I couldn’t figure out what book I wanted to read recently (the great thing about the Read the World Project is I’ve got a lot of interesting options but it does sometimes feel like homework) so I went back to my comic shelves and read a few of my unread volumes. I have stuff to say about them but not a lot so here’s some mini reviews.
Poe Dameron Volume 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule and Phil Noto
I really loved this comic! Poe Dameron stole my heart in The Force Awakens so when I heard he was going to have his own comic series I knew I had to read it. Black Squadron is a prequel to The Force Awakens and Poe, along with his friends in his squadron, are tasked by Leia Organa to find Lor San Tekka (the old guy Poe’s talking to at the start of The Force Awakens – boy I’ve said The Force Awakens a lot in this paragraph!).
So, the comic is all about the mission but also the downtime and you get to see Poe interact with his team which is great. It’s a funny comic, Poe’s charm shines right off the pages and it’s a nice way to learn more about the character. Plus, his relationship with BB-8 is brilliant, there’s a scene where the whole plan depends on BB-8 and some other droids and Poe has complete faith in them.
I also love the art style in Black Squadron. Phil Noto draws some gorgeous stuff (his Black Widow run is also fab) and I love the colours. It is a bit funny seeing Oscar Isaac’s face in a comic, but I soon got used to it. This is such a fun comic with good adversaries for Poe and his team and they kind of go on a heist at one which was wonderful (heists are my favourite thing ever) and I can’t wait till Volume 2 is released. 5/5.
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about your favourite non-traditional written books, so graphic novels, comics, manga, audiobooks and so on and so forth. So, this week I’m writing about my favourite graphic novels/trade paper backs (because I don’t live near a comic store so it’s easier to read the volumes) and by pure chance they are all from different publishers. In no particular order they are…
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
This graphic novel trilogy was pretty much the first thing I read this year and it’s my new favourite thing ever. It’s all about the Civil Rights Movement in America and it’s told through John Lewis’s eyes, what protests he was involved in, who he knew and all the hardships and successes. It is such a powerful and important graphic novel series, the sort of thing everyone should read.
Five Ghosts by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham Five Ghosts has a very Indiana Jones feel, especially as the main character is an archaeologist who searches for weird mystical artefacts. Oh, and he also happens to have a stone stuck in his chest that gives him the power of five different ghosts. The thing about Five Ghosts I really love is the art style, it’s like those old pulp fiction stories and it can be creepy and dynamic, especially when the ghosts make an appearance.
Satrapi was the intelligent yet outspoken child of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and her childhood was always entwined with Iran’s history. As a graphic novel memoir, Persepolis follows Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War, to her adolescence in Europe and how she copes being so far from her family and her home.
There’s so much about Iran’s history and politics that I don’t know – I don’t have a very good understanding of what’s been happening in Iran recently, never mind what was happening in the country just under 50 years ago – but Persepolis did such a good job of shedding light on what growing up in Iran during a revolution and a war was like. The young Satrapi is constantly learning because the rules of her country are constantly changing. Persepolis is almost a crash course in Iran’s recent history and it’s a great introduction as you learn so much about what happened from someone who lived it. That being said, there’s still many elements that could be explored more but as it focuses on Satrapi’s experience rather than an expensive history, it’s understandable why there’s some gaps to what was happening between countries like Iraq and Iran, and Iraq and Kuwait and how countries like the USA and Britain were really involved.
Besides growing up in Iran, Satrapi also moves to Austria when she is a young teenager. She moves there alone, with no family and a limited grasp on French. In some ways Satrapi enjoys the freedom that Austria offers her compared to Iran but in others, she doesn’t feel like she understands how society in the West functions or if she fits in.
That’s what Persepolis is about really. It’s about a young girl who becomes a young woman and how she slowly discovers through trial and error who she really is and where she feels like she belongs. She may make different friends along the way and even have boyfriends but the one constant in her life, even when she was miles away from them, was her family. The relationship between Satrapi and her parents and grandmother is a wonderful element of the book and seeing how they all influenced her and helped her grow was really interesting and lovely.
The art style in Persepolis is relatively simple but effective. It’s all black and white and most of each panel is often made up of a speech bubble. The art style works because while it’s about difficult and complex topics, the language is also simple. This is because most of the book is from the perspective of someone who is twelve or a young teenager who may think she knows everything but really doesn’t.
Persepolis is a fascinating read about the difficulties of growing up in a war torn country and finding where you truly belong. It’s sometimes funny and often sad but it’s always enlightening. 4/5.
As World War Two rages across Europe, the Allied forces form a special team of the greatest heroines the world has ever known; Kate Kane, the all-American Batwoman, Diana of Themyscira, warrior Princess of the Amazons, Kara Starikov and Kortni Duginovna, defenders of Mother Russia and Mera, royal daughter of legendary Atlantis. With the aid of allies at home and abroad, this mighty women will turn the tide of war and defend those who cannot defend themselves.
Bombshells is brilliant. Even if you don’t know a lot about the characters featured into it, it doesn’t matter as the comic does a good job a setting them up and giving you all you need to know. Plus, as this story is set in World War Two, all the characters are a bit different to how you might expect them to be anyway. (more…)
Now a century-long war has ended, Odyssia and her crew of weary warriors leave the battlefields of Troiia-VII for home – but getting there will be a long an dangerous road.
ODY-C is a space opera retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, that may sound a bit crazy and weird and it kind of is. Now I haven’t read The Odyssey and only know the tiniest amount of the story so really I was going into ODY-C like it was an original and new story for me. Naturally I probably missed a tonne of the references to The Odyssey but one thing I did find interesting (once I’d got used to it) was that some of the text seems to be almost lifted from The Odyssey. The language of the narrator voice is the sort of thing you read in classics, the formation of the sentences sound old and important. That combined with the speech of the characters, which is more modern and often has swearing in it, is a weird and jarring experience. This was actually my second attempt at reading ODY-C (I tried last year but couldn’t get into it) and I think it was the language styles that was causing me problems. (more…)
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about rainy day reads, and to me a rainy day read should be a fun quick book so onto the five books that fit that criteria.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
This book is fast-paced and action-packed. I read it all in one day which is the best kind of book when you’re stuck inside because it’s raining. Also it’s set in a desert so you can dream about being warm and dry while the rain hits your windows.
The Fade Out: Act One by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
So this comic isn’t cute or really much of an easy read but it is like a noir murder mystery and those are always the best when you can hear rain on the windows as it makes the story more atmospheric.
Love Street by Andrew Matthews
This was my favourite book as a pre-teen and because it’s so short and sweet you can read it in one sitting. It’s a fun contemporary where the main character dreams about a soap opera in her head to help her make sense of her real life – it’s fun and cute, what more could you want on a rainy day?
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
A contemporary story about a couple of very different people who are both artists and it is set in San Francisco. It’s a quick read with relatable characters and a believable romance.
Princess Leia by Mark Waid, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire
Comics and graphic novels are the best thing to read when it’s raining and the Princess Leia comic is great when you’re mind wants to get away from the dreary day you’re in. it’s full of space adventures, awesome kickass female characters and supportive female friendships and it’s generally just great.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter who has decided she is now Lord Ballister Blackheart’s sidekick. Blackheart is a supervillain who wants to wreck some serious havoc and prove to the people that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his bosses at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes as they appear to be. But as their escapades become more dangerous and deadly, Blackheart realises that Nimona’s powers are as mysterious as her past, and her wild side might be more dangerous than he wants to admit.
Nimona is one of those graphic novels that just about everyone has heard of and deservedly so. I’d read a little of Nimona when it was a web comic but even though I liked it I soon stopped reading as I don’t really like reading comics on a screen. It was great to finally get my hands on a physical copy of Nimona and I’m so glad I’ve now read the full story.
Nimona is funny but it’s not afraid to get a bit darker. It has a great take on what it means to be a villain or hero and how there can be a grey area in between. The art is bright and the mixture of science and medieval means that the world of Nimona isn’t your standard fantasy world. (more…)