Thursday, March 21, 2013

Various Graphic Novels

If anyone hasn't noticed, I like graphic novels. I mostly started reading them to help bring up my book reading goals, but my casual interest has now moved on into the realm of obsession. Despite my love, they are almost impossible to review in any extensive way, since there are usually few words, and the illustrations are usually consistent throughout. So I can pretty much sum up my thoughts in a matter of a sentence or two. I thought it might be easier, then, if I just mentioned a few of them all at once, so you guys don't have to slog through a bunch of my reviews. Plus, it makes it a whole heck of a lot easier for me to post.

Criminal Macabre
Steve Niles is the writer of the hit comic 30 Days of Night and the Cal McDonald horror/noir novels, Savage Membrane and Guns, Drugs and Monsters. Niles is also the writer of the monthly comic book Dark Days for IDW Publishing. Steve got his start in the industry when he formed his own publishing company called Arcane Comix, where he published, edited, and adapted several comics and anthologies for Eclipse Comics. His adaptations include works by Clive Barker, Richard Matheson and Harlan Ellison. He has also worked as a writer for Todd MacFarlane Productions and Image comics, creating the series Fused, and contributing to titles such as Spawn: The Dark Ages, Hellspawn, and most recently 9-11: Artists Respond.
Synopsis from Goodreads.

Okay, so the synopsis actually says nothing about the plot, so I'll give you a quick rundown. Cal McDonald is a PI, except he doesn't investigate your run-of-the-mill crimes. Ever since he was a boy, he has attracted the bizarre. We're talking werewolves, vampires and ghouls. In fact, his partner Mo'Lock is a member of the undead. Is it any wonder Cal turns to drugs and alcohol on an hourly basis? Steve Niles has created a character who is both sarcastic and vile, which resulted in some seriously magical moments.That being said, it was a little too cheezy for me, and after reading a few of the stories, it all felt a little redundant. This could easily be someone's five-star read, but for me it was just a three. 
I received this collection from Netgalley, although the exact edition was not available on goodreads, so the link will take you to volume 1 of the collection. The one I read was over 500 pages, half a dozen illustrated stories, plus one short story. Various illustrators collaborated. Amazon link will take you there.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood
In the land of Myst, a tryant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. But all hope is not lost as a young orphan girl from another world discovers her destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be. The creators of Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland, and Neverland bring you the next great hero in the Grimm Universe!

Synopsis from Goodreads.

I love a woman who can kick some ass, and Robyn definitely can. In fact, it's pretty awesome to see such a familiar and popular hero being portrayed by a woman. The plot is unique, the script is decent. The artwork is mostly good, although there were a few spots where legs were at awkward angles, and proportions seemed off.
This graphic novel is not for young teens. It is for older teens and adults who have an established sense of right and wrong, and who won't follow Robyn's example. She isn't exactly a good role model for our children. There is mature language and plenty of violence and gore. Yay!

Here are a few of my thoughts while reading through it:
She can't be comfortable dressed like that...
That's not how you hold a bow!
Hmmm... those low-born uneducated villagers sure have a good vocabulary.
Boy, she sure seems to have a lot of arrows, especially considering she has no quiver that I can see.

At the end of the book is the alternate cover art. This is usually my favourite part of graphic novels. The problem here is that most of the artwork just objectifies Robyn. The male version of Robin Hood never pranced about in a thong. At least not that I ever saw... It takes away all the strength and power that Robyn had worked so hard to achieve. Now she's just another piece of meat.

A copy was received from Netgalley.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.

Synopsis from Goodreads.

This series cannot be overlooked. If you're a fan of this blog, there is at least a small chance that you watch the show. And if you watch the show, then you should at least give the graphic novels a chance. Holy crap, does this series ever blow me apart?! Yes, there have been a couple slower volumes in there, but overall, I have never had a series so consistently ROCK me, time and time again! The illustrations are stellar in the first volume, and then take a dive down to just great, but I've noticed that they are slowly making a comeback. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

I don't think I need to break down the plot for you guys. We all know it. Many of the characters are familiar, except unfortunately, Daryl Dixon is missing from the books. (Please don't let that sway your decision!) It follows a completely different plot from the show, so they compliment each other perfectly. Perhaps a way to get your fix of death and gore between seasons?


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