Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1Wires and Nerve, Volume 1

by Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate (Art)
Series: Wires and Nerve, #1

Hardcover, 238 pg.
Feiwel & Friends, 2017

Read: March 1, 2017


So, in the months following Winter, life has progressed as one would expect — Cinder has strengthened her position on the Moon, Scarlet’s returned to the farm with Ze’ev Kesley, and Cress and the Captain are touring Earth. One of the loose strings that Meyer left hanging was the fate of the Lunar military troops all over Earth. They’re still out there, causing trouble.

Cinder can’t send any troops down — in the aftermath of a failed invasion, the optics alone would be bad. But . . . she can send a single operative, and Iko nominates herself for that. She spends weeks taking out pack after pack, helping local authorities take them into custody.

But they’re not just going to roll over, there are some that are preparing to strike back against Iko — and Cinder.

Throw in a love story, an examination of Iko’s true nature, and some nice catch-up with our old friends, and you’ve got yourself a fun story. It’s fun, but it’s light. If it were prose instead of a graphic novel, it might take 40 pages to tell this story. Which doesn’t make it bad, just slight.

The art was . . . oh, I don’t know — cartoonish? Not in a bad way, but I see why some people I know weren’t impressed. Once I got used to it (after about 30-40 pages), I even kind of liked it.

Basically, I’m saying that the book was okay — I enjoyed it, but man, I wanted more. At the same time, I think it delivered everything that Meyer and Holgate were looking for, so I can’t complain. Fans of the series may enjoy it, but it’s not a must read. People who haven’t read the books had best avoid it — but should probably go back and read the novels.

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3 Stars
2017 Library Love Challenge

Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung

Snotgirl, Vol 1Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care

by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Script), Leslie Hung (Art)
Series: Snotgirl, #1

Trade Paperback, 144 pg.
Image Comics, 2017

Read: March 7, 2016


I don’t know what Bryan Lee O’Malley was doing here, really. Lottie Person is a fashion blogger, trend setter, and all around would-be Kardashian. She’s a little vapid, a little shallow, but pretty likable (don’t ask me how). Her actual life is a mess — she has horrible allergies — crazy horrible (hence the name), has been recently dumped, and maybe, just mayyyyybe killed somebody. She’s not sure — neither is the reader.

What follows (for about 80% of the book), is Lottie bouncing around between social engagements, possible hallucinations, and run-ins with her ex and his new girlfriend. Throw in a fashion-conscious cop and things get pretty interesting (and confusing).

I loved the art — it was a little strange to see this kind of art attached to O’Malley’s writing, but I really liked Hung’s work. Yeah, her white guys tend to look too much alike to easily tell the difference (that might be intentional) — but otherwise, I really liked it — everything jumped off the page, the drawings were filled with energy and life. Every time I thought about bailing because the story just wasn’t working, the art kept me in.

I just don’t know what to make of this — I enjoyed it, but man . . . I really wish I knew what was going on. I can handle it for a little bit longer — but not much. Volume 2 had better be a little clearer (or a little something else). I’m not going to wave potential readers off, but I’m not going to encourage anyone either.

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3 Stars

Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan

Rivers of London: Night WitchRivers of London: Night Witch

by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan (Artist)
Series: Rivers of London Comics, #2

Trade Paperback, 128 pg.
Titan Comics, 2016
Read: January 21, 2017


I enjoyed the first collection of Rivers of London comics, Body Work, but it felt like something was missing — I’m not sure what. Night Witch, on the other hand, built on that good foundation and topped it. This one felt whole, complete — there wasn’t anything lacking here.

Some Russian bigwig’s child has been taken — his wife is certain it’s by someone/something supernatural. They try to take care of it on their own, recruiting Varvara Sidorovna — well, trying to. She tells them to get the police involved, specifying they request Nightingale’s involvement. It’s not that easy to sell official police involvement on this couple. The way they go about doing so isn’t really that typical, either.

Still, Peter and Nightingale get into things and start turning up all sorts of interesting magical things — including The Faceless Man and Lesley. Speaking of which — comics-Lesley? Perfectly creepy.

The story feels a little scattered, but when it’s all told, you can reflect on things and get all the pieces to fit into place nicely — moreso than you can when reading from front-to-back. But it’s easy to forgive that because the story is so strong — and the little character beats are great.

The art is good — it’s great to see the magic –as well as the characters — in these stories brought to life.

Bev’s way of dealing with a home invasion crew of Russian mobsters made me laugh out loud — I don’t know if Aaronovitch could’ve pulled it off in a novel, or if that’s something he only could’ve accomplished with the help of an art team. Either way, I’m glad I got to read it.

There’s not much more to say, a good story with some real enjoyable moments with these characters we want to spend time with. Sure, more novels would be nicer, but these do a good enough job helping to fill the time between them.

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3 Stars

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan

Body WorkRivers of London: Body Work

by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan (Artist)
Series: Rivers of London Comics, #1

Trade Paperback, 128 pg.
Titan Comics, 2016

Read: April 30, 2016


The Folly — Peter Grant and his boss, Inspector Nightingale — make their way to comics in this collection from Titan Comics. The two are facing a threat right out of a Stephen King novel: a homicidal car.

There’s more to it, of course, but that’s it in essence.

The story was entertaining, and fully captured the feel of the novels (easier with the writer of the books writing these). This seemed slight — a bit too brief. But it wasn’t — maybe it just flowed so smoothly I didn’t notice. Maybe there wasn’t that much of a story, I’m not sure. I’m willing to give Aaronovitch and the rest the benefit of the doubt.

The best part of this collection is that it solidified my mental image of Grant, clarified my idea of Molly, and reshaped/corrected my idea of Nightingale. The art wasn’t dazzling, but it was good.

It didn’t blow me away, but it scratched the Peter Grant itch and made me want to read more. If I sound like I’m not totally sold on this, it’s because I probably wasn’t, but I’m glad I read it and should be reading the next collection in a month or so — so there’s that.

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3 Stars

This Damned Band by Paul Cornell and Tony Parker

This Damned BandThis Damned Band

by Paul Cornell, Tony Parker (Artist)

Trade Paperback, 160 pg.
Dark Horse, 2016

Read: October 12, 2016


I’ve struggled for a couple of days now trying to figure out what I can say about this. It’s all about the premise when it comes to this book (a collection of issues from a limited-run series).

This is a comic about one of the biggest bands of 1974, Motherfather, on what could be their last world tour — complete with a documentary crew, a gaggle of groupies, and a manager who could be the hybrid of Wilson Fisk and Colonel Tom Parker. Like many rock artists of the time, Motherfather makes a big deal about worshiping the devil as part of their stage persona. While on this tour (possibly with some psychopharmacological help), they discover they’ve actually been worshiping the devil.

Oops.

Things don’t go all that well from there.

If you like that hook, you’ll like this book. Otherwise, just skip it.

Paul Cornell wrote this, so right off that tells you this is going to be well-written. A little humor, some real people and real emotions, and some seriously messed up supernatural elements. Cornell delivers on the promise of the premise — and a little more. It’s exactly what you want to read given the hook.

As for Tony Parker? I don’t think I’ve seen his stuff before — but I’m going to keep an eye out for it. I honestly can’t think of anyone who could’ve matched the style and story of this book like he did — either in the film sections, the visions/hallucinations, or the rest. Really great work.

I should throw in a quick note here, if it’s not obvious from the subject matter, this is not for kids.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s pretty entertaining. If the concept strikes you as up your alley, it probably is — give this one a shot.

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3 Stars

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope by Berkeley Breathed

Bloom County Episode XI: A New HopeBloom County Episode XI: A New Hope

by Berkeley Breathed

eARC, 144 pg.
IDW Publishing, 2016

Read: September 10, 2016


I have a hard time believing it’s been 25 years since the last Bloom County collection — but that’s mostly because I’m in denial about my age. Even if it’d only been 2.5 years, it’d be great to see the ol’ gang back together.

I really don’t know what to say here — what can anyone say about Bloom County at this point? It’s about as good as it ever was. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that Breathed is as sharp as he was last time out, but who is? And when you’re world is as well-developed, with such a great cast of characters, and strong point of view, no one’s going to complain. Well, at least I’m not.

The author’s note explaining his return to the comic, the little bonuses hidden through the pages, and being able to read these offline make this a must for fans — whether you actually listened to the Billy and the Boingers record or if you first read them on Facebook. It’s not just a nostalgia trip, there’s good material here.

One note about format — you want this in paperback. I don’t want to complain, but this was a nightmare to read on my eReader. Paper is the only way to go with this.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from IDW Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.

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4 Stars

Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Thing ExplainerThing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

by Randall Munroe

Hardcover, 64 pg.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015


I’m not sure what to say about this beyond just regurgitating the Publisher’s Description. If that’s not enough to make you want to pick this up for at least a glance, I don’t think I could say anything that will.

But, quickly, the idea behind the book is that using drawings/diagrams and the 1,000 most commonly used words to explain how various and sundry things work — from ball-point pens to the Large Hadron Collider, and many points in between and beyond.

The artwork is like what you see on xkcd, the humor is similar — more broadly appealing (I think), however. The material is educational. That’s about it in a nutshell. I guess I should state that the artwork isn’t like the stick figure comics, it’s the incredibly detailed diagrams that show up at other times.

To give you a taste, some of the entries I found most educational/interesting/amusing were: Shape Checker (padlock); Bags of Stuff Inside You (internal organs); Hand Computer (smart phone); Stuff You Touch to Fly a Sky Boat (airplane cockpit). From Cover to Cover (literally) Munroe’s drawings will be teaching you a little more about how things work.

This is not a sit down and read cover-to-cover kind of book, period. It’s a grab it every now and then, flip through until you get to a page or two (or six) that you haven’t read, or one you have and want to re-read. I’m just leaving this around for my kids (and myself) to pick up from time to time. I wish I could’ve got a picture of the expression on my youngest’s face just now as he was reading through the book, I could’ve not said a word and simply posted it — I’m not sure how much he understood, but he was fascinated. I’d gladly buy a sequel — actually, I could probably use one.

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4 Stars