Tag Archives: graphic novel reviews

La Estrada: Season One-Episode 1 by Andrew D. Daily (Illustrated by Alex Vede) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A mysterious portal leads to a missing child, and a mother who must work against powerful politicians and untold dangers to find her child before it is too late in author Andrew D. Daily’s “La Estrada: Season One-Episode 1”. 

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The Synopsis

La Entrada – Season One, Episode One is the first graphic novel of this epic series.

A child disappears when an other-worldly portal forms outside of Mexico City. To find him, his mother must partner with a renegade professor and face the politicians that stand in their way. The mysteries of La Entrada will shake their existence and alter the comforts of civilization.

This experimental graphic novel emulates television through black and white storyboard artwork. From the intense mind of Andrew D. Daily and brilliant digital illustrator Alex Vede, we are introduced to the beginning of a power clash not seen since the conquistador invasion of 1519.

The Review

This was such a fantastic and entertaining graphic novel. The author did a marvelous job of finding a way of translating an episode of television into graphic novel form. The rich culture and settings of this story felt vibrant and alive on the page, and the story flowed just as smoothly as an hour-long drama. The striking contrast of the sci-fi/paranormal elements of the overarching plot with the more twisted and nefarious plots of political corruption made the narrative come to life on the page. 

The heart of this story came down to character development. The interwoven stories of the people caught in this maelstrom of mystery and intrigue made the larger plot of suspenseful drama that much more emotionally investing. From a mother desperate to find her missing son to a professor shunned by his community for outlandish ideas and two political rivals sparring over who is to become the next Presidente of Mexico amidst this powerful and unexplainable event, each subplot revealed characters that could immediately carry this “show”. 

The Verdict

Memorable, heartfelt, and engaging as a story, author Andrew D. Daily’s “La Entrada: Season One-Episode One” is a must-read graphic novel. The television landscape of this story and the artwork’s amazing capture of this style of storytelling from artist Alex Vede is a brilliant combination, and the heart and passion for which these characters bring this narrative to life were fantastic to read. A story deserving of a television narrative, the shocking twists and turns in the story, as well as the shocking final pages of this growing mystery, made this one graphic novel readers are not going to want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Andrew is a television writer, producer, and production manager living in Los Angeles, CA.

Shark Tank on ABC was his first big break in TV as an art department production assistant. He was quickly spotted for his administrative skills and found mentors in production management, where he climbed the ranks. The unscripted shows he has worked on include Miss Universe, Paradise Hotel, The Voice, and The Grammy’s. He has also worked on several scripted shows, including Blunt Talk, Dr. Ken, and Insecure, as well as digital content when he co-launched The Rock’s YouTube channel as a line producer and writer.

For its three-night live presentation, Andrew co-wrote O Little Town of Bloomington, a Christmas musical that sold out the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, CA.

Before transitioning to full-time writing, he developed his craft by breaking down scripts minute-by-minute and writing over twenty pilots of his own. He created several Graphic Novels, including La Entrada, available through Amazon.

Follow him on Instagram: @dailyman

https://www.hawthorneent.com/

Mister Miracle: The Great Escape by Varian Johnson  (Illustrated by Daniel Isles) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young man eager to escape the hellscape of Apokolips must contend with his loyalty to his friends, a promise to protect someone close to his mentor, and a growing bond with one of his school’s deadliest warriors in author Varian Johnson and illustrator Daniel Isles’s “Mister Miracle: The Great Escape”, the latest graphic novel from DC Comics.

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The Synopsis

Falling in love was never part of the escape plan.

Scott Free is a student at the Goodness Academy, on the planet Apokolips, ruled by Lord Darkseid. Sounds pretty cool, right? Wrong. Scott Free wants nothing more than to leave Apokolips for planet Earth; the only problem is that no one has ever left Apokolips of their own free will…or alive.

Scott Free has a plan, a foolproof plan, a plan that his found family depends on for their own freedom. But that plan never involved falling in love with the head of the Female Furies, Big Barda-the one person tasked with ensuring he never escapes.

From the Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author of The Parker Inheritance, Varian Johnson, and afrofuturist artist Daniel Isles (DirtyRobot) comes the story of an escape plan that will take a miracle to pull off. Lucky for Scott, everyone calls him MISTER MIRACLE! Okay, fine, no one calls him that…yet.

The Review

This was such a powerful and fantastic read for both DC fans and YA fans alike. The exploration of one of DC Comics most hostile and chilling settings and the hierarchy that resides on the planet was such a refreshing change of pace, and focusing on a love story that is rarely shown in the grand scheme of things in the multiverse was amazing to watch unfold, especially in a YA setting. Apokolips proved to be the perfect fictional world to explore class systems and racism as a whole, showing that while those such as Prince Kalibak and Darkseid themselves look down upon everyone, even those that serve them have others to look down upon, and highlights the damage and hatred that kind of mindset can bring about in others.

The characters were the true heart of the narrative. Scott is the perfect YA hero here, giving readers a personal perspective of life in Granny Goodness’s orphanage, an iconic DC location in comics, and showing how he and Barda met and fell in love in a fresh and socially relevant way was amazing to read. The diversity and action balanced well with one another, and the deep-cut DC Comics characters and locations will have DC fans thrilled. 

The Verdict

A memorable, fresh, and entertaining YA and DC Comics graphic novel, author Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles’s “Mister Miracle: The Great Escape” is a must-read graphic novel and the perfect start to DC Comics’ 2022 schedule. The action, the muted tones in the art to highlight the despair that comes from a life on Apokolips, and fantastic character growth made this a brilliant read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

https://varianjohnson.com/

BRZRKR, Volume 1 (BRZRKR #1-4) by Keanu Reeves (Writer), Matt Kindt (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Ron Garney (Illustrator), Bill Crabtree (Colorist), Clem Robins (Letterer), Rafael Grampá (Cover)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An immortal man who has known nothing but war and death all of his existence seeks a means of making himself mortal, and goes on a journey to discover more of his past in author Matt Kindt and debut comic book writer and acclaimed actor Keanu Reeves’s “BRZRKR”, the first volume in the new action series from BOOM STUDIOS!

The Synopsis

Keanu Reeves makes his comic book writing debut alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt and acclaimed artist Ron Garney in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages.

A WAR WITH NO END. The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, the Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

Keanu Reeves makes his comic book writing debut alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt (FolklordsGrass Kings) and legendary artist Ron Garney (Captain AmericaThe Amazing Spider-Man) in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages.

Collects: BRZRKR #1-4. 

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The Review

What a truly entertaining and mesmerizing graphic novel. The tone that the authors captured here felt like taking the biggest deep-dives into Marvel and DC’s biggest and grittiest action thriller series and ramping it up to ten notches. The balance found between the intensity of the action sequences and the in-depth character growth was so perfect in this story, and while the artwork (which was so visceral and amazing to see) was definitely raw and intense, the violence spoke to the themes of power corrupting those who wield it and the damage it does to the people or “living weapons” that are wielded by those in power.

The characters were the true driving force behind this narrative. The protagonist, known at the beginning of this story simply as B, was such an engaging character to discover. If someone were to blend Marvel’s Wolverine with DC Comic’s Vandal Savage and inject a hint of magic and action-movie style, they would get B. The interesting character study allows readers to see the brutality that he is born into and that which he causes, and yet the trauma that comes with being used time and time again as nothing more than a weapon, speaking to whether morality and choice are something we are born with or something that must be fought for.

The Verdict

A truly immersive, hauntingly entertaining, and gripping graphic novel, author Matt Kindt and Keanu Reeves’s “BRZRKR” is a must-read story in 2021. The perfect read for those who are looking to find comics outside of the mainstream studios and find a true action experience that fuses mythology, history, and chilling looks into the nature of war as a whole, this narrative ends on an interesting cliffhanger that will continue to draw readers into this universe. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Matt Kindt is a Harvey Award-winning and NYT Best-Selling writer and artist of comics and graphic novels. His work includes MIND MGMT, BRZRKR (with Keanu Reeves), Bang!, Eniac, Revolver, 3 Story, Super Spy, 2 Sisters, and Pistolwhip. He has been nominated for four Eisner Awards and three Harvey Awards (and won once). His work has been published in French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The author lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife and Dept H. collaborator, the colorist and artist Sharlene Kindt.

Matt has been making comics all his life and has been doing it full-time as a “real” job since 2003. Seriously…he has the best job ever.

You can follow Matt below where he stays active on all social media platforms.

Keanu Reeves: Actor, Director, Writer

Snowlands: A Blood Moon (Snowlands Book One) by Morr Meroz Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Three unlikely allies come together as missing animals and the dangers of the Snowlands bring the trio to the trail of a magical being who can help bring answers to the trials facing the animals of the wilderness in author Morr Meroz’s “Snowlands: A Blood Moon”, the first in the Snowlands series.

The Synopsis

A brand-new, full-color graphic novel series for animal fantasy fans that delivers a daring adventure and a mysterious threat that has animals–prey and predator alike–disappearing.

An orphaned white wolf cub exiled from her pack.
A lone snow leopard searching for her missing cub.
A bumbling young Pallas’s cat who can’t hold a tune.

In the midst of a brutal winter in the unforgiving Snowlands the mountain sheep begin to go missing. Without their primary food source, the wolf pack faces starvation and blame falls on Feba, an orphaned wolf cub whose white fur the elders see as a bad omen.

When pack leaders vote to banish Feba, and perhaps worse, she runs off into the icy wilderness just as the other wolf cubs go missing. Lost in the treacherous mountains, Feba stumbles upon Usha, a snow leopard searching for her missing cub. While Usha wants nothing more than to continue her journey alone, she grudgingly allows Feba and a skittish young wild cat, Batu, to follow her. 

With a snowy trail full of deadly obstacles ahead, the unlikely trio sets out to find the Seeress, a magical being Usha hopes can find her missing son. Each step takes Usha, Feba, and Batu deeper into danger where they encounter other creatures–some helpful, some deceitful–and uncover a widespread peril in the mountains, the fate of the missing cubs, and what having a family truly means.

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The Review

What a truly breathtaking and beautiful graphic novel! The author and artist both found such a great harmonic balance between the harsh, cold, yet stunning visuals of the snowy mountains and the vast array of creatures, and the emotional depth of the storytelling overall. The theme of family and what truly defines family is so deeply felt in the characters and their arcs in this narrative, and the exploration of what isolation can do to us all and how others are always nearby if we allow ourselves to open up to the possibilities of not being alone just shined through the narrative perfectly.

The characters were so well done in this story. The artwork and focus on animals as main characters made this feel like it would be a story geared more towards children only, but there are some very mature and heartbreaking storylines that will appeal to older readers as well. The bonds these characters make with one another and the twist on the main opposing force behind the disappearances and deaths on this mountainside will really draw readers into this narrative wholeheartedly. 

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and entertaining winter read, author Morr Meroz’s “The Snowlands: A Blood Moon” is a must-read graphic novel of 2021. Such an incredibly moving and emotional story pairs so well with the cold yet strikingly beautiful artwork that brings this narrative to life, and readers will be eager to see what this author and creator come up with next. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy of this amazing read on December 7th, 2021!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Morr Meroz is the founder of Bloop Animation, one of the most popular animation training websites. He has written, directed, and animated three short films, including his thesis film at the School of Visual Arts, where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer arts. His screenplay for Snowlands has been produced as a graphic novel. He lives with his family in New York City.

https://www.facebook.com/thesnowlandscompany

Fly by Night by Tara O’Connor Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young girl must return to her old hometown after her twin sister goes missing, and while clues begin to point towards a supernatural entity being the culprit, a much more sinister threat looms in the shadows in author Tara O’Connor’s “Fly by Night”.

The Synopsis 

In this environmental-thriller graphic novel with a supernatural twist, Dee must find out what happened to her missing twin. An amazing mystery filled with strange creatures, high school drama, and family, this darkly illustrated book shows us that monsters are all around us.

There are monsters in the woods.

While out searching desperately for her missing sister, Dee discovers something isn’t quite right in the woods. She is soon in a battle to save the pinelands, and she is finding more questions than answers. 

As time goes on, the only thing Dee knows for sure is that there are monsters among us. But they aren’t who we should be afraid of…

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The Review

This was such a moving and entertaining read. Equal parts mythology and crime thriller, this graphic novel really did a great job of finding a natural balance between the supernatural elements of the story and the more emotional and heartbreaking realities of the disappearance of a loved one. As an avid fan and admirer of cryptozoology and cryptids overall, it was so interesting to see the author’s take on the Jersey Devil lore and to reshape it into showing the subtle nature of what “monsters” really are in this world.

The emotional character study that this graphic novel makes is so the core of the theme and narrative of this graphic novel. Dee’s struggles as she pursues answers to the disappearance of the twin sister she regrets not talking to more and delving into her struggles with her parent’s divorce, the environmental fight she takes on, and the grim reality of what happened to her sister overall, will immediately draw the reader in and what I think the author does so beautifully here is create a story that finds representation for so many different readers out there.

The Verdict

An original, engaging, and heartfelt read, author Tara O’Connor’s “Fly by Night” is a must-read graphic novel of 2021. The stark nature of the story’s narrative and the amazing artwork somehow drawing a fantastic contrast to the unknowable nature of the universe as a whole made this story shine brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tara is a cartoonist currently residing in the New Jersey wilderness. When she’s not drawing comics, she’s teaching them. She drinks way too much tea and coffee, and on any given day there’s a 90% chance that every meal she had was cereal. 

http://www.taraocomics.com/

The New 52: Futures End, Vol. 1 Review

A horrific future filled with mechanical bugs and cyborg heroes terrorizing the world lead one man to take the fight into the past in DC Comic’s very own The New 52: Futures End, Vol. 1! Created by  Brian AzzarelloJeff LemireDan JurgensKeith GiffenPatrick Zircher (Illustrator), Aaron Lopresti (Illustrator), Jesús Merino (Illustrator), the first volume shows the groundwork for this apocalyptic future where the evil program Brother Eye has decimated the DC Universe as we know it, and the fight for the future rests on the shoulders of everyone’s favorite future Batman, Terry McGinnis. Here’s the synopsis:

Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. As heroes are turned into mindless villains, the planet as we know it is no more. The only salvation lies in the past, where this future apocalypse must be averted. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse? 

Written by a cast of the industry’s best talents, including Jeff Lemire, Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens, this new epic series will expose the secrets of the New 52 universe!

Collects issues #0-17.

The artwork and story of this DC Comics event is both breathtaking and haunting all at once. The first pages hit the reader hard with a monstrous future. Seeing the likes of Wonder Woman, Constantine and other beloved heroes transformed into mechanical cyborgs programmed to kill or assimilate the heroes of the world, seeing these iconic heroes bodies torn asunder by these machines is heartbreaking to watch, and really sets the stage for this life or death fight that Batman Beyond has to make.

The trip back to the past shows a world torn apart by politics, war and conflicting ideologies. A more relevant reflection of our current society, this story shows what happens when people fear refugees that hail from the same region as known enemies, and the hardship these refugees face because of narrow minded politics. We also see the beginnings of a major conspiracy, with a new Superman who wears a mask and becomes more and more violent, a Firestorm divided amongst themselves and Frankenstein traveling into space to find the cause of a superhero team’s demise. It’s everything you want in a huge DC Comics event, exploring both the cosmic and mystical realms of the DC universe.

Overall this was a fantastic start to an intense comic book event. By the first volumes end, the true enemy will be revealed, and the fight for the future will truly begin. Can Terry stop Brother Eye from gaining power before it’s too late? Will the heroes of the DC universe be able to stop the coming threat? Find out by picking up your copies of The New 52: Future’s End today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/New-52-Futures-End-Vol-ebook/dp/B00MV1O02U/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523852018&sr=1-10&keywords=The+New+52