Monthly Archives: July 2015

Batman and Robin Volume 6 – A Review

I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Batman and RobinThis is the first time I’ve read this title and actually enjoyed it. Maybe it’s because Damian is only seen as a corpse, which means he’s silent. I think a big part of it is that I’ve always liked globe-trotting Batman tales, and I like the guest stars we have in this volume. What comes across as a pleasant surprise, though it shouldn’t, is that Batman isn’t a jerk to everyone he meets. Sure, he’s his normal Batman-self when it comes to people telling him what to do, but he almost seems cordial when talking to Aquaman or Frankenstein. The latter is just fun to see any day.

Ra’s is up to his old tricks again, which is fine, but I wish he would go back to doing some big villain plotting again and give us a break from the Lazarus Pits for a while. Batman is out to find the bodies of his son, Damian and his ex-girlfriend/villain Talia. He’s focused, as he is wont to be, but it’s not a focused that makes him insufferable. He’s downright relatable.

The final issue, with Batman sneaking into the Justice League Watchtower and going to a big, bad place is fun and it was nice to see him to so without coming across better than all heroes on Earth. For once, while reading this book, I want the next volume. And maybe I’ll go back to the books I skipped. Am I just a sucker for fun art? Maybe, but I think Peter Tomasi actually has stepped up his game.

Gotham Academy Volume 1 – A Review

I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Gotham Academy I’m all over the place with this book. It’s fun, moody and has a much-needed playful tone that Gotham City lacks. On the other hand, there seems like some missed opportunities and undefined character work.

Olive Silverlock is the best part of this book because she legitimately comes across as a worldly teen. She has a great design, a cool back story and I’d like to follow her story more. I hope DC doesn’t screw this up and make her into a Justice League sidekick that gets killed someday.

Gotham Academy is an interesting place. Looking right at home in Gotham city, it feels old and not the best place for kids to be sleeping. It almost comes across as a refurbished Arkham Asylum. Sure, it’s a prep school, but it’s extra creepy when we get inside the walls.

The story itself is akin to Harry Potter and might just appeal to the same crowd. Powers aren’t really on display here, but you get some weirdness anyway. There’s a few other characters, plus Gotham’s own Batman, that are likable, but not all the characters shine. Olive’s ex-boyfriend comes across as empty and more of a plot device than a person, and the faculty are missed opportunities.

Not the Ridller

Not the Ridller

Which is where my gripes come into play. Sure, we should have new characters and histories, but I wanted some Bat-related elements. When I read the first page, I thought the headmaster was Ra’s al Ghul and then I was swiftly corrected. But it keeps happening! The librarian looks like the Riddler but he isn’t and all I could think was wouldn’t it be cool if this was some sort of school where the Riddler was your librarian, where the Scarecrow is the school counselor and where wood shop is taught by the Ventriloquist. Obviously, it would be a completely different book, but I think it would have done it for me.

Either way, this is an interesting new title for the DC universe and it’s especially welcomed in Gotham City. We already added it to the library’s collection and I’ll be interested to see how well it does with our patrons, teens especially.

The Divine – A Review

The DivineI received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Divine is a weird book. At first, it seems like it’s going to be a book about war, children soldiers and doing things we don’t want to do even though we can’t see any other way. Simple right?

This comic is hard to review without giving some twist away so I’ll just say things get… strange. It’s one of those stories that plays it straight for the most part that when things to start getting out of hand, I had to wonder if what I was seeing was real.

I’m not sure what the message was, but I’m sure there was one. Was it about invading countries we don’t know anything about? Maybe. Is it about child soldiers and how dangerous their youthful ignorance can be? Probably. It might be about parents being unable to protect their sons and daughters from everything the world has to offer, I’m not sure.

The art is nice and colorful, but can get ugly when it needs to, when it wants us to be a bit put off. I’m not sure it’s a classic, but it’s different and you won’t feel like you wasted your time with this book. What Boaz Lavie was going for, I can’t say, but he want for it.

Thirteen Days of Midnight – A Review

I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thirteen Days of MidnightMy biggest regret with this book is that I read it in July, when the sun was out and it was eighty degrees in the evening. This is the kind of book I would want to read in October, when the air is crisp and the leaves are dead and I go walking in the evening with my dog, passing the cemetery with some bizarre anticipation. It’s a Halloween book, set at Halloween and it’s great for Halloween.

Luke’s like goes from normal to haunted quickly. He finds out his dad is dead, he’s inherited a host of spirits and they’re not happy. It might be cool if you found out that you have a bunch of ghosts who will follow your orders, it would be less cool if they were out to add you to their ranks.

This book is aimed at young adults, and you can tell in the way the story flows, but it surprised me by how dark it went. Maybe I haven’t read enough teen literature yet, but I can’t imagine a lot of them have the literal devil, blood sacrifices and necromancer wars. There’s some interested world building, which is mainly near the end, but it feels slightly out of place with the rest of the book.

Thirteen Days of MidnightLuke’s a likable character, starting as a popular jock at school with a decent understanding of how and why cliques work. Once he inherits the ghosts, he finds that there’s more help to be had with the weirder kids. Elza, a girl at school who can see those in the world beyond, is a great partner who just doesn’t give a crap about social cues. She would be right at home in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics.

The ghost themselves are alright, but we never really get to know them. There’s the big bad, the monster and the one who’s getting to old for this, but they’re not really fleshed out as characters. There’s eight of them, but it might have been better to have a few less and make them more memorable.

I liked the book and Leo Hunt has a way with words when it comes to the netherworld and Hell and he does a few run-off paragraphs that hit hard. I’ve already ordered the book for my library and would get the sequel, if it happens. It’s dark, unique in it’s British-setting and a fast-paced page turner. It’s not perfect, but it’s doing a lot and building some interesting ideas for it’s world. Recommended.