Tag Archives: graphic novel

Spring Graphic Novel binge banner

Book Reviews: Spring Graphic Novel Binge

Very like at the end of last year, school is keeping me very busy. And honestly, more than being busy, it’s turning my brain to mush. It’s not in the sense that I can’t process information or think critically about a story, but rather in the sense that I have a hard time committing myself to anything overly long. So, graphic novels are a great middle ground. They let me still get a little bit of a fiction kick without feeling overwhelmed (in general and with guilt for not doing something school-related).

As such, I accepted a few graphic novels for review from Vault Comics (through Rockstar Book Tours). So, I’m putting together a little collection of graphic novel reviews that I will contribute to over the next week or so. (I’ve also still got a few left over from the TBR I created during my last graphic novel binge.)

shadow service coversThis is volume 3 of Shadow Service (it was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight). You can find my review of volumes 1 and 2 here.


All over the world, secret agents are being murdered by monstrous folk horrors, and not even MI666 is safe. Gina Meyer faces tragedy as a teammate turns enemy. But what of the quest to find out the truth about her past and powers?

My review:

This was a fun continuation of the series. Like with the first two volumes, you have to be comfortable with quite a lot of shock-level gore. But there’s some humor mixed in with the horror and a much more solid plot developing. I’ll be happy to continue the series.

This is book 1 of West of Sundown. It was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

west of sundownBlurb:

A beautiful vampire must flee monster slayers in New York City and reclaim the ancestral soil that restores her undead flesh. But the world has changed since she was reborn in the New Mexico desert, and now, Constance Der Abend and her loyal assistant Dooley , must adapt to life in the rough frontier town of Sangre De Moro, where all sorts of monsters have settled.

My Review:

I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. It started out strong. I very much enjoyed Constance and Dooley’s interactions. I even appreciate some of the humor present in the rest of the story. But I was just so often confused by the sudden appearance of characters with histories I was apparently supposed to glean from context but didn’t. All in all, I’ll call it a middle-of-the-road read. I did like the art, though.

quest aside photoThis is volume 1 of Quest Aside. It was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight.


Known to all, both far and wide!

A skeleton, an apprentice mage, and an exiled princess walk into a bar… for another shift at Quests Aside, the local watering hole run by once legendary, now retired, adventurer Barrow.

When the King privately explains that he plans to shut the place down, Barrow must find a way to hold onto his business, the friendships, and the family he’s built around it.

It’s always sunny in the realms!

My Review:

I thought this was fun. It plays with the Dungeons and Dragons type of quest-tales in interesting ways. I liked the characters, the art, and the diversity. I’d be more than happy to read more. But I also thought everything remained surface-level. I don’t feel that I particularly got to know the characters, and there wasn’t any exciting or deep plot. It’s substanceless fun. And while there isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s not particularly memorable either.

end after end photoHere we have volume 1 of End After End. It was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight.


Life is nothing if not a series of endings. School. Jobs. Friendships. Love. Walter Willem’s death was fast and unexpected. His was an unremarkable life. So, how is it that his story continues as cannon fodder in an endless war waged against an insatiable darkness hellbent on consuming all of existence?

My Review:

This is an interesting start to something, though I’d say that is all it is. I like the art well enough, the world seems intriguing (if only sketched out at this point), and there are hints of depth and growth potential in the characters. But, even at 136 pages, this really only feels like a first chapter.

mindset photoThis is the complete collection of Mindset. It was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

When an introverted tech geek accidentally discovers mind control, he and his friends do something unexpected – they put the science into a meditation app to help users break their technology addiction. But as their Mindset app achieves a dangerous cult following, lies, conspiracies, and murder come to light. Are they helping people or controlling them?
Free your mind.
Who’s in control?

My Review:

Meh, this was fine; not really my cup of tea, it turns out, but fine. The story has some interesting allegorical things to say about social media use/addiction. I liked the art and lettering well enough, the unreliable narrator made for a thought-provoking read, and I surprised myself by not seeing the twist coming. (I simply wasn’t looking for a twist, which is the best time for a twist.) So, all fine. But, again, not my cup of tea. Plus, whenever the villain is a person of color, and the hero/victim is a white guy, I always side-eye and wonder—even if I’m not confident enough to say with certainty—if systemic stereotypes haven’t crept in.


Book Review: Fearscape #1 & 2, by Ryan O’Sullivan

I accepted copies of Ryan O’Sullivan (author), Andrea Mutti and Piotr Kowalski‘s (Illustrators)  Fearscape and A Dark Interlude for review through Rockstar Booktours. The latter was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for a sample page, author and illustrator details, and a chance to win a copy of your own.

fearscape covers


Trapped in a cycle of infinite sequels, the world is doomed to repeat tired tropes and clichéd conflicts without end. Unless, that is, unreliable narrator, notorious plagiarist, and sequel denier Henry Henry can unleash something so awful it deserves no repetition.

After the stunning success of Fearscape, comes A Dark Interlude, the story of “—No! The only offence to literature greater than the loathsome synopsis is the sequel. I will not stand idle while some poor excuse for an editor mangles and confuses my story, which is intact, perfect, and concluded, with this derivative drivel. Mark my words, this nonsense has nothing to do with my tale. I am not in it. I do not condone it. And you, dear reader, should not buy it.” –HH

But don’t listen to Henry Henry – the only way to escape is to buy this book! Collects the complete five-issue series.

my review

These graphic novels were fine, cleverly done even. The author is obviously a deft hand at believably untrustworthy narrators, which is precisely what Henry Henry is. And I found it interesting watching events unfold and then seeing him re-remember them. His delusion is almost a character of its own in the story, book one especially. (Though there was a moment or two, early on, before it became quite so clear just how far from reality Henry Henry had strayed, that I thought, “Yep, I’ve met men this convinced of their own genius before.”) I also liked the art.

I did see book one’s reveal coming from the first hint. Both books, but especially book two, have some large blocks of print that feel out of place in a graphic novel, and frankly, I started skimming all the literati-babel by the end. I understood what the author was going for, but I got bored with it.

All in all, these were middle-of-the-road reads for me. I am, after all, Henry Henry’s most despised class of people, the casual reader (especially of graphic novels). But I’m sure will find their audience.

fearscape covers photo

Other Reviews:

Comic Bookcase: Fearscape & A Dark Interlude





Book Review: Bonding, by Matthew Erman & Emily Pearson

I accepted a review copy of Bonding by Matthew Erman and Emily Pearson (Illustrator) through Rockstar Book Tours. It was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight. You can hop over there for a sample page and a chance to win a copy for yourself.

A man, a woman—and their parasites. Marcus has been alone since the loss of his closest friend and has just recently entered into the dating scene, while Laura has drifted in and out of relationships since high school. They meet, they have a great first date, and Marcus almost dies—because the slug-like parasite that everybody carries in this world nearly rejects him, its host.

my review

I liked this well enough, but like the blurb, it leaves a lot to be desired. There is just something important missing.

I liked the art a lot, and I liked the story and characters in the most general sense. But I thought there were large narrative leaps, missing emotional connections, and the whole thing felt erratic and unfocused.

This was especially true in the generational transition between part one and part two. While I liked the characters more here—appreciated how they mellowed and settled with age—it was an abrupt and unexpected shift. While I appreciated the theme that we all struggle to find ourselves in similar ways, I felt the story was half-told.

All in all, I’ll call it a petty, middle-of-the-road read.

bonding photo

Other Reviews:

Elsquared – Bonding

Insatiable Readers – Bonding