Ashes of Honor – Seanan McGuire. Once I’d moved past the awkwardness of Irish mythology in an American setting (I always try not to read the pronunciation guides in books like this because they make me wince, but I always fail), I found a lot to like in this urban fantasy novel. Toby is complicated, her friends are all individuals with stories of their own, and the mix of the various Faerie courts is just the right amount of antagonistic. I’ll definitely be checking more of this series out. Who knows, I might even start from the beginning 😉
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo – Jai Nitz and Cliff Richards. Utterly forgettable and strangely convoluted.
Deadpool: Back in Black – Cullen Bunn, Salva Espin and Ruth Redmond. Meh. This is largely about two characters I’m not really into (Spider-Man and Venom) so it was always going to be a bit of a miss for me. To be fair, the whole thing is thoroughly tongue in cheek and would probably be a much better read if Spider-lore is your thing. The unexpected upside? Deadpool and Black Cat, a connection I didn’t see coming and one that was weirdly fun.
Joe Golem Occult Detective, Volume 1: The Rat Catcher and The Sunken Dead – Mike Mignola et. al. In some ways this doesn’t read as the first of the series. There are a lot of missing details, enough to make the reader think that they’ve started reading in the middle of a run, when actually that sense of ‘what is going on??’ is deliberately created to help set the tone of this hard-boiled detective series with a dash of mythology and a dollop of steampunk. With parts of New York under water, it takes a new type of detective to look into unsolved cases featuring supernatural creatures. Luckily for the Drowning City, a new type of detective is on hand, even if he does have a complicated past. A solid read, and I’ll pick up other volumes if the library gets them in, but it didn’t set my world on fire.
Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One – Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott and Romulo Farjardo Jr. I. Loved. This. when a man crash lands on Themyscira, Princess Diana of the amazons must leave her home to lead him to safety. Year One handled some dense Greek mythology really, really deftly, and the art was beautiful (the cover is not the best reflection of the contents). All of the Amazons were strong and individual, and none of them were unnecessarily sexualised (yay!). Diana’s naivety and love came across as wonderful, rather than corny, and, yes, this is the volume where DC finally confirm that bisexuality is a thing. Yaaasss!!
Dragon Age: Magekiller – Greg Rucka, Carmen Carnero, Terry Pallot and Michael Atiyeh. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Sachin Teng’s cover for this series because they are seriously gorgeous. The first half of Magekiller was a four star read – witty, dark and steeped in Dragon Age mythology. Then the story started to jump from plot to plot with little to no resolution, and it got a bit confusing. The tone was still enjoyable, the characters still interesting and diverse but, ugh, so many loose ends!
The Goddamned, Volume 1: Before the Flood – Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera and Giulia Brusco. A bunch of men kill, maim and generally brutalise each other because Cain killed his brother and God doesn’t give a shit. What is it with Jason Aaron? He writes stuff I’m totally into (Jane Foster!Thor) and then turned around and writes stuff I almost actively dislike (Southern Bastards, this.) Needless to say, I will not be picking up volume two.
Joe the Barbarian – Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy. Joe’s Dad is dead, his Mum is in danger of losing their house, and his classmates hate him. Oh, and he’s slipping into a diabetic coma that manifests in the form of a dangerous fantasy land populated by Joe’s toys and pet rat. It’s kind of awesome (but has baffingly low reviews on Goodreads).
Tag: Deluxe Edition – Keith Giffen, Andy Kuhn and Kody Chamberlain. Two half-baked, completely unrelated stories in a book that advertises itself a single collected comic. Two good ideas wasted on toxic masculinity and jumpy storytelling, with bonus mentions of rape in both stories. Avoid.
ODY-C, Volume 1: Off to Far Ithica – Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. A gender-bent, sci-fi retelling of The Odyssey. Seriously. And it’s so fucking good! Odysseus/Odyssia is still a self-centered jerk (though I personally find her much more interesting in this guise), the gods are still capricious meddlers, and everyone else is still caught in between. And all that before we even mention the glorious, glorious artwork <3
MPH – Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo. A bunch of disadvantaged youths end up with superpowers courtesy of a drug. So far, so totally been done before. (Sidenote: why is this set in Detroit and not, say, Coatbridge? I assume marketability is what leads a lot of Mark Millar’s stuff being set in America, but it irks me.) So, youths, superpowers, bank robbery, divisions within the group, people dead set on catching them. Ho hum. Luckily, there’s a twist ending that’s a little too convenient but both a surprise and fun, making MPH an alright read rather than an unimiginative retread.
Old Man Logan, Volume 2: Bordertown – Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcel Maiolo. Old Man Logan tells a worryingly out of character Storm that he has something he needs to do and leaves the X-Men to move to a remote town when he plans to safeguard the child that, in another timeline, will grow up to be his wife. Ew. And, of course, trouble follows him leaving him with no choice but to become chaos. Snikt. The problem is, I don’t give a fuck and I’m slightly skeeved out. Sorry, Old Man Logan.
Hawkeye, Volume 1: Anchor Points – Kelly Thompson et. al. A solid set up to Kate Bishop’s solo title, but it didn’t really float my boat. Kate’s supposed to be enthusiastic and optimistic but she just came across as annoying to me. Jessica Jones is in a few issues though, so there was that.
Stardust – Neil Gaiman. I’ve read the illustrated version of this, the straight novel version, and I’ve seen the movie, but this was my first time listening to Stardust. I’d actually forgotten how funny it is.
Daredevil vs. Punisher: Means and Ends – David Lapham. Frank Castle takes on the mafia. Again. Daredevil tries to stop him. But he’s totes conflicted about it. And that’s the whole graphic novel. Yawn.
In Real Life – Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. This hoped to inspire me to ‘dig deeper into the subject of behavioural economics’ which, though laudable, seems a bit much. As you may have noticed, I read a lot of comics and I don’t discriminate when it comes to target age group. In Real Life is one of the first titles that has felt overly simplistic to me – small town American girls convinces guy in China to organise a strike to improve his working conditions – to the point where I struggled to suspend disbelief that someone would ever think this was a feasible idea. and yet I know that a large portion of the target audience for this book probably don’t know anything about working conditions for ordinary people in China. So while I felt mildly patronised, I get that this is not necessarily a patronising book (let’s put the white saviour criticism to one side). A mixed read for me, but probably an important one for kids in their early teens. Plus, the art is pretty gorgeous, and there’s a nicely handled anti-bullying subplot (the geeks bully the popular kids!).