Amanda’s June Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hey, lovelies! I finallly picked up a few of my graphic novels this month! There was a readathon that I’ve done before called GraphicsAThon (find them on Twitter here). I felt motivated to try to read one or two graphic novels that I already own. Reading books I own is the theme for 2021 and I’m doing my best to stay on brand.

Middlewest Book One by Scottie Young, Jorge Corona, & Mike Huddleston

I’ve loved what I’ve read of Skottie Young’s graphic novels. So, this was my reasoning for purchasing this one. I have to say before you get into this one, there is a scene where the dad hits his son, Abel (who is our main character). And Abel’s dad definitely has anger issues, so it’s not a super healthy relationship. The story starts with Abel waking up late to his job of delivering newspapers. His dad is screaming at him. One thing lead to another and he and his dad are screaming at each other in the front yard. His dad turns into a giant wind monster and Abel flees for his life. But while he’s running away (with his best friend, a talking fox) he’s hit by the wind monster and this leaves a strange mark on his chest. After escaping, Abel searches for answers about what happened and how to heal this strange mark he now has. So, I enjoyed this. I think the art style was really interesting. There were lots of colors and each panel’s colors did a great job of portraying the mood of the pages. As for the story, I enjoyed it. I have quite a few questions about this world that I feel like weren’t answered. The art shows this world as a steam punk-ish kind of world. There’s lots of machinery with weird jars of green stuff that could be fuel of some sort. But there’s also things like regular doctors and hospitals, so it was unclear if this was supposed to be a realistic world like the one we live in or a fantasy world. There’s magic and many animals that can talk (like Abel’s fox sidekick), so there are definitely some fantasy elements (most of this book is about a wind monster, so). I’m not holding out hope that I will have my questions answered about the world building because it’s mostly shown through the artwork. But I’m still very interesting in reading the next book.

Middlewest Book Two by Scottie Young & Jorge Corona

So, this second volume of the series actually did answer some of my questions that I had. I believe that this is a fantasy world. It’s called Middlewest and there are all sorts of fantasy towns. But there are some elements that are similar to the world we know. We did learn a small detail about the green stuff in jars that seemed to be fuel. There’s also little bits of this worlds history mentioned, like the Great Plain Wars. I liked this second volume. The art was just as good as the first volume. We get to see some mythological and magical creatures that I thought were really cool. We also meet Abel’s grandfather who is a snow monster. I think the theme of controlling your feelings and emotions was a compelling one. We see a bit of Abel’s dad’s history when we meet the grandfather. I liked getting this character backstory. We also see Abel’s dad traveling in search of Abel and he’s having some really great realizations. I still wouldn’t say that I like him, but getting to see the character growth was interesting. Abel is still searching for a way to get rid of the mark, which we learned is called the Heart of a Storm. It’s seeming like there’s no way to actually get rid of it and Abel’s not happy with that. He’s still struggling with his anger and he takes it out on Fox. I loved Fox. He’s such a fun sidekick. Overall, I’m enjoying this series and I’m very interested to see where things go in the third volume. So far, both volumes have left off on a pretty compelling cliffhanger, which leaves me wanting to jump right into the next volume.

Middlewest Book Three by Scottie Young, Jorge Corona, & Jean-François Beaulieu

This is the conclusion to this series. I didn’t know there were only three volumes, but I didn’t mind that much. It was nice that I didn’t have to wait for anymore installments to be released. So, in this final volume, Abel and many other kids have been taken and put to work at an Ethol farm (ethol is the weird green stuff in bottles that we see in the first two volumes). This farm is run by a super not nice guy. Most of this book we are watching Abel and his friends try to figure out a way to escape the farm. But we also get to see other characters, like Maggie and Jeb, as well as Abel’s dad again. We follow what they’re doing as well. Everyone is trying to find Abel, basically. I enjoyed this conclusion. I think it was really fast paced and action packed. The stakes were high for Abel to keep his wind monster powers in check and he mostly succeeded. I think there could definitely be more created from this world, and I hope that we get to see that some day. I liked that there was a reunion between Abel and his father. I think it was really important for Abel to get to say his piece to his dad, finally. Abel’s dad’s growth was really good. I still didn’t like him, but I could appreciate him learning just how wrong he had been. Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It has a great message of breaking patterns, acknowledging and managing your emotions, and found families.

That’s all I read for graphic novels this month. I’m glad I managed to start and finish this series. It was a really enjoyable one with stunning artwork and important themes. What graphic novels did you read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s December Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! Another month that I’ve actually managed to read some of my graphic novels that I already own. I’m going to keep this intro brief so we can get into my thoughts on what I read in the month of December.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

This is a bind up of three different stories. I don’t know that the stories were ever published separately, but going into this graphic novel I didn’t realize that is was three different stories. I really loved this. These three stories were each wonderful in their own ways. In the first story, The Plain Janes, Jane has just moved to the suburbs from the city after she was in a bomb attack. She has PTSD and despite this happening in the city, she didn’t want to leave. She’s worried that she won’t make new friends. She’s a teen that is having to move during high school. So, her fears and worries are normal. But Jane is also an artist. She finds friends in three girls who are all also named Jane. In the first book, their friendship was focused on P.L.A.I.N. which was their name for the street art that they were doing together. This story was so fun, the girls planning what they were going to do next and basking in a successful execution. But the police are upset about the art and enact curfews, certain that it’s teenagers doing these art attacks. This doesn’t stop the girls, and their friendship grows. Janes in Love, the second book, is focused on Valentine’s Day and the love interests of each of the Janes (and James who is the only gay boy that is out in their school). I thought this story was sweet and fun. I liked that the color scheme of the art changed to a pretty pinks to reflect the theme of the story. Though this story focuses on love and romance and relationships, there’s still a focus on art too. Art saves and I loved that message in all three stories. In the final story, Janes Attack Back, Jane is feeling like her friends are drifting from what brought them together, art. They are all working on college applications, new hobbies and interests, and Jane feels like she’s doing the brunt of the work for P.L.A.I.N. On top of this, there’s a new girl at school and everyone loves her, but Jane can’t seem to anything other than butt heads with her. I think this was a really great story about friends all having their own interesting, but still being friends. It talks about how friends need to be able to tell their friends what they need from them and when. I loved all three of these stories so much. I also want to mention, in the first story, during the bombing, Jane was saved by a man that didn’t have any identification. So, he is in the hospital in a coma as a John Doe afterwards. She visits him often, but after she moves she writes him letters. I won’t say anything further, but this relationship was one of my favorite things about this story. They are two people from different parts of the world connected by a trauma. I think it was a wonderful addition to this story. Okay, I’ve gone on long enough. Long story short, I loved this graphic novel and I highly recommend it.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

I absolutely loved this author/illustrator duo’s previous work (Teen Titans: Raven) so, I was super excited to pick up this next installment of the series. Beast Boy follows Gar in his daily life. I liked that this was a slice of life kind of story. It’s Gar’s senior year and he’s upset that he hasn’t completed anything from his list of goals for his final year of high school. The story starts with him reviewing the list and being more determined to tackle any of the items on the list. We also get to see his two best friends, Tank and Stella, try to hype him up when Gar is hyper focused on his insecurities. I think that’s the one thing I didn’t like about this book. Gar is so focused on the fact that he’s short and thin, he craves to be in with the popular crowd. I get this is something many teens feel, but I wish we could have seen him get over this. I loved how supportive Tank and Stella were and I think the little bits we get with them were the best parts. I also am a little disappointed that this book ended similarly to Raven, right when it felt like the story was getting into something exciting. Do graphic novels have cliffhangers? If yes, that’s what this was. I will say, I am extremely excited to read the next installment, Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven.

Technically The Plain Janes was three graphic novels in one bind up. So, I’m counting this month as four total that I read, hah! Now, I only have 8 unread graphic novels left on my shelf. I’m happy with how many/what I’ve read in terms of graphic novels this year. What graphic novels did you read in 2020?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s November Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of regularly reading my graphic novels. I read a bunch last month and wanted to read at least one again this month. Below are the graphic novels I read and some brief thoughts on them.

Skyward, Vol. 1: My Low-G Life by Joe Henderson, Lee Garnett, & Antonia Fabela

I bought this series on a whim while I was at my local comic store. I like science fiction and the cover grabbed my attention. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this. It was a fun story with diverse characters. Our main character, Willa, never grew up knowing what it was like to have gravity. So, she likes the world the way it is. But her dad wants to fix it. Her dad hasn’t left their apartment in 20 years though, so she doesn’t think it’ll actually happen. I liked that this story was about family, but it also had action and high stakes and other friends too. I think the art was lovely. The colors were vibrant and I really liked it all. I think my only complaint is that I’m left with too many questions. I’m assuming this will all be covered in the next volumes but I think we could have at least learned specifically why gravity stopped working instead of just getting hints about it. Overall, I liked this one and I’m going to go pick the next one up right now.

Skyward, Vol. 2: Here There Be Dragonflies by Joe Henderson, Lee Garnett, & Antonia Fabela

Okay, sadly I’m a bit disappointed by this one. I really liked that we got to see more of the world outside of Chicago. It was super interesting to see how a lack of gravity could change things like bugs. But I didn’t get a single question answered and I was left with even more than before. I still liked the story, but I’m confused about how Earth lost gravity and what exactly Willa is going to do about it. The art was beautiful. The setting of outside the city really allowed for fascinating scenes. I’m going to start the third volume now because I already own it and I really want to know what’s going on.

Skyward, Vol. 3: Fix The World by Joe Henderson, Lee Garnett, & Antonia Fabela

While I still have a few questions, I can say that I was pretty satisfied with this conclusion. This is the final volume in the series and we get some answers. I really liked Willa and her personality. She could have stayed somewhere safe with a loved one she missed dearly, but she put herself at risk to save the city she loves. I really liked that the bad guys pays for his crimes and that there was a happy ending. The art, like the first two volumes, was lovely. I kept forgetting to mention that I really liked that it wasn’t a super gory story. But there was blood and guts, sweat and tears at some points. The interesting thing about this is that there’s no gravity so all of this stuff floats in the air. It was nasty and I loved it. I also like that there’s a diverse cast of characters, Willa is black and there is a female/female relationship that we get to see bits of. My only problem with this volume and the series was that I wanted more! I want to see Willa travel and see the other cities. I want to see what other chaos a lack of gravity has created. I really enjoyed this series. It was fun and quick.

W.I.T.C.H, Part I: The Twelve Portals by Elisabeth Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, & Barbara Canepa

This was such a fun and nostalgic read. I watched the show (I think it was a Disney show) way back when, but remember little about it. So, it was a ton of fun coming back into this world. I loved the story of girls coming together to be heroes. I also loved that the friendship of these five girls wasn’t a perfect one. They fight and disagree and I liked that this was a part of the story because it made it more realistic. I know this is a super long series, so I’m excited that I finally started it, but also it’s going to take me forever to finish it. I highly recommend it for those that love magical girls with mysterious destinies that get themselves into trouble.

I’m happy that I managed to read a whole series (all books that I already owned) and I’m hoping to finish up my physical TBR of my graphic novels next month. What graphic novels did you read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Nine: Amanda’s October Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! I’ve really been slacking on my graphic novel reading this year. I was doing okay at first, but as the year progressed I started focusing more and more on my physical TBR for just my novels. I wanted to change that this October because I had quite a few graphic novels that were perfect for the spooky season. So, let’s talk about what I read and how I felt about it.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I’ve been really wanting to finish this series now that it’s complete and I own all of them. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to actually pick them up and read them, but everytime I actually do I’m reminded how much I enjoy this series. The story follows Gods who are reincarnated, but only for two years. Things have gotten pretty wild in this volume of the series. We have new Gods who might not really even be Gods? I thought the addition of magazine like interviews with some of the Gods was an interesting addition. It was a great way to remind myself what was going on in the story and actually helped me remember each God a bit better. As always, the art is absolutely stunning and perfectly gruesome. The characters are diverse, interesting, and complex. The conversations that this story brought up were interesting and important. I found myself liking characters that I was annoyed with or disliked in previous volumes. I was also super happy to get to see and read more about Lucifer who is absolutely my favorite character in this story. I’m definitely still a huge fan of this series and I’m planning to pick the next one up soon.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part II by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I have mostly the same thoughts about this volume in the series as I did in my mini-review of the last volume above. There were really great conversations about sexuality. There were diverse characters. The art was stunning (and still perfectly gruesome). I think the twists in this volume were absolutely excellent and I want to immediately pick up the next volume to see what will happen next. The tension rose dramatically in the final pages of this book and I’m eager to continue.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Holy shit what did I just read. In this volume, we learn so much history of how the gods came to be how they are. We learn how and why they rerun every hundred years. We learn Ananke’s motivations and I’m so here for it. I was captivated by this volume. There’s still the usual gore and secret keeping, but the readers are learning things that only Ananke knows and it was fascinating. This series is full of characters with some seriously grey morals. They do terrible things and try to excuse them. Some of them straight up admit they’re basically villains. I loved this volume so much. The art was stunning. There were some pages that were so interestingly put together that I had to read a few times to get the full effect of what they were saying. This series really just gets better and better. It always covers tough topics in the best way possible. It acknowledges these topics and has productive conversation about them. I just can’t say enough great things. This volume might be my new favorite.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 8: Old is the New New by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Okay, so I didn’t know but this is a special collection volume. This is a few stories that were previously published separately, now put into one collection. I thought it was really interesting to see a story I was familiar with shown in a different art style. It had things in common (like murder) but the art was different and interesting. I had a bit of trouble, because some of these stories were about how pantheons in the past ended, keeping the characters straight. There were some of the same gods, but they were in different bodies (often different genders) which made it hard for me to remember which character was which. This was something I struggled with in the first few volumes of this series because there’s just so many characters. I was still really into the stories though. Getting to know a bit about the characters past and the history of this world with gods. Though this whole volume left me wondering, do the gods remember their previous times on Earth? Because if so, I’ve got some questions for Lucifer.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

This was the finale volume of The Wicked + The Divine and I’m honestly sad to see it over. This was such a fun series that was full of murder, mystery, drama, but also really important conversations about sexuality, abortion, and many other topics. I’m pretty happy with this final volume. The characters all finally learned the secrets that were revealed to the reader in the last few volumes and I was satisfied with how everything played out. I will definitely miss these characters and their utter chaos, but I had such a great time with this series. It’s definitely one I will recommend. The characters were all so complex and diverse. There was excellent gore and murder mystery. Finally, my favorite thing is that this final installment was narrated by Laura just like the first volume was and I really enjoyed the full circle aspect of that. I’m sad that the series is over but I’m definitely interested in reading other works from these creators.

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

This story follows Anna, who works at a traveling circus along with her twin sister. When her twin, Kat, is found murdered, Anna is tasked with figuring out who the murderer is. Circus stories seem to be hit or miss for me and this one was a miss. I didn’t like how some of the circus members treated others. I also really didn’t like that we didn’t figure out how the murderer was. I assume this mystery is drawn out through the series, but I wanted to know who did it. I think this was a good story to read in October, there are ghosts and a murder mystery, and Anna’s narrator did a good job of making things seem a bit spooky. She questioned everything. This was a quick read, but I don’t know that I’ll continue the series.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

This was creepy. I know that Sabrina is supposed to be a horror story but I grew up watching the fun animated show and the other one with Melissa Joan Hart. Which were both family friendly and full of goodness. This was not at all that, which I knew going into it, but it still totally creeped me out. Sabrina wasn’t so creepy, but her Aunt Hilda and Zelda were both basically cannibals and all the magic stemmed from worshipping the devil. This is the perfect graphic novel to read if you want something creepy for October. Even the art style was super creepy. The facial expressions of the characters did a really good job supporting the horror of the storyline and dialogue. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series. I want to see if my library has it, because it’s not my usual kind of thing to read so I don’t think I want to buy them. But I liked it well enough. I’m excited to see how it was adapted on Netflix.

These are all the graphic novels I read in October and my thoughts on them! I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing the WicDiv series (finally) and reading the others that I’d been saving all yeah for October. Did you read any graphic novels this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s July Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hey, lovelies! It’s been a bit since I’ve picked up any of my graphic novels, but I’m determined to finally finish The Wicked + the Divine soon.

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol 4. Rising Action by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, & Clayton Cowles

As I said above, it’s been a bit since I’ve read any of my graphic novels, so jumping back into this series was a bit confusing. But I would like to point out that because I like this series so much I remember most of the bigger details from the first three volumes. I also thing that this volume did a better job at giving some back story, or at least showing us some things that we assumed but didn’t actually get to see. I really enjoyed Rising Action. It was full of well, action. But it also brought the Gods together and I thought that was really cool. I’m definitely interested to see where the story will go next (especially with how Persephone ended this book).

I was hoping to read a few more volumes in this series but only managed the one. I got a bunch of new novels for my birthday and became a bit distracted.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanah Ganucheau

GoodReads Summary:
Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.
Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.
BloomReview:
I’m so glad that I waited to pick this up. I bought this when I went to the NoVaTeen Book Festival. But I didn’t pick it up until today. I read this sitting in my backyard in the sunshine and it was perfect. This was the perfect book for summertime. Full of fun and love and lessons.
The main character, Ari, is such an unlikable little punk at the start of the story. But he makes mistakes and then learns from those mistakes.
Hector was the sweetest little bean and I loved him. I would have liked to learn more about him. I also mostly liked their friends. One was a jerk, but I think he was supposed to be unlikeable.
Overall, , I loved this. The characters were enjoyable. The art style was fun and beautiful.  If you’re looking for the perfect graphic novel to read this summer. I have it right here for you. You don’t need to look any further.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.