Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in 2017, 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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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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Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Trillium by Jeff Lemire
Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 192
Source: Library

The Book:
This is a collection of the 8 issues of the limited series.
From the publisher:

It’s the year 1921, and renowned English explorer William Pike leads an expedition into the dense jungles of Peru in search of the fabled “Lost Temple of the Incas,” an elusive sanctuary said to have strange healing properties.

It’s the year 3797, and botanist Nika Temsmith is researching a strange species on a remote science station near the outermost rim of colonized space.

Two disparate souls separated by thousands of years and hundreds of millions of miles. Yet they will fall in love and, as a result, bring about the end of the universe. Even though reality is unraveling all around them, nothing can pull them apart. This isn’t just a love story, it’s the LAST love story ever told.

My Thoughts:
It should come as absolutely no surprise to regular readers to hear that I adored this. I’ll admit that I am predisposed to love all things Lemire but he keeps finding ways to drill his characters into my heart.

Nika and William are from two different times and places but an ancient temple allows them to connect and fall in love. When the connection between them becomes a rip in time and space the story becomes even more complicated. They are still inexorably drawn to each other while the future of the human race hangs in the balance.

Lemire’s art is as always roughly drawn but this time around the coloring is interesting. Some of it was colored digitally by Jose Villarrubia and parts were hand done in watercolors by Lemire. Initially it shows a clear distinction between the two time periods but as the two blend so does the coloring style.

Once again Jeff Lemire has come up with something completely different that his other work and created characters and a story that will be with me for a long time.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in 2015, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 510
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Originally published as a trilogy of graphic novels, this collected edition includes some additional material.

Why I Read It:
I read the three books in the trilogy over a period of several months but knew partway through that I wanted to reread them again back to back. Fortunately my library had this collected edition available.

The Book:
From the back cover:
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception? Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute to his roots with Essex County, an award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of his hometown, the eccentric farming community of Essex County, Ontario, Canada. In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free. This new edition collects the complete, critically-acclaimed trilogy (Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse) in one deluxe volume! Also included are over 40-pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories.

My Thoughts:
I am an unabashed fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. I had already read the three books that make up his Essex County Trilogy. My reviews of those as individual works have already been posted.
Tales from the Farm
Ghost Stories
The Country Nurse

While they work just fine as related stories there is a definite long term story through the trilogy and experiencing it again was something I was glad I did. Part of that was because in reading them straight through I could immerse myself in the feeling of the story and the world of the characters. Part of it was that having read the story I was glad to be back at the beginning with full knowledge of how it ended. I think reading it all together made a highly evocative story even more so.

Lemire has a talent for expressing incredible emotion from his deceptively simple drawing style. It seems so sparse but it says so much.

The extras in this collected edition are some artwork and images of some of the promotional materials from the initial publication of the trilogy.

The two additional stories are not anything that changes the big picture of the story but are interesting side notes to what I’d already read. Originally planned as part of the trilogy they were later edited out and became adjunct stories. Lemire opted to include them in this collected edition and I was glad to read then as well as his original intentions about them.

The Essex County Trilogy is a wonderful series. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend seeking out this one volume collected edition. I fell in love with the story all over again. I honestly think it works better as one book rather than three

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Oct 2, 2015 in 2015, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: #1 in the Descender Series
Format: Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 148
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
Ten years after all robots are banned a childlike android may hold the clue to keeping the universe safe from further attack.

Why I Read It:
I read it because I adore everything I’ve read by Jeff Lemire.

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

Ten Years after planet-sized robots called Harvesters appeared and wreaked havoc across the galaxy, a young android named TIM-21 wakes to find that all robots have been outlawed. But TIM may hold the secrets to the Harvesters in his machine DNA and he quickly becomes the most wanted robot in the universe. With bounty hunters and threats lurking at every turn TIM embarks on a mind-blowing adventure through the stars along with his robot dog, Bandit, and the lumbering mining droid, Driller.

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.

I am a class-A companion robot. My primary function is to entertain, protect and assist in the education of my assigned human child companion. Secondary functions include using my proprietary empathy settings to adapt to and gradually assimilate with my human companions.

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.

I have always enjoyed everything I’ve read by Lemire but this first volume of a new series is exceptional.

You can read the first issue online at BoingBoing – take a look. I’m betting you’ll be intrigued.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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