Friday, April 13, 2018

My Boyfriend is a Bear (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

My Boyfriend Is a BearAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: My Boyfriend is a Bear

Author: Pamela Ribon
Illustrator: Cat Farris
Upcoming Release Date: April 17, 2018

Synopsis: The delightful story of Nora who, after a succession of terrible boyfriends, finds a much happier relationship with a 500-pound American black bear. 

Bear meets girl.

Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?


Review: The artwork and storytelling in this graphic novel about a girl falling in love with an actual bear is adorable, but I don't understand it. I have mixed feelings because I expected there to be a "lesson" sort of ending. Something about modern dating or how people in "non-traditional" relationships are treated by even family and friends. But there wasn't really any of that. It seems to just be a quirky story about a girl that is in love (and having sex with) an actual bear. So, obviously, there's quite a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary. 

With all that aside, it's a fun comic. I liked how the art changed when they were in a drunken state. It's fun to see L.A. locations featured. 

I give this graphic novel a 3.5/5. This is mostly because I didn't understand what I was supposed to get out of this story. It felt like it was missing something to make it deeper. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Star Wars, Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

Star Wars, Vol. 7: The Ashes of JedhaAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Star Wars, Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Salvador Larroca & GURU-eFX
Recent Release Date: April 3, 2018

Synopsis: The possibility-and destruction-of the Death Star has changed everything. The Death Star's destruction proves the Empire is not irresistible. But a Death Star has been built, and it can't happen again. The specter of the Empire's true power has brought together a patchwork cloth of people, united in hope. From the desolation of Jedha to the search for new bases, these rebels continue to fight for a better tomorrow for a galaxy far, far away in these all-new adventure written by Kieron Gillen (DARTH VADER, DOCTOR APHRA).



Review: This graphic novel is a tie-in to Rogue One essentially. It takes place on Jedha. Characters from the movie are both mentioned and appear. This ongoing series is beginning to stagnate in my opinion. There's only so much that can happen with the main crew just going on small side missions that don't lead to change. I hope more original characters are introduced so that we can see growth in some characters. Or, the ongoing series could jump to post-Empire.

I have mixed feelings about the art style used in this book. The semi-realistic, photo-like panels sometimes work really well, but also sometimes fall flat and seem out of place. I really liked the design of the steeds they use on Jedha. They reminded me of The Dark Crystal

Overall, this was a self-contained story with Rogue One seasonings that was just not that interesting to me. I give this book a 3/5. I'm hoping for more from this continuing series.  


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu
Writer: Matt Owens
Artists: Denys Cowan, Roberto Poggi, & GURU-eFX
Recent Release Date: February 27, 2018

Synopsis: One of the most revered Jedi Masters of all stars in his own solo series! Learn all there is to know about the man, the myth, the legend -Mace Windu! For over a thousand generations, the Jedi have been the peacekeepers of the galaxy...but now, at the dawn of the Clone Wars, they fi nd themselves in a new role: generals in the Army of the Republic. As Mace Windu, one of the order's greatest warriors, leads a small unit into battle, can the Jedi make peace with their new role - or will they be lost to the violence around them? 


Review: When I first saw that Marvel was making a limited series focusing on mace Windu I was super excited. I really got into Star Wars comics during the prequel and Clone Wars era. So many great stories and characters were introduced in those books, which are now non-canon. I was hoping this book would take place prior to Episode 2, where there currently isn't a lot of canon material, but this comic takes place during the Clone Wars. Which is still pretty cool to see in this new Marvel era. 

This comic follows Mace Windu and a few other jedi on a mission against the Separatists' droid army. Kit Fisto is one of the jedi on the mission. I always liked him as a character, ever since I saw his smiling face in the Battle of Geonosis. There's some nice touches to the other jedi as well. There is a lightsaber with a cute name. 

The parts of this comic that I liked the most were flashbacks to Mace Windu as an apprentice. I want that book! It was only a few pages, but it was the most compelling part of the story. This book overall deals with the moral complexities of the jedi acting as army generals. Is there a place for grayness in the jedi order? Mace Windu is a perfect character to address these questions and I liked seeing him as a young jedi jumping to action first. 

I want an explanation for the purple blade! The artists used the colors of the blades so beautifully in this comic. Towards the end of the book though, there is some bad art in the background. In the jedi council scenes, the council members are drawn so poorly. It doesn't match the rest of the book or the standards I've come to expect with Marvel's comics. 

I want to see more comics focusing on different jedi like this. I hope the Jedi of the Republic title becomes a series. I give this book a 4/5


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and RespectAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect
Author: Zander Cannon
Release Date: March 8, 2016

Synopsis: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE! On a remote island in the South Pacific lies KAIJUMAX, a maximum security prison for giant monsters. Follow doting father Electrogor as he stands up to the cruel space-superhero warden! See corrupt guard Gupta manage his illicit uranium-dealing empire and pay off his gambling debts to the Queen of the Moon! Watch Mecha-Zon battle his own programming when the monster he was created to destroy shows up on the pound! These stories and more will assault you from every angle in the cesspool of corruption that is KAIJUMAX.


Review: This fun story brings empathy out for giant rampaging monsters. It's a look into their side of the story. This comic book takes place in a giant prison full of these kaiju. The designs of all these characters are cool, fun and original while still referencing well known giant beasts. 

I give this comic a 3/5. The book didn't keep my full attention, but that could be because I'm not very familiar with kaiju.   


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1 (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1 (Night's Dominion, #1-6)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1
Author: Ted Naifeh
Recent Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis: A thief, an assassin, a mage and a cleric walk into a tavern in the ancient city of Umber. Awaiting them is a mysterious bard with a dangerous scheme: to break into the dungeon of a powerful death cult in search of treasure. For these five desperate criminals, it's the last chance for hope in a city of corruption and despair. But what they find instead is an undead army preparing to conquer the world. Now, they must fight to protect the city that pushed their backs to the wall, or watch it burn. The acclaimed fantasy epic from New York Times Best-Selling author Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Princess Ugg) begins here!


Review: This comic starts with a bard singing in non-standard English and I took a long sigh. Throughout the book, I found the dialogue difficult to follow.

This is a heist story taking place in a very D&D world that has some very superhero-y elements. A group of adventurers meets in a tavern. A bar brawl happens. It has many classic fantasy tropes, but doesn't seem to add much originality to it. I felt like I was reading someone's D&D campaign. I think I would have preferred this story in novel form to get more in depth overbuilding and to be more inside of the characters' heads. Everything seemed very surface level. 

Although this graphic novel didn't keep my attention very well, I did like the artwork and character designs. I just wanted a lot more depth. I give this book a 2.5/5.   


Friday, March 30, 2018

Lydie (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Europe Comics via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

LydieAmazon  | Goodreads

Title: Lydie

Author: Zidrou
Illustrator: Jordi Lafebre
Recent Release Date: March 21, 2018

Synopsis: On a forgotten cul-de-sac in a nameless city, a child is born. It doesn’t take long for the charming little girl to work her way into the hearts of all the residents on this cozy little street. Does it really matter that she’s invisible? The child’s mother delivered a stillborn, fatherless baby. Two months later, she becomes convinced that her child has returned from heaven. The neighbors don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise, and so they play along. After all, “why bring somebody pain when it's so easy to bring joy instead?” ...But is Lydie really a figment?


Review: This graphic novel takes place from the perspective of a Madonna statuette. In a small neighborhood where every family knows each other, a tragedy befalls a family. There is a stillbirth, but weeks later the mother believes her baby daughter has returned to her. The community supports this woman. 

There are some quirky characters in this book and I love them. It seems so peculiar, yet realistic. Different views on religion are portrayed. I enjoyed the various perspectives presented. 

I give this sweet, emotional story a 5/5. The art is great. It is so well written. I highly recommend this book to those into quirky, emotional graphic novels. 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - Paul's REVIEW

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Publication Year: 1962

Synopsis: It was a dark and stormy night... In 1962, Madeleine L'Engle debuted her novel A Wrinkle in Time, which would go on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal. Bridging science and fantasy, darkness and light, fear and friendship, the story became a classic of children's literature and is beloved around the world. Now Disney is taking it to the silver screen! With an all-star cast that includes Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and newcomer Storm Reid, the major motion picture bring the world of Wrinkle to life for a new generation of fans.


Review: Somehow, I never came across A Wrinkle in Time as a child. I feel like I would have had very different feelings toward the book if I had read it then instead of now as a 29 year-old man. I obsessed over The Giver, which has a similar feel to it. L'Engle was a trailblazer. After much difficulty, she published this fantasy middle-grade book with a female lead in 1962.

There are so many scientific and logical ways of thinking presented in this book, but there are also some dated things. I didn't relate as much because of this. Spirituality is at the center of the book, but also leaving a place for science. Hope and individuality are the themes that I most connected with. 

I have not seen the movie yet, but imagined how spectacular it must be as I read this book. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling were definitely in my mind's eye as I read about their characters. 

There are really cool concepts that are only mentioned in this book that I wanted more of. The book is so short. I'm sure some things come up in the sequels, but if this had been written in modern times I feel the worldbuilding would have been even more detailed. I loved Aunt Beast!

I give this book a 3/5. It took me longer than it should have for such a short book. Some of its themes are dated, but the major message still rings clear. I hope this book reaches many young girls and encourages them to follow their passions in STEM.