While I was in a bit of a reading slump last month, I turned to a lot of comics. One of my goals this year was to read more graphic novels, and with my 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited, I finally got to branch out a little bit.
I read most of these on the Kindle app on my phone since my Paperwhite is in black & white. I was pretty nervous about reading graphic novels on my phone, but the interface makes it really great! If you have a tablet, it would be perfect. You can double-tap each panel to isolate them one at a time, then it moves to the next panel seamlessly with a touch or swipe.
Darth Vader, Vol 1: Vader // Kieron Gillen (writer), Salvador Larroca (illustrator)
This is my first read of anything Star Wars! After getting into the Clone Wars animated series this summer, I’ve been really interested in learning more about the universe beyond what is in the movies. (That is, stuff that is still considered canon.)
Short Synopsis: Darth Vader searches for the force-sensitive pilot that destroyed the Death Star and discovers his name is Skywalker.
Format: ebook (Kindle app)
Overall Feeling: meh.
I really enjoyed the artwork in this. I liked the layout and arrangement of panels, and I liked the illustrations. And while the concept is intriguing (Darth Vader already knows Skywalker’s name by Ep. V, but we never see him uncover that information in the films), there just wasn’t enough substance there to hold my attention, and I definitely don’t think there’s enough substance there for multiple volumes. I’ll be skipping the others in this series.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Lumberjanes, Vols. 1 & 2 // Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen (illustrator)
I’ve been wanting to read this series for a long time, ever since I heard Kristina Horner go on about them on her Youtube channel. When I saw that Vol. 1 was available during my accidental KindleUnlimited subscription, I jumped on it, then I ended up requesting Vol. 2 through the university’s inter-library loan. (Vols. 3 & 4 are on the way!)
Short Synopsis: Five girls at a summer camp go through supernatural adventures while earning their Lumberjane badges.
Format: ebook (Kindle app) for Vol 1., paperback (from library) for Vol. 2
Overall Feeling: squeaks of joy.
I was a little so-so on Vol. 1. I like the story, even the paranormal elements, and I loved the characters and humor. But I was surprised to find that Noelle Stevenson is only one of many creators on this project. I thought it was all her, like Nimona. She illustrates the covers, so I assumed she would also be doing the artwork, but she doesn’t. The artwork in Vol. 1 is pretty messy, and in Vol. 2 (and I think maybe all of them?), it randomly jumps between different illustrators, even within the same issue. It’s really disorienting, especially since every artist has her own style.
That said, I really enjoyed these first two volumes and look forward to seeing more. It’s definitely aimed at a younger audience than I expected, but I still really enjoyed it. It’s a perfect lighthearted summer read.
Rating: 4/5 stars (for both, but I did like Vol. 2 more)
Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal // Willow G. Wilson (writer), Adrian Alphona
, Jacob Wyatt
I’ve seen a lot of people like this, so I picked it up. Keep in mind that this is my very first superhero comic. I’ve never read anything else Marvel (or DC, for that matter), and I really didn’t know anything about Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel.
Short Synopsis: Muslim-American teenager gains shapeshifting powers and becomes the next incarnation of Ms. Marvel.
Format: ebook (Kindle app)
Overall Feeling: not bad.
I didn’t dislike this, and I really loved that the main character is Muslim-American. It was such a breath of fresh air. (Although it was not a subtle plot point. Most of the story focuses on Kamala juggling her family’s expectations with her new abilities. While I liked that for this volume, I hope that future volumes branch out a little.) Kamala was very endearing. I really loved her as a character. I wasn’t super in to the actual conflict and plot, though. I might pick up Vol. 2 if I can find it in the library. I’ve already gotten a couple recommendations to continue with this series. 🙂
Rating: 3/5 stars
Saga, Vol. 6 // Fiona Staples (artist) and Brian K. Vaughan (writer)
I waited forever to read this after reading Vol. 5, but I think it miiiiight be my favorite one so far? I think I’m finally in the zone with this series. It took some warming up to, but I’m all-in now.
Short Synopsis: Star-crossed lovers from warring planets must fight to protect their daughter.
Format: paperback (library copy)
Overall Feeling: Perfect satisfaction.
This is not the last book in this series, but it is kind of the close of the first arc. Vol. 7 will begin a new story arc. And I felt that this did a good job at both offering closure but also making you crave the next volume.
I didn’t realize how great the writing is in this graphic novel until I started reading other comic books. Everything here is done so meticulously and methodologically. The characters are extremely well-crafted. You care for (almost) everyone, which means that when they fight each other, you’re just in turmoil. You know there’s no way that your feels can come out unscathed.
My only complaint is the subplot with two journalists, Upsher and Doff, was kind of boring and I’m not sure where it’s going. But that’s my only complaint. Everything else is great: great pacing, writing, artwork, details.
Also, I think this was the first book in 2017 that made me cry. I can’t wait until I have my hands on Vol. 7 (still on hold at the library).
Rating: 4/5 stars
And be sure to tell me your favorite comic/graphic novel!