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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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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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Nightwing. Volume 1, Traps and Trapezes

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Higgins, Kyle(2012)
Nightwing. Volume 1, Traps and Trapezes

Taking charge of one’s life and handling change is the challenge of living, and that’s Dick Grayson today. Roaming Gotham City nightly as the costumed hero Nightwing, his life is complete as he battles its criminals. This routine almost comes to a halt as Dick is pulled immediately into his past life. The former trapeze artist receives in a will, the traveling circus from his childhood which also featured his parents as performers. The transfer of ownership is far from smooth with stunned circus staff, a speedy romance and the violent blade-welding “Saiko” after Nightwing in a baffling quest to kill him. Kyle Higgins’ story is on target for a satisfying read and Eddy Barrows’ art including the aerobic Nightwing moves is stunning.

Reviewed by Lawrence T., South County Regional

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The Score: a Graphic Novel

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Cooke, Darwyn(2012)
The Score: a Graphic Novel

The master criminal “Parker” is back in circulation for a robbery scheme he initially dismisses as a “crazy” plan. The scheme is to loot an entire small North Dakota town from midnight through dawn, netting a quarter of a million in cash. Ever cautious, Parker is brought in to organize the manpower while a local guy—and “an amateur”--Edgars lays out the plans. Review and planning make the multiple robbery operation a doable and almost seamless venture until some deviate from the plans with revenge and violence. Then, Parker is forced to pick up the pieces. The book hits the mark for enjoyable crime fiction, buoyed by the mood setting retro art style by Darwyn Cooke and his Richard Stark inspired writing.

Reviewed by Lawrence T., South County Regional

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Welcome to Lovecraft

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Hill, Joe(2008)
Welcome to Lovecraft

After their father is murdered, the Locke family is moving in with their uncle at the ancestral mansion, hoping for a new start. Once there the youngest son finds a magic key that fits an ill-used door, and discovers that passage through that door separates your soul from your body. Experimenting with the key, he accidentally unleashes a mysterious evil that is connected to their father`s murder, the house, and the fate of the entire Locke clan. This is just the beginning, because the house is filled with doors, and every door has a key. The story of ancient evil reawakened is evocative of the TV show American Horror Story, and is a good read for anyone in the mood for a well written series of dark and unsettling graphic novels.

Reviewed by Jonathan W., Morrison Regional

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