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Graphic Novels Book Reviews

***** Graphic Novels for Adults *****

Listed below are our most recent book reviews for Graphic Novels. To view additional book reviews, choose a subcategory from the list on the left.


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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

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Brown, Box(2014)Recently Added Review
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

Whether he played the good guy, the heel or the Brute Squad, Andre Roussimoff made an indelible impression in the worlds of sports and entertainment during his brief and illustrious life. In Box Brown’s graphic novel biography of the entertainer, athlete, actor and generally nice guy, brief vignettes are presented with bold, spare artwork. Repeatedly, Brown lets the reader know that art and reality are not mutually exclusive, and the stories presented are proof, with their embellishments, exaggerations and possible half-truths. Like the storylines he used to act out, Andre the Giant was neither all good nor all bad, but a man who lived a life rife with pain and promise, and who consciously made the most of every sweet year he was given.

Reviewed by Sarah K., Morrison Regional

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Aquaman Vol 1: The Trench

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Johns, Geoff(2012)Recently Added Review
Aquaman Vol 1: The Trench

A great reboot for an underrated hero, this is one of the gems on DC`s publishing crown. This comic opens in a world where Aquaman is the butt of jokes about his `friends` the fish, questions of his efficacy out of water, and even public doubts about the existence of Atlantis and his underwater race. All he wants is a quiet existence with his wife in their lighthouse home, away from his abdicated throne, the mocking press, and occasionally venturing out to help people (he is still a hero, after all). Then the Trench arrive, an insatiably-hungry race of carnivores from the deepest underwater caverns, a race that is only a legend to the mighty and ancient Atlantean empire, and a massive threat to anyone who lives near water.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., South County Regional

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1

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Taylor, Tom(2013)Recently Added Review
Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1

This non-canon standalone story is written as a prequel to the video game. I have never played the game. I don`t know if it properly ties into the game from the creators of Mortal Kombat. I only know that it is the best comic about DC superheroes I`ve read in years. The Joker finally broke our best hero, Superman is alone and his city destroyed. With the best intentions paving a road before him, Superman decides to bring about world peace, usurping personal freedoms, pushing aside national sovereignty, and using his allies to bring his own vision of “justice” whether the world wants it or not. It is exactly what Batman has always feared, and has secretly planned for. Dark, funny, surprisingly poignant, if you like DC, read this book.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., South County Regional

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Zombillenium Vol 1: Gretchen

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De Pins, Arthur(2013)
Zombillenium Vol 1: Gretchen

Welcome to Zombillenium, where the supernatural is real and the zombies put on a show; just your average amusement park. The humans convince themselves that it’s great lighting and makeup while the supernaturals snicker to the side. In Zombillenium Vol 1: Gretchen, we meet a mischievous witch who is the new shunned intern at the amusement park where you will have the spookiest time of your life. Gretchen spends her workdays manning the very important balloon station. When a newcomer joins the undead crew, Gretchen finds that her witchy powers are just what they need. This graphic novel is full of vampires, werewolves, mummies, ghosts, zombies, and more! Plenty of laugh out loud moments and a secret or two to keep you entertained!

Reviewed by Angel T., West Boulevard Branch

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Batman, the Dark Knight, Volume 2, Cycle of Violence

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Hurwitz, Gregg(2013)
Batman, the Dark Knight, Volume 2, Cycle of Violence

The dark noir aspect of the Batman mystique is in full mode in this graphic novel. The concluding Cycle of Violence arc has an extended showdown between the Dark Knight and the ghastly, hooded Scarecrow. Preying on the hidden fears and anxieties of his foes, the Scarecrow has “fertile” material for Batman in the violent death of his parents. Captured and drugged, Batman has to battle nightmare memories to keep a grip on his sanity. Writer Greg Hurwitz develops a grim story with a murderously mad villain and the determined, angry hero. And artist David Finch and others ratchet up the spook factor with shadows, dark corridors, and night settings. Here`s another good, grisly, tension-filled Gotham crime story.

Reviewed by Lawrence T., South County Regional

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Green Manor. I, Assassins and Gentlemen

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Vehlmann, Fabien(2005)
Green Manor. I, Assassins and Gentlemen

This collection of short stories is centered on the historical Green Manor Club of London, these Victorian tales of the macabre follow the numerous scurrilous figures that have passed through this seemingly-reputable gentlemen`s establishment. From simple plots over jilted lovers to conniving plans to perform the perfect murder of a certain Sherlock Holmes-writing author, the numerous sins of the denizens of the Club are revealed to the delight of the reader. Done with humor and a sharp nod to the mystery writings of the Victorian era, this is among the cleverest Graphic Novel collections of recent years. A must read for fans of Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, or Victorian literature in general.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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Fables  Vol. 1

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Willingham, Bill(2009)
Fables Vol. 1

One of the greatest examples of the fairytale mashup subgenre, if you liked The Sandman or ABC`s Once Upon a Time you`ll love the world of Fables. Set in modern day New York City, an opulent neighborhood in Manhattan contains all of your favorite Fairytale characters living in a secret community. Driven from their homelands through magic portals and into the real world by a nefarious conqueror known only as `The Adversary` they quietly hide among us `mundane` humans. Magical, immortal, and constantly at each other`s throats over old feuds and new threats, this well-written adventure graphic novel is a fantastic introduction to dozens of fairytale characters-old and new-in a way you`ve never seen them before.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: A Parody

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Subhiyah, Camaren and Kyle Hilton(2013)
Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: A Parody

This graphic novel is a satirical, but not unkind twist on the well-beloved Downton Abbey TV series. The valet, Gates, is not only a servant of the grand house, but a secret agent with the charge to protect crown and country. There are three other agents downstairs and an important one (The Dowager) upstairs. Together the four agents try to thwart a plan that could be a precursor to WWI. Not surprisingly, the villains from the TV series (the head footman and the lady’s maid) are also up to `no good` in this volume. The graphics have likenesses very close to the televised characters and the humor of the story comes mainly from the upstairs characters’ behavior and motives are exaggerated to absurdity!

Reviewed by Jeanenne R., Steele Creek Branch

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Blacksad

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Canales, Juan Diaz(2010)
Blacksad

This brilliantly crafted noir graphic novel features a tough PI investigating crime and corruption in a world where animals are people, but this is NOT a children’s book. In a gritty look at the paranoid McCarthyism society of the 1950`s filled with sex and violence, this book was originally published in Spain to high acclaim and artfully depicts the social upheaval of 1950`s America. Using anthropomorphic animals as effective metaphors for racial conflict, with white-supremacist arctic foxes and lizard street gangs, it provides an uncommonly sophisticated social commentary in addition to a great mystery. If you usually avoid comic books or decry them as “kids’ stuff” this is a great introduction to the more mature realms of the medium.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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The Stuff of Legend, Book One: The Dark

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Raicht, Mike and Brian Smith(2010)
The Stuff of Legend, Book One: The Dark

It’s 1944 in Brooklyn, NY as World War II rages in Europe. The Boogeyman has just snatched a boy from his bedroom and stolen him away to the world of the Dark. The boy`s loyal toys are now in a whirlwind battle and adventure to save the boy from the evil Boogeyman. Will the boy’s toys win in the battle against the Boogeyman’s army? Can they beat the Mayor at his menacing game in the town of Hopscotch? What does the Boogeyman want with an innocent little boy? This graphic novel has great illustrations to go along with an interesting, dark story about toys from a boy during a hard time in the world. It is the start to a series you will not forget easily.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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