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April 2017

Locke & Key: Small World

Usually I only review graphic novels vs single issues, but this is Locke & Key, I obviously needed to make an exception. Small World is a one shot, but the creators plan a few more of these type of stories, covering some of the history prior to the original series that will be under the umbrella of Locke & Key: The Golden Age.

The Locke family has lived on the Keyhouse estate for over 250 years, and this particular story takes place in the early 1900’s. Chamberlin Locke and his wife Fiona give a gift of an ornate doll house which is a replica of their own, to their daughters Mary and Jean. The magic Small World key creates the family in miniature and the girls can watch their family in the doll house. But in this supernatural thriller, things take a sinister turn quickly. Soon the miniature girls and their brothers Ian and John are fighting for their lives when a spider takes up residence in  the doll house.  The artwork is again superb, with Locke family traits being readily evident, plus the keys we are familiar with are utilized to great effect in the story.

The note at the end of the issue, From The Publisher’s Desk, is what truly excited me for it included information about the future of Locke & Key. Creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez share news of the script that Hill is writing for Hulu based on the series, and hint at a new Locke & Key comic series called World War Key. Be still my beating heart- a live series and a new six book cycle??  So I am thrilled that I hopefully have many more years of Locke & Key epicness ahead of me!

Make sure you check out my reviews for Volume One and then the remaining horror series, Volumes Two through Six.

-Nancy

 

Hill, Joe, Gabrriel Rodriguez & Jay Fotos. Locke & Key: Small World. 2016 Variant Covers
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Revival Movie!!!

 

Last Friday, when I reviewed the last volume of Revival, I said “My love affair with Revival has come to a close”. Little did I know that I was wrong- dead wrong. It was announced at the C2E2 Revival panel on Sunday that a live action film is in the works!!!  Tim Seeley and Sarah Fisher are writing the screenplay, and Luke Boyce will be directing through Shatterglass Films. Production starts in 2018, with no release date yet.

I am so very excited at this development, and am eager to hear who they will cast for Dana and Em. As for the pivotal role of Dr. McKay, I happen to know the perfect person to play her.  I shall patiently await a call from the director 😉

In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer that sets the tone for this outstanding supernatural thriller.

-Nancy

Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 1): The Lies

The truth has been hidden from Wonder Woman. Who she was, who she is, how she came to be… all are confused and jumbled in her mind. She no longer knows the truth, and she can no longer get back to her home, Themyscira. The way has never been closed to her before, and she is worried. She sets out to find the truth, and who has deceived her so. She needs to get back home, and the only person who might be able to help her is Cheetah. Can she convince Cheetah to help her get home and find the truth? Or are Cheetah’s claws too sharp?

I must confess I haven’t read any New 52 WW after Azzarello and Chiang, so I was going in a little blind. I was able to pick things up well enough, though. The art is beautiful: feral and rugged and dark, as if everything was shrouded in mist, obscuring the truth from both us and Diana. We see how human she is here, in her confusion and her overwhelming desire to go back home. She’s not a goddess, not a superhero, not anything else she’s been called… she’s just a woman who wants to go home. I think that is the real power in this story. I look forward to more.

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Liam Sharp, and Laura Martin. Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 1): The Lies. 2017.

Revival Conclusion

My love affair with Revival has drawn to a close. When I discovered the series a year ago, there were six volumes already out, and I eagerly looked forward to the next two volumes as the story came to an epic conclusion.

Volume 7: Forward

There are entirely too many plot threads and characters in this next to last volume for me to imagine them adequately wrapped up in the upcoming final volume. Not only that, we were introduced to a few more…an Amish assassin and her daughter. What???

Now, I really enjoyed the what he/she wanted in life vs what they got storylines. Reality can end up being very different than what you envisioned, so this was great character development for some of the Wausau residents.

General Cale has rounded up the ghosts and continues to keep the Revivers in a holding facility, and it is unclear as to how much she really knows, and the motivations for her villainy. The ending of this volume throws everything into chaos, with many characters on the run. Not many puzzle pieces have fallen into place for me yet, so the ending of this series is anybody’s guess. I look forward to seeing how Seeley and Norton plan on wrapping up this intriguing series and hope that my favorite characters have a worthy conclusion to this mystery.

This is a picture of me!! I won a contest to have my cameo drawn into the last issue!

Volume 8: Just Stay A Little Bit Longer

The last volume was a poignant ending to the complete series, and felt true to the beginning. The series had such a promising start, and while I struggled a bit in the middle wondering where the mystery was headed and the climax was a bit rushed, it came together beautifully at the end.

There was a lot to cover in the conclusion of the series, as General Cale, the splinter militia groups and the escaped Revivers are in the woods and preparing for battle. Dana has finally put together the clues of who killed her sister Em (which made her a Reviver) and confronts that person (I resisted spoiling it for you!). She learns the connection between Em’s dead former lover Professor Weimar, the killer, and yet another character we have met; as the trio that caused the whole Reviver phenomenon.

Dana, the pregnant(!) Em and her killer head to the river to try to rectify the damage and stop the carnage, as death and chaos erupt nearby. Sacrifices are made, yet parting words of love are shared and the uneasy allegiance they had to strike to stop the madness works. The two page spread of an imagined future between two of the characters was so beautiful, that I teared up, and reread it several times simply to experience it’s emotional power again.

A sweet two year flash forward continues to show the resolution of the character arcs, and while one of my favorites didn’t live, their death was not in vain. A tease of a possible continuation of the story concludes this powerful and complex rural noir series.

As icing on the cake, I won a contest to have myself drawn in as a cameo in the last issue, and was thrilled to portray a doctor in two panels in the last pages. I will be talking about this honor and showing people my picture in the book until my dying day. Not only was that opportunity the very coolest, it was in one of my absolute favorite graphic novels!

I will be keeping my eyes out for future work from the skilled team of Tim Seeley and Mike Norton.  These talented men created an amazing fictional world that kept me enthralled for a year, for Seeley knew how to create a thrilling series, and Norton’s fantastic illustrations elevated the story to new heights.  So, if you  haven’t already, read for yourself the entire thrilling mystery!

-Nancy

Review of Deluxe Editions One, Two and Three.

How I got picked to get a Revival cameo.

*Disclosure- The Deluxe Edition Four is not out until May, but I used the cover, as that is how I have organized past reviews. (Look at the hands on the left, for it looks like two hands holding each other- symbolism??)

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

I admit I haven’t read a whole lot of LGBTQ+ fiction, but I will do my best!

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5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon’s email falls into the wrong hands, and he’s suddenly being blackmailed into playing wingman for the hacker – or both Simon and the boy he’s been emailing (who, by the way, he has a huge crush on) will be outed. A funny story about friendship and family and figuring out who you are.

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4. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

I spoiled my own post… the official review is coming in 2 weeks! Maggie develops a crush on a camp counselor one summer – a crush that would be innocent enough, if the counselor in question wasn’t also a girl. Heartbreaking and a too-real portrayal of teenage girlhood.

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3. Great by Sara Benincasa

A modern retelling of The Great Gatsby, featuring a fashion blogger and a senator’s daughter as the reincarnations of Jay and Daisy, respectively. A fresh take on an old tale with all the sumptuous summer setting and gossip you could want.

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2. Batwoman: Elegy, written by Greg Rucka

A new cult in Gotham is obsessed with Batwoman – and why they do reveals a painful family secret. Batwoman’s sexuality isn’t a surprise to anyone, but her stages of coming out are revealed through poignant flashbacks.

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1. DC Bombshells, written by Marguerite Bennett

An AU in which DC heroines serve in World War II covertly while their male counterparts are on the front lines. Batwoman is one of the main characters, but feelings bloom between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and it’s hinted there were past relations between Wonder Woman and Mera ;D

Any recommendations for us? =D

– Kathleen

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5

Oh boy. This volume was just jam-packed full of goodies >:D

Want to know what Jack’s been up to since he’s disappeared from Fabletown? The answer is here! We also journey back to the Homelands and follow a mysterious man in a blue cloak as he tries to uncover various aspects of the Adversary’s tyranny… and is on a personal quest, as well. And none other than Mowgli and the Arabian fables turn up at the front gate of the Woodlands, causing some hilarious miscommunications and interactions.

There are so many new layers to this story every time I pick up a new book, and it’s so exciting! The world of the Fables expands and deepens with each volume. True characters are revealed in this volume, some heartbreaking and some triumphant. The addition of the Arabian Fables may be my favorite so far!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, David Hahn, and Lan Medina. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5. 2012.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. 2006.

I have picked up this book, read a bit, and put it back down a dozen times in the last year. Not because it isn’t excellent- it most definitely is- but the author’s relationship with her unhappy and distant father is much too similar to mine. This book breaks my heart, and brings up many painful memories for me. But I persisted, and am glad I did.

Author and illustrator Alison Bechdel chronicles her childhood through her early years of college, in a non-linear memoir. The Bechdel family lived in her father’s small hometown of Beech Creek in Pennsylvania, and her father helped run the family funeral parlor. Alison and her younger brothers named the funeral parlor, Fun Home, hence the name of the novel. Her parents were trapped in a loveless marriage, with the father hiding his homosexuality, although as the years wore on his affairs became less and less discreet.

This hiding of his true self shaped him into a bitter perfectionist, whose moods turned his wife into a shell of her former self, and the three children had to forever tiptoe around his outbursts and expectations.  When Bechdel enters college, she herself comes out as a lesbian, but has precious little time for her relationship with her father to change and grow with this realization, for her father died soon afterwards in what she suspected was a suicide.

A thread that ran through this book was her father’s love of literature, in addition to Bechdel’s own awakening of her sexuality, that ran parallel to her father’s. References to books such as Ulysses made connections between her and her father, with some overt symbolism that was dark and honest, but a bit forced at times.

The emotionally engaging illustrations were in black and white, and really captured the 1970’s era. Her parent’s grim marriage was subtlety represented, but she also was able to share times of humor and the joys of discovery in her drawings. Some of the illustrations were very graphic, with a sex act and a dead body being drawn in realistic detail, so this book is geared for mature audiences.

Bechdel’s raw autobiography was turned into a musical play that showed on Broadway, and she shared her feelings on that representation of her family in this enlightening nine-panel drawing Play Therapy.  That this book, and perhaps the play, can affect people deeply is a testament to the power of family and how it shapes us.

-Nancy

Star Trek Continues: Episodes 7 & 8

Star Trek Continues is an outstanding webseries that continues directly from the original Star Trek series, picking up where TOS left off, since it had a stated five year mission and only about three years was shown.  I gave a long introduction to the characters and actors with a quick recap of the first six episodes on a previous post, so please check it out if you are unfamiliar with this series, or just like to read my older posts!

This fan-created non canon series will be concluding this year, with a total production of eleven episodes. They had hoped to keep on producing episodes (at least thirteen) but a huge court debacle occurred between CBS and another fan-fiction movie, Axanar. CBS felt Axanar was infringing on their Star Trek franchise, and their court case affected other fan series/movies in the Star Trek fan universe. For more information on this long and complicated history check out these blogs: Fan Film Factor and Trek Fan Productions. Both sites are very well written and give much more detail on the ongoing situation than I can, and give a fairly balanced view on the mess.

Episode 7- Embracing the Winds

When TOS originally  ran in the 1960’s gender bias was definitely an issue, and this episode addresses that thorny matter. Diana Garrett is appealing to Starfleet that she has been passed over for a promotion to captain a ship. She is brought before a committee to present her case but her angry, don’t question me persona isn’t doing her any favors. To further muddy the issue, allegiances and the patriarchal society of the neighboring aliens Tellarites plays a part in Starfleet’s decision. At first I was upset that Garrett was passed over, but the plot became more nuanced, and you could see she wasn’t the right fit for the position. Her parting statement was a shout out to the TNG episode, Yesterday’s Enterprise, and her supposed granddaughter Rachel Garret, who would captain the Enterprise-C. I did a little bit of nerd math after the episode, and if this episode takes place approximately in the year 2270, and Rachel Garret’s last stand takes place in 2344, it is definitely possible for the two to be family- which I love.

Episode 8- Still Treads The Shadow

A sequel to TOS episode The Tholian Web, the Enterprise crew find the USS Defiant in a new region of space near a worm hole. Expecting the ship to be empty, as the knew the previous crew had killed one another, they are surprised to sense a heartbeat. Beaming on board, they are shocked to find an aged Kirk laying in stasis. How can this be- when their captain is standing next to them?! Once old Kirk is awoken, they discover a temporal rift occurred last time they were on board, leaving one Kirk on board the Defiant, while the other one went back to the Enterprise, not knowing about the duplication. 200 years have passed since this rift, and the computer on the Defiant has become sentient to keep old Kirk company. A visiting old flame of the captain, engineer Rekha Sharma, helps young and old Kirk make programming changes to correct the jealous computer and get the Enterprise to safety as the worm hole  is destabilizing.

These last two episodes have been excellent and thought provoking, with complex moral issues and good production values. I dearly hope that last three episodes will be shown to the public, and that the Axanar situation doesn’t affect how CBS looks upon this webseries. While it might be too late for changes in the remaining episodes, one last wish I have for the series would be for them to give more character development to Uhura, Sulu, Scotty and Chekov; they seem to be repeating an issue I had with TOS- they give a lions share of the attention to Kirk, Spock and Bones.

May we enjoy the concluding years of this five year mission! Live long and proper.

-Nancy

*Episode Nine review

 

Birds of Prey (Vol. 10): Club Kids

Babs kind of has her hands full right now. For one thing, that Calculator guy is hot on her trail again… and he gets a little too close to her real identity for her comfort. The ever-polyamorous Ollie has proposed marriage to Dinah, and what kind of friend would she be if she didn’t try to talk her out of it? Huntress has gone off the rails again and Lady Blackhawk has gone MIA after the death of an old friend… how can Barbara possibly keep it together?

This volume was quite a bit thinner than the last, and the story skips around a lot. This part of the arc takes place between a few events like The Death of the New Gods. As it is, I think there were a lot of disjointed elements in this book and none of them really came together to create a whole story. It just seemed… so very in the middle, without a clear beginning or end. Most comics are like this but so far there’s been an attempt to start and end each individual story clearly, but this wasn’t the case here.

– Kathleen

Bedard, Tony, Nicola Scott, Jason Orfalas, and David Cole. Birds of Prey (Vol. 10): Club Kids. 2009.

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