What I Read in January ’17

Hello, it’s me again. and today we’re going to talk about everything I read during January. (Well the graphic novels at least.) Actually I’m going to talk about them and you can choose to read or not, entirely up to you.

Oh since I’m reviewing multiple titles at the moment doesn’t mean you’re entitled to multiple spoiler alerts. This is your one and only spoiler alert. Consider yourself warned that the following reviews may or may not contain spoilers.

Lucifer Vol. 1: Cold Heaven: First off, let me say that I’m a huge fan of the original run and was chomping at the bit to read the new series. (I even contemplated adding it to my monthly pull list, but ultimately decided against it.) The story occurs after the events of the original run where Lucifer and his Father step outside of creation. Leaving Creation in the hands of a dead child turned deity. Lucifer is back, because someone/something attacked Lucifer and may have killed God. The story basically follows Lucifer and Gabriel playing good cop/bad cop while tracking down who could’ve done it. A bunch of old faces show up, with little in the way of explanation for new readers. So beware, it says volume 1, but it’s not a great place for new readers to jump on. So, I’ve given this a 3/5 mainly for nostalgia’s sake.

Constantine Volume 1: The Spark and the Flame: Okay, so this starts off John Constantine as part of the new 52 DCU. The story finds Constantine playing occult Indiana Jones, traveling around the world trying to locate pieces of a magical compass that will point the way to some really nasty mojo. Along the way he deals with demons, other mages, sacrifices friends and almost dies a.k.a. what Constantine calls “Tuesday.” I really wanted to like this one. I really did. I love Hellblazer. I loved the TV show. (The fact that it was canceled still upsets me.) But this book felt more like John Constantine’s kid brother trying on his coat and playing dress up as the Hellblazer. I mean it’s not horrible, it’s just not Hellblazer. It’s like trying to remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a PG movie. The artwork is great, and even the story isn’t bad. But the soul just isn’t there. Maybe it’ll get better in the next volume. I give it 3/5.

Peter Panzerfaust Vol. 1: The Great Escape:

One of this January’s book club picks. (For those interested, *Start of shameless plug here* That would be the Inland Empire Comic Book Club hosted by Forbidden Panel. February’s selections are Hellblazer Vol 1: Original Sins, Southern Bastards Vol. 1: Here was a Man, and The Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy. So if you’re in the area feel free to join us and and geek out on our ramblings. Information can be found here.  *End of shameless plug*) I loved this one. The art is amazing. It feels like a great after school cartoon, a la Disney’s Gargoyles, but meant for adults. Great characters, amazing action, and a timeless story retold with different trappings. Peter Pan and company are orphans in WWII France. Epic stuff. Peter and the boys survive German occupation and fight their way to the sanctuary of Paris in the hopes of outrunning the invading German army.  I seriously can’t wait to read more. 5/5

Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird:

I read this mainly because I love Chris Bachelo’s artwork and Jason Aaron made me a fan with Scalped. Somehow I just wasn’t feeling this one. Maybe I’ll go back to it and read the next volume. Maybe I won’t. This just felt chaotic and distracted, much like the good Doctor is throughout the book. The story revolves around an unknown threat killing the Sorcerer Supremes throughout the multiverse and draining the magic from the worlds they’re sworn to protect. Strange is also dealing with personal issues stemming from not “paying the cost” of using magic all the damn time. It just felt like too much work for too little payoff.  3/5

I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After: Gertrude is a grown woman trapped in the body of a 6 year old. She’s been stuck in Fairyland for far too long, trying to complete a quest that should only have taken her a day or so to complete. At this point she’s measuring time in decades. Now she’s pissed and prone to outbursts of rage. Lots of slapstick violence and fairytales. 5/5

InSEXts Vol. 1: Chrysalis: Lesbian were-insects in Victorian England. Featuring appearances by werewolves, abusive husband, obligatory sex scenes, a brothel ran by another monster and a suspicious sister-in-law. Do you really need more of a review than “This book contains Sex, Monsters and Violence?” Okay there’s also stuff about family and loyalty and class warfare and women’s empowerment. Seriously just go check it out if you want a something a little strange and off the beaten path. 4/5 for originality and execution.

Ghost Rider: The Hammer Lane:

So if you know me, you know I love Ghost Rider. (see previous post here.)  This book was hard for me to read. The art was alternating between awesome and cringe-worthy. The proportions on some of the characters, including Ghost Rider, had some “interesting” design choices, and just had me scratching my head. The story is fairly standard. Blaze thinks he’s done with Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider says otherwise. Insert carnage. Plot twist. Blaze hires a guy to kill Ghost Rider. dun dun dunnn…. Overall the story was underwhelming. 2/5

Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here was a Man: This is one of the book club picks for February and Jason Aaron’s redemption in the face of the Doctor Strange book I also read. A guy returns to his hometown after many years away to clear out his father’s house. His old man used to be a hardass sheriff in these parts. He’s noticing that things are the way they should be. People are afraid. The cops aren’t doing their jobs and people are getting beat down and winding up dead. So this guy decides to take matters into his own hands. Starring a bunch of good ole boys and a can of ass whoopin’. 5/5

Revival Vol 1: You’re Among Friends:

Grim, Dark, Interesting. These are words that come to mind for this book. Dead bodies suddenly coming back to life is big news, with their personalities intact. Of course there’s nothing to be worried about. None of the “Revivals” have displayed any aborrent behavior. Yet.  But weirder is that it seems it’s a localized event. And what’s with the weird ghost/demon thing that seems to be looking for something? I will definitely be reading more. 4/5

Sunstone Volume 5: I love this book. I can’t wait for the follow up series. Seriously. If you like good, well written, realistic characters and relationships, read this book. You might even learn a thing or two about kink and BDSM in the process. This is the final volume in this particular arc. And since it’s against my better judgement to talk about this volume specifically, I’m going to give a quick synopsis of the series as a whole okay? The series follows Lisa and Allison one their journey together with their budding relationship. They ‘met’ on a site where Lisa writes kinky erotica. They got to chatting and chatting led to fantasy led to “Hey you want to meet?” After a few really fun weeks Lisa moves in with Allison. They hang out with friends, kinky and vanilla alike. The couple has all sorts of fun in and out of the bedroom. And then relationship drama of the disaster variety shows up at the end of volume 4. The artwork is amazing ranging from quick sketches to fully polished art, which is fine because this feels like the passion project that it is. If you want a book that feels as real and organic as real people can get check this one out. 5/5.

The Fix Volume One: Where Beagles Dare: I described this to someone as Guy Ritchie doing a buddy cop movie in Los Angeles, if his cop buddies were crooked cops. This one’s got a bit of everything. Gunfights, a Heist, Con-men , crooks, extortion and a Beagle. The story starts with our crooked cops robbing a retired mafia type in a retirement home. They owe a Very Dangerous Man a lot of money. As a way of making it up to him, the Very Dangerous Man decides that they need to get a package through customs, and that involves getting it past the Beagle. I’m looking forward to reading more. 4/5

East of West Vol. 2: We Are All One: This one is the continuation of a previous book club pick. This is probably my favorite ongoing book at the moment. The Horseman of the Apocalypse are loose and they’re looking for Death. Death, after finding and freeing his wife, is on a quest of his own to locate the son he thought they lost, while his wife prepares her nation for war against the other Great Nations. The Chosen are actively trying to bring about the end of days, and oddly Death seems to not want to cooperate. It’s a wonderful blend of fantasy and science fiction with a Western feel in a wonderful alternate imagining of America. 4/5

Cassanova Vol. 1: Luxuria: Where do I begin? Super spy? Check. Robots?  Check. Sex Robots?  Check. Maniacal bad guy?  Check. Dimension hopping? Double check. Weird questions regarding how related a brother and sister from different alternate realities really are? Check. Just when I thought this book couldn’t get more outrageous. It did. If there’s anything that could potentially out-Archer Archer, it might be Cassanova. Though sadly it is lacking in “phrasing” jokes, but tries to make up for it with the implied interdimensional relations question. The story hit all my niche genre needs and more and kept me guessing while doing so. 4/5

East of West Vol. 3: There is No Us: See above review for East of West Vol. 2. There are reasons this book appears twice on this list in quick succession, I love this book for it’s world, it’s mythology and it’s writing. Again I give it 4/5.

Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy: Pick #2 for February’s book club. I’m not too fond of the artwork. It felt bland and flat. The story was interesting and I’m definitely interested in reading more. It’s Marvel’s book about a bunch of teens that accidentally learn that their parents are super villains, because watching your parents kill a teenager in cold blood is sure to leave some emotional scars. Then there’s the screaming and the running. Then the fighting and pleading. And then your parents decide you’re now a liability and frame you for the murder of the girl they killed, I’m sure all of that is going to require years of therapy to fix. Bummer. 3/5.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading. I should have another list of goodies for all you wonderful people to check out near the beginning of March. If you have any questions, comments and/or recommendations I would love to hear them. But for now, ta-ta, I’ll talk at you soon.