It looks like I've read ~20 books this year already, although a lot of them were graphic novels so that's not quite as impressive as it might seem. Still, I'm going to break this up into a couple of posts and putting all the comics in one is as good a way as any to do it.
Oh, and remember that list? This first one ticks off a few boxes:
✓ A book with a color in the title
✓ A book by a female author
✓ A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
✓ A graphic novel
I expect some of those are going to be ticked off a lot of times on my list. Obviously the last one is *so* done now. ;)
Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of the Plagues by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani (Illustrator), Simon Bowland (Contributor)
I've never been particularly into the barbarians and had been turned off the chicks-in-chainmail overly sexualized look of Red Sonja covers in comic books stores, but I bought some Humble Comics Bundle specifically for this book, as I've liked Gail Simone's other work.
Reading this book brings me back to that time when S decided to carry a dead cat through all of Icewind Dale. She'll know what I mean, but maybe most of you won't.
So instead I'll say that I wasn't disappointed. This book features a Red Sonja that makes her strangely reminiscent of my sister: fierce in protecting her friends, determined to see things through to the end, occasionally capricious, and also quite happy to disregard the opinions of others when they're stupid. ;) I'd never really thought of the barbarian fighter in this way except when S is playing them.
It's a fun read, both a little subversive and a tribute to the genre.
Wolverine Volume 2: Killable (Marvel Now) by Paul Cornell, Marvel Comics (Illustrator), Alan Davis (Illustrator), Mirco Pierfederici (Illustrator)
From the "Wolverine's lost his healing powers and his enemies have found out" setup you'd this this book would be an epic battlefest, but the authors actually thought about what lost powers meant not only physically and tactically but also emotionally, not only for Wolverine but also for his friends and allies. This one has some surprisingly sweet and bittersweet moments.
I have to admit, though, it wasn't vividly memorable for me and writing this review weeks later is hard.
(This may tick off "✓ A book by an author you've never read before" judging from the list they have for him on wikipedia)
X-Men by Brian Wood - Volume 1: Blank Generation by Brian Wood, David Lopez (Illustrator)
Loved the art on this one, but I felt like I'd missed too much back story to really enjoy it, which is weird since it's a "volume 1" kind of deal.
Gambit, Vol. 1: Once A Thief by James Asmus, Clay Mann (Illustrator), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator)
To be honest, I barely remember anything about this one other than the art was nice.
The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale (Pt. 1) by Lora Innes
High school drama crossed with historical romance via Very Intense Dreams. I got drawn to this one as a webcomic because of the art, but Lora Innes' sheer joy in history makes it worth sticking around for. (Also worth going to read her blog posts about the real history behind the story!)The Dreamer webcomic
has just started up again after a hiatus, but if you're going to check it out for the first time right now, go back to the beginning, because those last few comics really don't make any sense unless you know the characters.
Oh look, there's ✓ A book by a female author again!
Also, ✓ A book based on a true story, although perhaps this isn't exactly what folk mean when they say that.
Young Avengers Volume 3: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space (Marvel… by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator)
I actually kind of hated volume 2 (too much chaos not enough depth for my liking), but this pushed past the "running aimlessly through dimensions" and into the "time to turn around and fight our mind-controlled parents and save the world" point. All in all, a nice wrap-up to the story arc.
Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman (Marvel Now) by Matt Fraction, Annie Wu (Illustrator), Javier Pulido (Illustrator)
After the last volume, I'd been kind of wondering why this series had been getting so many accolades. (It's not awful, it just didn't seem as amazing as I was hearing.) But I understand now: it's not just about the Clint Barton Hawkeye, it's been the Kate Bishop hawkeye that makes the whole thing fit together and work. The comics were actually interleaved in original publishing, this book collects #14, 16, 18, 20. I understand why they collected them separately, but I think I would have enjoyed the Barton Hawkeye story so much more if I'd read it contrasted with the Bishop Hawkeye story. Kate's story is funny, clever, and so very human.
The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, Hyekyung Baek (Illustrator)
I think the manga adaptations of these books are kind of adorable, and this one does not disappoint. I'm not sure it'll be as meaningful without having read the novel, though.
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by Marvel Comics
After a poor experience trying to read the new X-men series as single issues (The format's a bit too short for me and I found the advertising was outright disruptive), I waited for a collected volume on this one to avoid making the same mistake. As I started hearing more and more hype, I started worrying that the book itself would never live up to the things I'd heard.
Thankfully, that wasn't my experience. The book is sweet, hitting some nerdy superhero teenager tropes I like, and playing off the non-white north american experience in a way that felt unsurprising after reading Secret Identities
and getting so many comics recs off Angry Asian Man, but it's nice to see these things in such a big title. And Kamala isn't just written as a minority, where it's that part of her that defines her: she's also practical, smart, adorkable, and just enough introspective to give her sudden superheroism a depth that sometimes you don't see in the first volume of a new series.
I look forwards to more, and I guess having chickened out and gone with the library copy instead of buying it the day it came out, I may go invest in my own copy now. ;)
Black Widow & The Marvel Girls by Paul Tobin, Salva Espin (Illustrator), Jacopo Camagni (Illustrator)
This is a series of shorts about Black Widow teaming up with other women of the Marvel universe. I wasn't sold on the first tale, but the others were kind of neat looks into different depths of her character.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 1 by Shinobu Ohtaka
This inspried-by-arabian nights manga just didn't do it for me. Too many over-the-top OMG REACTION moments, too much chaos and silliness, not enough story or character. It's a genre for low-attention-span boys, though, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I suspect this one could deepen to more, but I couldn't even make it through the first volume without wanting to skim it.
Soul Eater NOT!, Vol. 1 by Atsushi Ohkubo
This one's cute: A new girl starts at a school for humans who can transform into weapons and the human "meister" (weaponmasters) who will pair up to become superheroes. I expected this to be kind of silly, but there was just enough in this to make me curious as to what happens next. I guess I have to find the next volume!
✓ A book set in high school
✓ A book with magic
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks, Various (Illustrator)
The intro describes this as a story about being human, but also a superhero. This is exactly what gives it such charm, and Faith Erin Hicks' adorable art makes it perfect.
It also doesn't hurt that it's also very Canadian. (Why do the cats like the prime minister so much? Is a superhero qualified to work at Tim Horton's?) I think this is a book I need to own!