Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis (Preacher #1) (DNF)

Title: Preacher, Volume 1:  Gone to Texas
Series: Preacher
Author: Garth Ennis
Artist: Joe R. Lansdale
Date Added: September 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2018
Date DNF: August 23, 2018
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural/Paranormal

Cover of Preacher: Volume 1, Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis and Joe R. LansdalePages: 336
Publication Date: 1995
Publisher: Vertigo
Media: Paperback – Library


One of the most celebrated comics titles of the late 1990s, PREACHER is a modern American epic of life, death, love and redemption also packed with sex, booze, blood and bullets – not to mention angels, demons, God, vampires and deviants of all stripes.

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn’t look like anyone special-just another small-town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he’s about to come face-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist. Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse now possesses the power of “the Word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters. He begins a violent and riotous journey across the country in search of answers from the elusive deity.


I love when I’m reading something and BAM, racial slur.  I was already on the fence about this and that sealed it for me.  This isn’t to say I’ve never read or never will read anything with slurs.  There are definitely valid reasons to use them in a work, so please don’t get it twisted and assume that’s the reason I shelved this.  It was more the final straw in a story I wasn’t that into in the first place.

This one of those narratives you’d think I’d be in love with: a small town preacher forcefully merges with a half-angel, half-demon being named Genesis and parts of the story takes place literally in Heaven with angels (Seraphi and Adephi), but it’s not really my style or aesthetic.  The story also jumps around so much, it comes off as frenetic.  I know it’s a big fan favorite (it has over four stars on Goodreads), but it’s not for me.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu (DNF)

Title: Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening & Vol. 2, The Blood
Series: Monstress
Author: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Date Added: August 9, 2018
Date Started: August 13, 2017
Date DNF: August 16, 2018
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Dark Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian, Steampunk

Pages: 72 & 152
Publication Dates: November 4, 2015 & July 11, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Montress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics. In the face of oppression and terrible danger, Maika is both hunter and hunted, searching for answers about her mysterious past as those who seek to use her remain just one step behind…and all the while, the monster within begins to awaken.


This series is as beautifully brutal as it is convoluted.  It combines Lovecraft mythos with Egyptian mythology and Irish folklore (The Fair Folk) among other things to weave a world of magic and savagery.  Where “there’s more hunger in this world than love” is exemplified by starving slaves eating the contents of a dead boy’s stomach.

Maika Halfwolf has a monster living inside her, and her quest for the truth leads to her enigmatic mother and beyond, while she hides from those who would use her in a land full of political intrigue and betrayal.

Sana Takeda’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous,

Image panel from the first volume Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

Title: The Faust Act
Series Title: The Wicked + The Divine
Author: Kieron Gillen
Illustrators: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson & Clayton Cowles
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Started: August 2, 2018
Date Finished: August 7, 2018
Reading Duration: 5 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Mythology

Cover of The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust ActPages: 176
Publication Date: November 12, 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Hardback (Library)


Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. 


The story is fast paced and glamorous in this “gods incarnated into the bodies of youths” metaphor of celebrity culture.  It starts off with Lucifer

standing trial for murder, and the trial itself ending in an unexpected way (yes, even more unexpected than Phoenix Wright, though there is an explosion of sorts…).   It’s clever how once again Lucifer is being thrown under the bus for something he (in shtis case she) didn’t do (as in some interpretations/translations “Lucifer” was erroneously conflated with Satan, but this is something I need to do more research on).

The majority of the characters in this are POC including the main Laura who desperately wants into this world.

Laura Wilson, main character from The Wicked + The DivineThe cycle, or at least who’s chosen, seems perpetuated by Ananke who appears as an old woman.  She infuses people (usually teenagers from what I can tell) with the incarnation per what Luci explains, and this is the main reason Laura was at the Amaterasu concert.  Everyone wants to be a god, but no one wants to deal with the consequences.

The artwork in this graphic novel is absolutely gorgeous; McKelvie, Wilson, and Cowles definitely deserve all the props, but the story is vapid AF.  Before you castigate me and insist “That’s the point!” let me elaborate.  My assumption is that later volumes delve deeper into the reasons for the recurrence, but if this first one is meant as an introduction, it does a poor job at showing them as anything more than one-dimensional caricatures.

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The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman #1) (DNF)

Title: The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes
Series Title: The Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Various
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: April 4, 2018
Date DNF: April 15, 2018
Reading Duration: 9 days
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror, Mythology

The Sandman: Preludes & NocturnesPages: 240
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 1989
Media: Paperback (Library)


New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.


I’d been wanting to read this for years, and since many of my friends love Neil Gaiman, it’s been recommended to me a number of times.  In theory the graphic novel has everything I love: mythology re-workings, old gods, darkness, horror, death rituals, releasing something ancient and seemingly evil, and sleeping all the time.  You know…my typical Saturday.  I actually couldn’t get into Gaiman’s writing when I first attempted either American Gods or Neverwhere years ago, but I really liked Stardust and absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lanefinding after I read those, I was able to stomach AG more easily.  I think I just needed to get used to his style.  There’s also a novel illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, who was the concept artist for Final Fantasy.

Sandman illustrated by AmanoI think it was Amano more than anything that encouraged me to seek this series out, and I erroneously believed the artist illustrated the entirety of Sandman.  Had that been the case, I probably would’ve finished not only the first one, but read them all, despite my issues with the narrative.

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Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (Saga #2)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 1                                                                               Saga: Volume 3–>

Title: Saga, Volume. 2
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: May 23, 2017
Date Started: May 27, 2017
Date Finished: May 29, 2017
Reading Duration: 2 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera

Pages: 144
Publication Date: June 19, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback

From award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, Done to Death), Saga is sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet… grandparents.


The thing  you have to remember about war is that the only truly innocent parties are the children, and sometimes even they are forced to fight.  I wonder if we’ll ever find out what caused the initial conflict between Landfall and its moon Wreath, not that it matters at this point.  Generations have come and gone and they’re not only still fighting, but the war has mostly moved away from the original combatants to distant corners of the universe.

Stories like this make you sympathize with both sides just by nature of having Alana and Marko being together and producing Hazel.  Both of them fought on opposite ends, but neither of them care about that anymore.  This little family is one blip in an eternal bloody conflict, attempting to escape and ever pursued by those who wish to kill or exploit them.

In this volume, we’re introduced to Barr and Klara, Hazel’s paternal grandparents who are none too pleased their son eloped with their world’s mortal enemy, but like all grandparents, they don’t let such frivolity occupy them for long, especially considering the stakes.

This story continues to impress me.

5 stars.

Note:  I know this is not the greatest review, but I’ve pretty much been shotgunning the series, and I didn’t take very good notes on the second volume.  It’s hard to go on pure memory when it’s just one overarching narrative.  If the purpose of a review is to convince you to read the story in question, I hope I’ve at least done that.

<–Saga: Volume 1                                                                               Saga: Volume 3–>

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Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (Saga #1)

Saga

Saga: Volume 2–>

Title: Saga: Volume 1
Series Title: Saga
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: May 15, 2017
Date Finished: May 23, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera
Recommended by: Cupcakes and Machetes

Pages: 160
Publication Date: October 10, 2012
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.


I never read comic books growing up.  Not that I had anything against them.  I make no judgments about the media you consume.  All narratives are worthy of discourse regardless how they’re presented.  Comics and graphic novels just never passed into my zone of consumption until a college postmodern class where I was more than happy to read Watchmen Though even without that experience, I can’t say they weren’t part of my sphere of influence, though I might not have known at the time.

I was obsessed with MTV’s The Maxx and Aeon Flux, the former, which began as a comic/graphic novel and the latter, which has one in the form of The Herodotus Files (currently on my TBR list), and this fails to even mention the plethora of movies that are based on comic books e.g. anything involving superheros like Superman, Batman, the Avengers (Loki!), etc. nor are comics limited to just that as my favorite movie for years Constantine is based off the comic HellblazerThere are more that I can’t speak on due to ignorance, but suffice it to say that comics and graphic novels are no mean genre deserving of ridicule, nor would someone like me who constantly defends video games from the same vitriol ever make such an ill-informed claim.

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