Comic Review: Seconds

Everyone wants a do-over at some point in their lives. We’ve all had decisions we’ve made that we regret and want a second chance.

Seconds is one of those times where we get a peek at someone’s do-over, or rather do-overs. Bryan Lee O’Malley, famous for the Scott Pilgrim series, writes this unique take on one chef’s do-overs through the power of magical mushrooms from her dresser drawer.

Yup. Mushrooms.

75cd77559a8ce52d0211db98c0ddaae5Katie is a young, talented chef whose life spirals out of her control. All she wants is a second chance, and these mushrooms are going to give it to her. Suddenly her life is perfect.That’s where the story starts to get even wilder than it already is.

O’Malley’s characters are fun, and the world is immersive. I’ve always loved his art style because it is expressive and detailed. It was easy to disappear into this world he created and I wanted to befriend the characters.

Nathan Fairbairn’s colors for this book are fantastic and make O’Malley’s world come alive.

Reading Katie’s story made me wonder if I ever wanted a second chance with any of my decisions. What are the rules with second chances? The rules are where Seconds shines, and that’s an area that is often unexplored when it comes to plots like this.

O’Malley’s unique take on second chances with Seconds makes this well worth the read. If you’re looking for a fun graphic novel, I recommend this without any hesitation.

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Comic Review: We Can Never Go Home

I picked this up because of the cover. Anything with a cassette tape on the front to remind me of the days when that’s how I collected and listened to music will attract me. Plus, one of the vendors at Boston Comic-Con recommended it. So why not take a chance?

We Can Never Go Home by Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Klindon, and Josh  Hood is quite the ride. Combine two teenagers, a stolen car, a mixtape, superpowers, and drugs, and you have We Can Never Go Home.

2I don’t want to give too much away.

Think of it like a dangerous road trip comic. And if you ever wanted to take a wild adventure from a small town in 1989, here’s a great way to do it. This comic covers so many genres, and music is an important aspect.

At the end of every chapter, there’s a playlist that is well worth listening to.

I enjoyed the story. It’s dark and kept me hooked from the beginning. I wanted to know how all of these details crossed and where the road trip would end up next.

The art and colors are awesome. Josh Hood did a great job capturing the script and setting the mood. All of the action is easy to follow but still, makes it feel chaotic. There are moments when the emotion-charged in the scene punches you in the gut.

I’d definitely recommend this to everyone that is following the resurgence of the 80s in pop culture right now. If you like Stranger Things, superpowers, and dangerous road trips, you should pick this up and give it a read.

Walden & Senior Year

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”  – Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

I hated reading Walden for my senior American Lit Seminar class.

Some of that might be because I kept falling asleep while reading the selected chapters . And others is because if I were an editor, there were a lot of sections I would have entirely cut for how useless they seemed. But I’m also wondering if I didn’t read the right sections at the right time, or because I was reading it for school my amount of analysis of the book was purely academic.

While writing my final essay for that class, I had to connect three or four of the novels together under one theme. For whatever reason I picked Walden, a strange decision given my strong feelings about the book. As I flipped through it looking for the quotes I needed, I found the quote I used at the start of the post.

I reread it several times and highlighted it.

My high school classmates are married, and some with children. I’m finishing up the Fall semester of my senior year of college. As I write this I’m procrastinating on a ten-page paper (my last final), and completing four more grad school app essays.

Life has taken me in many different directions, all off the beaten path. And I don’t regret it. The drum beat of my life has driven me to pursue my passion and given me opportunities I only dreamed of in high school.

For what its worth, keeping pace with others is a lose-lose situation. You’ll feel like you’re always behind, and that life is unfair. And that can damage your relationships with others because you might feel jaded. Comparing myself to my friends was more detrimental than it was encouraging.

Figuring out what I needed to be happy was all it took for me to be more complacent with what I have and what I’m doing. Listening to the rhythm of my own path was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

Comic Review: Fun Home

This semester my school offered a Young Adult Literature class. And I had the joy of making it into the course with one of my favorite teachers and several of my good friends.

Our third book of the semester was Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Surprisingly, I had not read this book up yet (I don’t think it was on my summer list either). I know, I know. My gay self should void my queer card because its taken so long for me to read the number one book on the LGBTQ+ required reading list. Woops. At least that’s fixed now?

51ocqhn1kol-_sx332_bo1204203200_Without further adieu, let’s talk about Fun Home.

Fun Home is a memoir by Alison Bechdel in which Alison writes about her childhood, her family, and her journey of identity and self.

This graphic novel has so much depth. With literary and cross-discipline references, it can be a daunting read. But I promise you those references truly open up the book.

Upon my first read, I made notes as I went, of places where I wanted to go back. And now that I’m going through again, I am in awe of Bechdel’s writing. There’s hidden details in the references, in the details about her father, the vocabulary, and things I did not put together the first time.

The parallels, the crosses, the convergence and divergence. When people joke that “graphic novels aren’t literature,” I want to point them at this book.

The single-volume memoir’s frames are engaging, and lend much to the story. Without them I don’t think the prose could stand alone nearly as well. And I think that’s what makes Fun Home work so well in this form.

Bechdel planned this graphic novel with such precision that the larger picture of woven memories, family details, and conclusions, wrapped in literary and philosophical references creates an impressive work that lends a voice to the deceased, Bruce Bechdel. All of these details allow for the reader to draw their own conclusions while also growing with Alison, and feeling her emotions grip you right through the page.

I would recommend Fun Home to anyone that wants to experience another memoir in such a unique format. Don’t be afraid to highlight or mark spots where you might not understand. I promise it’s worth it. However, if you’re not in the mood to do that much research, stay tuned to my blog and my YouTube channel. I’m working on some scripts and videos that will cover not only my thoughts on Fun Home, but also will explain the references more in-depth.

What were your thoughts on Fun Home? Did you think the graphic novel was too literary? Would you be interested in learning more about the depths of the novel? Want more information about the cross-discipline references? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comic Review: Operation: S.I.N. – Agent Carter

Agent Peggy Carter is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. She’s a smart, formidable opponent that shouldn’t be messed with.

Her television show on ABC, Marvel’s Agent Carter showed us more about her than her movie short, or her important role in Captain America: The First Avenger. Hayley Atwell has done a phenomenal job in her role as our favorite S.S.R. Agent and S.H.I.E.L.D. Director.

Operation: S.I.N. – Agent Carter takes place in 1952 when Peggy and Howard head to Russia to figure out what a mysterious energy source is.

agentcart2015001-int3-1-18272This comic starts out with quite the bang. That’s all I want to say without giving away anymore of the story.

What I love most about this comic is another glimpse at Agent Carter and her missions. She’s not just the future Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but also a field agent. And her field agent skills mean she won’t leave anyone on her team behind, even if she knows they aren’t completely on her team.

This comic i could be better tied to the television shows and movies. Hydra showed up again like it was some great mystery, when Peggy would have known who they were. And same with Howard. So that aspect was a little thin. It felt as though the writers didn’t pay attention to anything that happened in Captain America: The First Avenger.

I’d recommend this to anyone that just wants a quick read about Peggy and Howard off in Russia on another grand adventure. If you can ignore some glaring plot holes, snag this for a low cost comic to read another adventure that includes our favorite SSR Agent and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Comic Review: She-Hulk

Jennifer Walters isn’t your average lawyer. She’s also She-Hulk, thanks to a life-saving blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner.

Now she has to balance her superhero life with representing her clients in court. And racking up more enemies than just those she beats before a judge.

In She-Hulk vol. 1: Law and Order we meet Jen at a point in her life when she feels like she’s on top of it all, and about to get a promotion. Except she doesn’t. And suddenly she finds herself quitting to start her own law office.

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Credit: Charles Soule (writer), Javier Pulido (illustrator) and Ron Wimbley (illustrator) for She-Hulk.

I didn’t know very much about Jen Walters, so this was a great comic to start off. Her leadership skills in various super teams are covered, so you get a sense of her background. You get to see her personality shine through, and that if you were ever in a legal bind, she’s the woman you’d want fighting for you.

Of the cases you do see Jen work on, she also brings up what she calls the “Blue File.” Its a case she doesn’t remember being served for, but has record of. She and a mix of heroes and villains are being prosecuted on the case. Jen can’t remember the incident, and neither can anyone else on the defense. I won’t go into any more details, but let’s just say that file needs to stay in the back of a locked file cabinet forever.

There’s a few cameos by Patsy Walker (aka Hellcat), and Jen takes a brief jaunt to visit her dear lawyer friend and Defender, Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil).

Charles Soule crafts a great story that doesn’t require all the background knowledge, making this a great comic to start with in order to get acquainted with Jen Walters.

I love Kevin Wada’s cover art, and some of the pages in between issues in volume one. They’re beautifully done, and I wish all of the art had been done in that style. But I can also understand that style would have its limitations.

Javier Pulido and Ron Wimberly both did art for the comic. The style of their art suits the comic. My only thought is that sometimes the art seems more angular than other points in the comic, which was important for several reasons I can’t reveal. So it looks like you’ll have to read it to find out.

I can definitely recommend She-Hulk vol. 1: Law and Order. This is a great introductory comic to Jennifer Walters and her fight as a lawyer and superhero. I can’t wait to continue this series and find out more about the blue file, and the other clients or cases she takes.

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Credit: Ken Wada for She-Hulk

 

Comic Review: The Wicked + The Divine

The Wicked + The Divine has been out for quite a while (and by that I mean since 2014). There’s already four trade volumes, so this review is belated.

A dark fantasy comic, The Wicked + The Divine follows a teenager named Laura who interacts with 12 deities who are reincarnated on Earth.

This reincarnation of the deities, called the Recurrence, happens every 90 years. Those that are reincarnated get superpowers and fame. Some are loved, some are hated. They will all die within two years. These 12 are known as “The Pantheon.” All of the Gods continue on as if time hasn’t passed since the last time they were reincarnated.

So what does this mean for the comic?

awicked-2Well, there’s a lot going on. Laura is immediately thrown into the politics of The Pantheon, and she’s scrambling around with a journalist, Cassandra, to figure it all out.

Writer, Kieron Gillen, was inspired when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The themes of life and death are evident in the first volume. Its easy to feel the beat of life when Laura is at an Amaterasu (one of the deities) concert. And within the first volume, to feel that rhythm be snuffed out in death.

The comic is beautifully drawn by Jamie McKelvie. All of the contrasting colors help with the themes and create an atmosphere that is easy to get lost in.

Gillen continues to toy with one main point: immortality doesn’t mean you’ll live forever.

Its poignant and sometimes forgotten when a story deals with a God or Gods. Immortality can mean living forever in terms of actually existing. However, it can also mean the fame, and notoriety will be around forever.

Lucifer (prefers Luci) is a character to easily cling to. She’s a spitfire (almost literally) that is a big fan of being rebellious, and attention. In her private moments with Laura, you can tell that in Luci knowing she’s on some path toward death is both exciting and sad.

The Pantheon are on a much shorter path than the average person. They are existing just to die in a much shorter span than many of us expect for our lives. Then again, we’re all existing just to die eventually.

If you haven’t picked up The Wicked + The Divine vol. 1, you definitely should. Its worth the read for the Big Questions it poses that can spark conversation and thought for more than just philosophers or sleepless college students in the waning hours of the morning.

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One of my favorite scenes with Luci.