Category Archives: Graphic Novel

Wild Card by Jim Butcher

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels. Today we’re reviewing the fifth original story in the Dresden files graphic novels, Wild Card. Dresden is back! It’s a quick adventure and makes me want more new books to come out or to re-read old ones! I will take what I can get and this only slightly disappoints!

wild-cardTitleWild Card, Book 9.2
AuthorJim Butcher
SeriesJim Butcher’s Dresden Files
Publish Date: October 26, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files saga continues in this original and in-continuity graphic novel, featuring a never-before-told story set after the bestselling novel White Night and graphic novel Down Town! A bizarre double murder draws the interest of Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire. But as Harry Dresden begins his investigation, the clues lead to troubling conclusions about the possible perpetrator, and set him on a path that will place him in the middle of a conflict between the city’s three most powerful factions—a conflict that could engulf all of Chicago!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

I seriously could not read this fast enough. I love the adventures of Harry Dresden, and anything new is like an oasis in the long desert between book releases. The art is top notch and gives us a great take on the characters from the book. The bad guy is fun and works well as an agent of chaos. He’s out to amuse himself and doesn’t care what mortals get hurt in that pursuit. The fact that he could end the peace in Chicago of the main powers only heightens the bad guys fun! Of course, Harry can’t stand for that and works with Molly, Murphy, Butters, Thomas, and even Lara and Gentleman Johnny Marcone to rid his city of the menace.

badge4v5In the end, though, as much as I enjoyed it, I can only give the book a four. Maybe it was a four and a half but it is rounded down. The ending let me down. It fit the villain well, and I can see him being fine with putting everything online to the roll of the dice, but it misses the mark for me with Harry. I wanted to see that he had an edge, a trick, or something that pushed the odds into his favor because there was too much at stake to leave it up to as much chance as he did. I’m sure I will read it again and again, as I do with the rest of Dresden, but the ending will remain the weak point for me.

Our reviews in this series…


Rivers of London, Vol. 2: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels. Night Witch is the second original story in graphic novel format in the Rivers of London/PC Peter Grant series. It takes place before both the upcoming third graphic novel, Black Mould, and before the sixth full novel, The Hanging Tree.

night-witchTitleNight Witch
AuthorBen Aaronovitch
SeriesRivers of London, Vol 2/Book 5.1
Publish Date: December 13, 2016, Titan
Genre: Urban Fantasy graphic novel
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt his missing daughter, PC Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London’s only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis: The Faceless Man. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems! An all-new story that takes place before the new Rivers of London novel – The Hanging Tree!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

The second graphic novel sends Peter and Nightingale on the hunt for a child kidnapper, but they also end up tangling with Leslie May and the Faceless Man.

I liked this story, but I will caution that it’s not as good an introduction to the series a Body Work. There is a lot going on in Night Witch that isn’t fully explained, so you’ll want to read this in order with the novels. It took me rereading a few sections to get the story straight at times.

I really appreciate the way the art ensures that Toby, the terrier from book one, is part of the story. He doesn’t have a role to play in this story as he did in Midnight Riot, but he’s always included in the story. There is also a hilarious bit with Beverly Brook in this novel that is priceless.

badge4v5Once again, the trade contains several one-page shorts at the end of the book. They are just as cute and clever a those in Body Work and are probably my favorite part of these trades.

If you are a fan of the series, I certainly recommend picking up this graphic novel.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka, the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey, or the Asylum Tales series by Jocelynn Drake.

Cemetery Girl: Inheritance by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

For the second book in Charlaine Harris’s and Christopher Golden’s Cemetery Girl series, I paired the audio from with the graphic novel itself for a unique experience.

Inheritance novelTitleInheritance (graphic novel, audio)
AuthorCharlaine Harris, Christopher Golden
Series: Cemetery Girl Book 02
Publish Date: Oct 6, 2015, Jan 11, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Paranormal Mystery
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionShe calls herself Calexa Rose Dunhill. She has been living—hiding out—in Dunhill Cemetery ever since someone left her there to die. She has no idea who wants her dead or why, but she isn’t about to wait around for her would-be killer to finish the job.

Despite her self-imposed isolation, Calexa’s ability to see spirits—and the memories she receives from them—guarantees she’ll never be alone, even among the deceased. The only living people she allows herself to interact with are Kelner, the cemetery’s cantankerous caretaker, and Lucinda Cameron, an elderly woman who lives in an old Victorian house across the street. With their friendship, Calexa has regained a link to the world beyond tombstones and mausoleums.

Until the night she witnesses a murder that shatters her life—a life now under a police microscope—as their investigation threatens to uncover Calexa’s true identity…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I had such a great time listening to the first graphic novel in this series that I decided, for the second, I’d both listen to it AND view the graphic novel at the same time. I thought it would be interesting to see the images and hear the story at the same time.

InheritanceI wasn’t wrong. It was fun to see what visual cues the folks used when creating sound effects or extra dialog for the audio.  Since this is essentially a short story, there is no need to abridge the book, so all parts of the story are included.

The story itself moves Calexa a bit closer to having to face the past that landed her in the cemetery with no memory of her former life.  A third confidant is added to Calexa’s small circle of “friends.” And another layer of mystery is added to the story—someone seems to be searching for Calexa. But is it someone from her family, or the person that tried to kill her?

badge4v4I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for Book 3 in this series, in both formats, I really like the idea of making graphic novels into audios.  I’ll never be a huge fan of the graphic novel format because it just isn’t meaty enough for me, but I’m really enjoying the audio version of these books.

Night of the Living Dead Vol. 1: Sins of the Father

A new graphic novel takes us back to one of the original zombie movies, reimagined for a new audience.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

night-of-the-living-deadTitle: Night of the Living Dead, Vol 1: The Sins of the Father
AuthorJean-Luc Istin ; Illustrations by Elia Bonetti
SeriesLa nuit des morts-vivants #1
Publish Date: September 7, 2016, Firefly Books
Genre: Graphic Novel Horror
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’s Halloween. Lizbeth leaves her husband and two children to accompany her brother Leland, the favorite son, to visit the grave of their adoptive parents. But no sooner do they arrive at the cemetery than they are attacked by a group of living dead! After a terrifying chase, Lizbeth and Leland find refuge in a squalid hotel that will prove to be the only defense against a horde of zombies hungry for fresh meat. They are safe, for now. But the real danger is right outside the hotel walls and the invasion is widespread. Several cities are already devastated.

The survivors discover that the hotel manager is holed up in his room, ready to shoot the first person (or thing) that comes too close. As night begins to fall, they discover another problem. There is no electricity. Lizbeth has no choice. She decides that someone has to turn on the emergency power system. But she will have to pass through an area infested with zombies. Will Lizbeth survive? Will she be reunited with her husband and children?

The cult film Night of the Living Dead created the modern zombie myth. “Night of the Living Dead Volume 1: Sins of the Father” is the first of three volumes that retell the classic story for modern readers and fans of graphic novels. Istin’s tight text and Bonetti’s skilled art bring the terror and horrid fear to life and the convey the psychology of the characters. Together they resurrect the zombie story for a new generation.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

What I didn’t like: I’m coming at this graphic novel with no knowledge of the original film.  It’s possible that the writer assumed knowledge of that work.  That would make more sense because several things stuck out and didn’t work for me.

I find it tough when characters survive things like a helicopter crash.  I also didn’t like it that two characters didn’t realize something was happening when the artwork on the pages make it seem as if the zombies have already started, yet they still go on their retreat?    They do try and give explanations to why they haven’t realized what happened but they fall flat to me and don’t work.

I admit that, since this is a hard cover book, I was expecting something more like a comic book trade or compendium, where several issues are combined into one longer story.  However, this is more like a single issue, making the story very short.

What I like: That said, what it does have, it does well.  Two people stranded and having to fight past the hordes of zombies.  The parent trying to keep his kids safe.  And the general mayhem caused by zombies.  We get enough of the background to frame it before focusing on the events at hand.

badge3v4There is not one big thing that is disappointing about this book.  What I found was a lot of little things that added up, such that there isn’t any big pull to get me back for the next volume.  It was a fun, quick read but needed a bit more depth or maybe even distance from the original source material so that it stands up against the zombie stories we have today. I give this a three.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Night of the Living Dead was one of the first horror movies my mother ever gave me. So when this graphic novel came through our inbox, I jumped at the chance to review it! I was pleased to see beautiful illustrations that also have a touch of horror. I was also thrilled that it somewhat resembles Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

badge2v4But, I was disappointed in the flow of the story. It was often jerky and switched rapidly from present times to the repressed memories of Lizbeth. It ended so abruptly that readers just barely touch the surface of the sins of Lizbeth’s father. Granted, more will be revealed in the following books, but it was missing something.

I would have liked to rate this a little higher but since the story was lacking, I give it 2 blood spurts.

If you like this book…

…you might try The Walking Dead (graphic novels) by Robert Kirkman, World War Z by Max Brooks, or The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Interconnectedness of All Kings

Dirk GentlyTitle: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Interconnectedness of All Kings
Author: Chris Ryall, Tony Akins (Illustrations), Ilias Kyriazis (Illustrations)
Series: stand alone
Publish Date:  January 26, 2016
Genre:  Paranormal Mystery, Humor, Graphic Novel
Source: From where you got the book

Publisher’s Description: After writing all the many and conflicting versions of the legendary “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” beloved author Douglas Adams created Dirk Gently: a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a unique relationship with the laws of probability and physics, and a love of cats and pizza.

In his first-ever comic series, Dirk has been forced to leave his beloved England behind, coming to the too-sunny, too-cheery, and altogether too-bizarre-even-for-Dirk city of San Diego, California, where he gets embroiled in three separate (or are they?) cases involving reincarnated Egyptians, golden cell phones, and copycat killers. All this in a new town seemingly incapable of making even a single proper cup of tea.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I Didn’t Like: It has been two decades since I read the first Dirk Gently novels and as these stories do rely on them, I don’t think we were given enough background on several of the characters. I think having a summary of events up to now, or character dossiers would have helped jog my memory on a few things because several characters from the books are here. It’s obvious they had a story and I think reminding those who read it who they are, as well as enticing those who hadn’t read it to go find them and read them, would have served the story well.

One of the things Dirk does so well is make up stuff, based on his theory of the interconnectedness of all things. It’s not a love it or hate it, though, but taking each one at a time, rolling them around in my head, and deciding on its own merit if I like it or not. A few didn’t work for me, even though they were no different than any of the others.

Things I Liked: I really like Dirk and the whole gang. I even like the bad guys for the bad guys that they are. As much as Interconnectedness can grate, it was well done and came together nicely in the end, to a very satisfying conclusion.

There are also a lot of fun references to other things Adams wrote, and I’m sure I didn’t catch them all! It was fun to catch the pop culture references here and there but I never got a sense of the author “winking” at us at his cleverness, just that he worked them into the story well.

badge3v4My rating this time doesn’t reflect something that wasn’t done well but rather something that didn’t leave me longing for more. I think there are more graphic novels on the way but if this had been it, I would have been fine with that. Having a theory about interconnectedness, though, really made me think that there would be a much bigger, overarching plot across the graphic novels, and while that might still happen, I didn’t see the start of it here.