Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill WillinghamFairest Vol. 1: Wide Awaye by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Phil Jiminez, Andy Lanning, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Fairest series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-7 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Love’s labors lost and found

They call her Sleeping Beauty, but life’s always been ugly for Princess Briar Rose. Cursed at birth by a pissed-off fairy godmother, she wound up acting as a one-woman weapon of mass destruction against the Adversary in the last days of his war against the Free Fables. She won the day, but at the cost of sending herself into a permanent nap from which one true love’s kiss can awaken her. Few would have guessed that it would be Ali Baba, Prince of Thieves, who would rise to the challenge–or that he;d be accompanied by an obnoxious, not-quite-a-genie sidekick. But as Briar Rose’s true origin is revealed, can this no-longer-sleeping beauty and her Prince Charmless escape the cold fury of the Adversary’s former right-hand woman–the icily regal Snow Queen?

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of other stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing storyline.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff LemireBlack Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire with art by Dan Ormston

Genre: Superhero Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Black Hammer series
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 184
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the comic series
From the publisher:

Once they were heroes. Now, banished from existence by a multiversal crisis, the old champions of Spiral City lead simple lives in a timeless farming town. But as they attempt to free themselves from this strange purgatory, a mysterious stranger works to bring them back into action for one last adventure!

My Thoughts:
I know. Another Lemire. I can’t help it I love his work and this one is no exception. This is the first trade paperback collection of this new series. Lemire wrote it and Dean Ormston did the artwork. In fact, Dean Ormston did the artwork after suffering a brain hemorrhage that affected the right side of his body. He’s right handed and had to recover from having his drawing hand partially paralyzed. It’s a bit of a superhero story about the making of a series about superheroes.

This is a superhero story but with a distinct Jeff Lemire feel to it. The characters’ superhero days seem to be behind them. They are living in a farming community and hiding their identities and talents. How they got there and whether they can leave is unknown. Each issue focuses on one of the main characters and both gives their background as well as filling in bits and pieces of the story.

This is clearly an introductory and stage setting book with much of it devoted to filling in who the characters are more than moving the story forward. It’s a twisty story too. Time and space shifting keeps the settings interesting and give Dean Ormston plenty of opportunities for creating different scenes.

I’m hooked and highly recommend this. I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until the next collected edition is released. I’m going to have to subscribe to the individual issues of this series.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 0 comments

Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman
Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #12 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 184
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 12 is a compilation of issues 155-60 of the comic series plus a bonus one-shot.
From the back cover:

This the final story arc of Tony Chu, the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats. Mysteries are solved, secrets are revealed and lives are lost. Many, many lives. This is the end of the line for the New York Times Best Selling, Harvey and multiple Eisner Award-winner series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals, and clairvoyants.

My Thoughts:
This series is weird, disturbing, violent and absolutely hilarious. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about without sounding completely off my rocker. But then again, several characters in this series may be completely off their rockers.

It’s been a weird and wild ride and I was looking forward to seeing how the author would manage to wind this up. Lots of bodies is one answer. Solving some mysteries is another. Leaving a few questions open was somewhat expected. A final page that was fabulous was wonderful.

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some pretty bizarre and violent stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross. There is plenty of funny stuff in the background of the main action.

This series is just wacky and weird and slightly gross and funny and twisted and interesting.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Descender Book Three: Singularities by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 2 comments

Descender Book Three: Singularities by Jeff Lemire
Descender Book Three: Singularities by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Descender #3
Format: Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 128
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 12-16 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

One young robot’s struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. A rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey that pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling space opera from the creators of Trillium, Sweet Tooth, and Little Gotham.

My Thoughts:
I pretty much love everything I’ve ever read by Jeff Lemire and this series is no exception. This volume is a bit of a break in the action of the story but it’s a good respite. Each issue in this volume focuses on one of the characters introduced since the beginning.

In each case it’s the background and history up to the point where the story left off in book two. I enjoyed the background stories but I ended up feeling sad for almost all of them. These are some damaged characters and this applies even (and almost more so) to the robots.

The artwork by Dustin Nguyen is wonderful. It’s done in watercolors but it’s vivid and varied in all of the different settings.

The lettering in this series by Steve Wands continues to be as much artwork as Dustin Nguyen’s artwork

While the break in the story to explore some of the characters more deeply was nice, I’m counting the days until the next volume comes out in July.

I highly recommend this series.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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Descender Book Two: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 4 comments

Descender Book Two: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire
Descender Book Two: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Descender #2
Format: Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 7-11 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

Young Robot boy TIM-21 and his companions struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. Written by award-winning creator, Jeff Lemire, Descender is a rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey. Lemire pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling epic.

My Thoughts:
Lemire has a way of telling a story through the innocent eyes and trusting nature of a child. In this case the ‘child’ is a childlike android who was designed to help people as a companion robot. He has “proprietary empathy settings” that adapt and make him seem like a member of the family both to his human companions and Tim-21 himself.

Not surprisingly since it’s also from Image Comics, the imaginative story reminds me of Saga with the combination of robots, human and human like characters as well as some distinctly non-human creatures.

The artwork by Dustin Nguyen is wonderful. It’s done in watercolors but it’s vivid and varied in the different settings.The lettering in this series by Steve Wands is notable for its variations that clearly designate different types of speech (human, machine,creature) as well as volume.

I have purposely not said anything about the plot because pretty much anything I say would be a spoiler. It’s a bit of a thriller with some wonderful moments of humor.

I highly recommend this series.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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The Fade Out Act One by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 4 comments

The Fade Out Act One by Ed Brubaker
The Fade Out, Act One by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 1-4 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

The Fade Out is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this is like read in a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it was a hit for me. It’s set in 1948 Hollywood with WWII in recent memories, McCarthy Communist hunting in full force and the Hollywood studio system in flux after Paramount lost an antitrust suit.

It opens with screenwriter Charlie Parish waking up after a night of wild partying in the bathtub of a house that isn’t his. Then he discovers the lead actress of the movie he’s working on strangled in her living room. He leaves and doesn’t call the police. The plot thickens several times before this volume is over but I can’t say anything more without giving away things but there is an appearance by Clark Gable.

The art is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous. The panels are just as moody and atmospheric as you could want for a story like this but never too monochromatic or hard to figure out what was going on.

This is a three-volume story and I plan on getting the other two very soon.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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