Book Reviews comics

Comic Reviews: Blackbird, Trees, and Kick-Ass 1

Blackbird, Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nina Rodriguez always seems out of the loop on why her life sucks and why her family just can’t get it together. She’s always been sure that magic is real, but no one believes her. Nina is desperate for answers, but she is really desperate for some control over her own life.Blackbird is a delightful book from co-creators Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel. Bartel’s artwork makes it. The pages are just consistently beautiful.

This series is apparently on hiatus, which sucks considering all of the open-ended questions from book one. The Beacon and the Jackal? That cop who knows what’s up with the cabals?

Four stars for magical romp through Los Angeles with hopefully more coming soon!

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Trees Volume 1 by Warren Ellis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think the world is ending, and it has something to do with aliens and some huge metal “trees” they left at various locations around Earth. There were so many times while reading Trees that I was unsure what was happening. The art style isn’t my favorite either, but…I want to read the second volume, so I felt I couldn’t give it less than three stars

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Kick-Ass by Mark Millar

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Certain aspects of Kick-Ass have perhaps not aged well. The main character’s incel-ish-ness as a part of his whole tragic background story feels dated. Not to minimize his issues, but the whole horny, lonely, can’t-talk-to-a-girl trope is just overdone, to say the least. And then there’s pretending to be gay so that he can get closer to said girl. Yeah.

Now that that’s out of the way, though, Kick-Ass is fast-paced and action-packed. And while I was pretty over the titular character by the end of it, I was left definitely needing to read more Hit-Girl. This book is very violent. But the juxtaposition of said violence with the fact that the heroes in this book are freaking children, disturbing as it was, was very engrossing. Three stars for a…you know…kick-ass, rockin’ story with hopes for more Hit-Girl in the future.

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this week in fandom

This Week in Fandom (1/31/20)

Graphic Novels/Comics

I’m behind on writing this week, but it’s okay, I compensated by reading a lot. In order to meet my lofty 2020 reading goals, I need to count graphic novels and comic books (TPBs not single issues–I’m not a total barbarian). This past week I caught up on some of the comics I had waiting on the shelf. Several upcoming reviews in the queue:

  • Kick-Ass (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)
  • Blackbird Vol. 1 (Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel)
  • Trees Vol. 1 (Warren Ellis, Jason Howard)

For now here are reviews of Adventure Time vols. 5-6 (Ryan North) and Captain America, vol. 2: Captain of Nothing (Ta-Nehisi Coates).

On deck to read once I finish the aforementioned reviews:

  • Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl (Millar, Romita Jr.)
  • Adventure Time vols. 7-8 (Ryan North)
  • Watchmen (Alan Moore)–somehow I have never read this
  • Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Damian Duffy, from Octavia E. Butler)
  • Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests (Ellis, Howard)
  • Superman: Year One (Frank Miller, John Romita Jr.)
  • Invisible Kingdom (G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward–I actually have all six issues of this series on order, as the first run was amazing.

I’m always looking for recommendations of great graphic novels/comics. I generally stray from Marvel/DC, but only because of the sometimes sharp learning curve and extended history of certain characters. I will definitely check out mainstream superhero books that pique my interest and seem moderately self-contained (and so Superman above). Have any other suggests? Let me know in the comments!


Otherwise I posted one other review this week–Annalee Newitz’s spec fic time-travel novel, The Future of Another Timeline. Find that here. I enjoyed this book, even more than Newitz’s debut, Autonomous. In both, Newitz weaves together the political, the social, and the personal with technology.

I finished The Hero of Ages this week (my third time through Mistborn Era 1) as part of my reread of the novels in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. I’m to the Era 1 short fiction (“The Lost Metal,” “Mistborn: Secret History”) from the Arcanum Unbounded collection. This is a bit of a deviation in my Sanderson reading plan, as I typically read the books in more or less published order (though always leading into The Stormlight Archive).

Tor, 2015

I also finally picked up a book that has been on my TBR for a long time: V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. I’m enjoying it so far! My introduction to fantasy was really through magic “systems,” e.g. The Wheel of Time and anything by Brandon Sanderson. While I clearly still dig Sanderson, my interests have been verging more toward the “low magic” side. Not that these types of magics don’t have rules, but the rules are neither necessarily clearly defined nor intricate. I’m thinking of someone like Neil Gaiman here, especially The Ocean at the End of the Lane. As it happens, Gaiman is one of Schwab’s big influences, so. Look for a review of the first in the Shades of Magic trilogy next week!