Newest Graphic Novels Reviews

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Review of

The Grot: The Story of the Swamp City Grifters by Pat Grant

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Everything in this world runs on pedal-power, and that includes the punk bands. There are three pedallers at the front of the Heath Robinson contraption taking our lead characters to the ferry across the swamp to Falter City, where a mother and her two sons aim to set up a yoghurt factory. You could say that yoghurt would be the only culture around, for this is a really rough-and-ready dump of a place, but everyone is interested in small things that grow. For the only money to be had – the only fortunes to be found in Falter City – come from algae, gunk and other crud that – well, the use of it is never really made clear. Once there, the two brothers set themselves each up with a guide – Lippy, the more forward-thinking, industrious of the two, with a besuited gent, Penn with a ballsy young teenaged girl with bright red hair. But which of the two will come off the worse as they make their own way in this dystopian, semi-Apocalyptic hellhole? Full Review

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Review of

Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes by Lun Zhang, Adrien Gombeaud, Ameziane and Edward Gauvin (translator)

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I never really followed the events of Tiananmen Square with much attention when it was playing out – someone in the second half of their teens has other priorities, you know. I certainly didn't know of the weeks of protests and hunger strikes from the students before the massacre and the birth of the Tank Man image, I didn't know how the area had long been a venue for political protest, and I didn't know more than a spit about the people involved on either side. This book is practically flawless in giving a general browser's context for the whole season of protests back in 1989. Full Review

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Review of

Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton

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Diana, being unique on her island, is the victim of a lot of taunts, and claims of nepotism. It's only her unique status, and her mother being Queen, that has her with any standing at all, her naysayers declare – even though she has clearly fought to be a strong young woman. Perhaps too strong for the island, however – for every Wonder Woman origin story has her quickly leaving home for the World of Men, and this Diana is the heroine of yet another Wonder Woman origin story. A shipwreck disturbs her leading performance in a running race, but the survivor she drags from the waters is only going to disturb a lot more... Full Review

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Review of

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

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Meet Dinah Lance. Frustrated that her policeman father will not allow her to try and follow in his footsteps, and seemingly lumbered with being a cheerleader at school, she is desperate to find her voice. But it's actually more a case of her voice finding her, as when she gets frustrated or plain dissed at school her vocal outcry can shatter glass better than any opera singer. You could almost call it a weapon, or a power. But in order for her to call herself a superhero, there has to be a whole path of steps for her to take – one of which will be into her past… Full Review

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Review of

Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose

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The young man called Bruce Wayne is a very noticeable one – he can hardly go anywhere without people – bystanders, paparazzi, and suchlike – reminding him he's a billionaire at the age of eighteen. Feeling rather stuck with the legacy he's inherited from his murdered parents, he wants to do charitable deeds. But one night, when he speeds off in his posh new car in pursuit of a criminal, he goes too far as far as the authorities are concerned, and gets given the most unlikely stretch of community service instead – cleaning in the home for violent criminals that is Arkham Asylum. There he learns of some other people who also allege charitable intent – the Nightwalkers, a gang who steal any ten-figure bank account contents they can, and murder the owner. Can he get close to one of them and get the truth of their schemes, or will the manipulative Madeleine be a step too far for the young do-gooder? Full Review

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Review of

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh

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Harleen Quinzel is new in town. She always, to me, seems new in town, even if she's been around a long time, for she always has a very fresh attitude, and seems to look out of those large eyes at everything anew each time. But here she is new in town, and the town is Gotham City. Expecting a year-long furlough from life with her mother, she finds her gran dead and herself with no option but to stay with a bunch of drag queens. She also finds school is a drag, she also finds the whole neighbourhood is being redeveloped by a large and uncaring corporation – but she also finds two characters that will have a big impact on her life. One is a civil-minded lass called Ivy, the other someone she only meets at night – a lad with a singular graffiti tag and a mind for violence and chaos, who calls himself The Joker… Full Review

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Review of

Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne

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Meet Mera. She's the latest in a line of young women intent on fighting against their intended destiny for one only they can see for themselves. Her father, the king of Xebel, sees some cotton wool and a hunky man in an arranged marriage as her future – after all, Mera's mother, the territory's warrior queen, is long dead. Mera doesn't fancy the cosseting or the fella involved at all and is, in fact, trying to get Xebel out from under the cosh of Atlantean power, for Xebel's royalty are merely puppets of Atlantean masters. So when she overhears her father request that her intended go to the world of us air-breathing humans, and kill the Atlantis heir, she rushes off to get the quest (and the promised throne) all for herself. But of course, she has no idea what kind of person she will meet, and how hard it will be to get the job done… Full Review

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Review of

Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez

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It's the near future, and every coastal city – including Metropolis – is in need of a huge flood barrier, built on its coast by Wayne Enterprises. But the rising sea levels have put even those constructions under threat, forcing many people to relocate in America's biggest exodus for decades. Superman is helping out, of course – first, he was patching up the dams, but now he's mining the asteroid belt for a rare dust that's perfect for blocking the solar energy from making further polar ice melt. Inland, in Wyndermere, the refugees from the coast are suffering bigotry and intolerance for being newcomers, but something else is much worse. A major bout of food poisoning is hitting the city. But it can't possibly have anything to do with what looks like sabotage of the flood barriers and the efforts to correct the climate, can it? Four young children begin to piece together clues that it can… Full Review

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Review of

Manfried the Man: A Graphic Novel by Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow

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In a world where cats stand on two feet, go to work at call centres and have diminutive human beings for pets, is Manfried. He's a typical frisky but shy pet – forever getting into scrapes, demanding more food than he can suitably eat, but at the same time being the perfect companion for his owner, Steve Catson. To such an extent that Steve, who is getting known for his man-oriented thinking, is actually having nightmares about becoming the neighbourhood crazy man cat. But when a window gets left open by mistake, and Manfried goes missing, the only thing for it is a massive and energised man-hunt… Full Review

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Review of

Talking to Gina by Ottilie Hainsworth

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This is what happened. An artist decided she needed a dog – so drove the length of the country, Brighton to Grimsby, to pick up an Eastern European immigrant street dog with some mange and one working eye. Why not? The first night at home, Gina – the dog – eats something she shouldn't and causes a mess, so it's not a great start, but then begin the tribulations of training, status and behaviour all humans must go through with their dogs. And then, the life with Gina begins to feel like too much – I felt weird about you because you were always there. My thoughts were taken over by you, and I felt sick, as if I was in love. Slowly, however, everyone – our artist/author, her husband, two children and two cats – gets to form the family they and Gina all would have wanted. Full Review

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Review of

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

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Ebo is twelve years old and all alone. His sister left for Europe months ago and now he doesn't know where his brother is either but knows that he has probably done the same thing. So Ebo has to attempt the same dangerous journey himself. He must cross the Sahara Desert, get himself to Tripoli, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and then try to cross the Mediterranean Sea. By himself. At twelve. And, even if he makes it, how will he find his sister? Full Review

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Review of

Batman: Dark Knight III: The Master Race by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello

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Batman is not playing ball. He's been videoed duffing up Gotham policemen, and not the baddies he usually biffs. But then he's not Batman – he's a she, and she finally comes up with the news that Batman died in her hands. Elsewhere, Lara, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, is encouraging Ray Palmer/The Atom to turn his technologies concerned with shrinking and expanding life to the miniaturised city of Kandor, the last vestige of Kryptonian existence not to fly about in visible blue pants. What with Superman sitting idle in an exposed Fortress of Solitude having gone into a sulk, and Batman dead, there would appear to be little in the way of help for the world should anything nasty happen – but then, of course, something nasty does happen… s Full Review

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Review of

The Gritterman by Orlando Weeks

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There's a man who has an ice cream van. In summer, what there is of summer, he uses it to sell ice creams, That's not his vocation though, but it does keep him going whilst he waits for winter when the van becomes a Gritting Van and our narrator becomes a Gritterman. The fibreglass 99s on the roof light up and rotate, playing a tune, whether the van's gritting or selling ice creams. Tonight - Christmas Eve - will be the van's last trip. The council has sent the letter about his services no longer being required. Global warming. Dying profession, they say. There's even a tarmac now that can de-ice itself, but the Gritterman isn't sure that he wants to live in a world where the B2116 doesn't need gritting. Full Review

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Review of

Buddha: An Enlightened Life (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Kieron Moore and Rajesh Nagulakonda

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I don't do religion, but still, there was something that drew me to this comic book. For one, the whole Buddhist faith is still a little unknown to me, and this was certainly going to be educational. Yes, I knew some of the terms it ends up using, but not others, such as bhikshu, and had never really come across the man's life story. Yes, I knew he found enlightenment and taught a very pacifist kind of faith, but where did he come from? What failings did he have on his path, and who were the ones that joined him along the way? Full Review

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Review of

Water Memory by Mathieu Reynes, Valerie Vernay and Jeremy Melloul (translator)

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Despite the title, it seems at first the memories here are much more earthy, for Caroline has brought her young daughter to the place she herself left as a toddler. The move has been caused by a break-up, and it's just the two of them in the family unit, making a fresh start (with the help of a kindly old neighbour) in an old house on a promontory of the Brittany coast. Young Marion soon discovers the clifftops are peppered with strange standing stones, with even stranger figures, initials and dates carved on to them. She also soon works out there is a way to get across a causeway at low tide to the local lighthouse, manned as it is by a gruff, surly old man. But while Caroline's beginning anew starts with a nice local job, things are slowly getting more creepy. Large sea creatures are beaching themselves, the stones' imagery is found in even stranger places - and the lighthousekeeper seems to hold darker secrets. What memory could possibly be in this storm-drenched land? Full Review

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