approaching Paris, where Yorick’s long-lost fiancée Beth awaits – along with the heavily armed women who have been hunting him across land and sea. There, in the City of Light, the Last Man’s search will finally end – or so it seems.

My Thoughts:
Overall this series has been a fun and interesting ride. Set in the near future, it’s full of political and social commentary pertinent to our current time. It takes place over essentially a 5 year time frame beginning with a sudden plague that kills all the male mammals on earth with the exception of a young man and the pet capuchin monkey he was training to be a service animal.

Their journey beginning in the chaos of the initial disaster in the US, takes them around the world as a new social and political world develops. The changing gender roles and the various political and military (also pseudo military) factions make for an interesting backdrop to the storylines that are the ongoing thread through the series. Dr. Mann is searching for the answer to what caused the plague and why. Agent 355 is trying to keep Yorick safe and alive. Yorick’s goal is to reunite with his fiancée who was in Australia when the plague hit.

Along the way there are several groups of characters and storylines that intersect and entwine with the three major characters. Along the way there were some I cheered for and some I was happy to see end or fade away.

Did it all wrap up neatly? No. There were some threads that didn’t really get explained or resolved and there were others that wrapped up a bit too neatly or conveniently for my taste but overall I think the final outcome made sense in the context of the series as a whole. The final epilogue section had both some of my least favorite moments as well as some of my favorites.

The artwork throughout the series was good. Characters changed but remained consistent. There was a variety of settings and moods to portray along the way and Pia Guerra’s work impressed me.

Through the ten volumes of the series it had both great moments and moments that annoyed the heck out of me but all in all it was pretty darn entertaining and inventive.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Y: The Last Man Vol. 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Graphic Novel | 2 comments

Y: The Last Man Vol 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Pia Guerra

Y: The Last Man Vol 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Pia Guerra

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #8 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Four years after a plague killed all the male mammals the lone surviving Man is still trying to find out what happened and why he’s still alive.

Why I Read It:
I’m enjoying this series and have to continue to find out what happens. Besides, I think I just like every thing Brian K Vaughan ever wrote.

The Book:
This volume 8 is a compilation of issues 43-48 of the comic series.

From the back of the book:

MAN ABOUT TOWN

Nearly four years after a global plague killed every male mammal on Earth, the two exceptions – Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand – now find themselves in Japan. Following Ampersand’s abduction by a sword-wielding mercenary, Yorick and his companions (government operative 355 and biochemist Dr. Allison Mann) have tracked him to the Land of the Rising Sun, w the culture has adapted to the loss of its men in some uniquely Japanese ways. To retrieve his pet – whose body may hold the key to humanity’s survival – Yorick and 355 must travel to Tokyo and navigate a tricky maze of Yakuza remnants, little-girl gangsters and pop star entitlement gone mad.

At the same time, Dr. Mann and her new girlfriend head to her mother’s home for a chilly family reunion. Their reaception is even more hostile than expected, but it also results in a startling revelation – one which could point the way towards solving the final, overriding mystery of what – or who -caused the Gendercide.

My Thoughts:
With two volumes to go until the end this series is both winding down and getting more and more complex at the same time. This one has plenty of action and also fills in the background stories of a couple of characters.

With Yorick and his companions now in Japan it’s time for them to split up. Yorick and Agent 355 have quite an adventure hunting down Ampersand and the action really picks up along the way. Meanwhile Dr. Mann and her girlfriend find Dr. Mann’s mother and as secrets are revealed they bring up almost as many questions as answers.

With a couple of side trips to check in on things back in the States (with their own surprising developments) the stage is set for what I hope will be an interesting finish.

The final two sections of this one are devoted to the back stories of Dr. Mann and the Israeli commando who’s been after Yorick ever since the first volume of the series. It was good to get more background on both of them.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan | 5 comments

Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #7 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 143
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The last man to survive a sudden plague that killed all the male mammals on Earth is still trying to find out why.

Why I Read It:
I’m enjoying this series and have to continue to find out what happens. Besides, I’m pretty much predisposed to like anything Brian K. Vaughan writes.

The Book:
This volume 7 is a compilation of issues 37-42 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

Man Overboard

Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth, has finally reached the country where his fiancée Beth has been stranded since the male-killing plague struck more than three years ago. Unfortunately, the visit is just a stopover – the trail that has led Yorick and his companions (government operative Agent 355 and biochemist Dr. Allison Mann) to the shores of Australia continues on to Japan, where Yorick’s pet monkey Ampersand – the only other male mammal to survive the plague, and the possible key to its cure – has been taken.

Before pursuing Ampersand north, however, Yorick has a brief window of time to find Beth in the remains of Sydney. But his search also provides a chance at the story of a lifetime for one muckraking journalist – a story whose consequences may be graver than anyone could guess.

My Thoughts:
This series has been either great or just OK for me so far. For me, this volume had it’s good points and bad points. Finally Yorick gets to Australia and while only a stopover on their way to Japan he’s determined to find Beth. Of course since it’s Yorick it doesn’t go well.

There are multiple story lines that are touched on in this volume and with only 3 left I expect them to start spiraling together but it does make up for some choppiness in the flow.

I did like the sections that went into the background stories of both Agent 355 and Ampersand the monkey. It was good to learn more about their histories.

Dr. Mann and her story in this one was where I was surprised. I’m curious to see where the next volume will take this.

There were also some surprises involving Yorick’s sister and characters from previous volumes.

I’m expecting this pace to pick up and continue to spiral toward the conclusion over the next three volumes.

I may have to binge read the last three volumes of this series

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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