Graphic Novelty²


March 2018

Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War

I picked this graphic novel on a whim as I am a huge Star Trek fan, and thought it would be a hoot to read about the Kelvin timeline crew meeting Hal Jordan.  IDW Publishing and DC Comics have partnered together to bring us “The Crossover Event of 2015” and it did not disappoint!

I admit I am not very familiar with the Green Lantern Corps, so I really appreciated how explanations were worked into the narrative to bring you up to speed on how the whole power rings worked along with what the different colors symbolized. Cheat sheet: green, violet, blue and indigo rings are good while red, orange and yellow are bad.  Guess what- the violet, blue and indigo rings choose Star Trek crew while the evil rings went to a Klingon, a Romulan and a Gorn. These are not aliens you want to mess with folks!

Hal explains to Kirk and crew that he and a few other lanterns were pulled into the ST universe by Ganthet, one of the Guardians of the Universe, when he utilized Last Light to save the lantern corp when they were fighting a losing battle with villain Nekron. Evil lanterns from the DC universe have also been sucked into this timeline and they align with their color counterparts, but without their power batteries, all the lanterns are at risk.

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Johnson, Mike and Angel Hernandez. Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War. 2016 (first comic published in 2015)

Without spoiling too much, it would be safe to assume that there are several epic fights. Almost all of the main crew of the Enterprise get to wield ring power at one time or another. Several other green lanterns show up, and working as a team, a plan is put into action to save the universe. There is humor utilized throughout and the illustrations are top notch in this graphic novel. The Star Trek crew is drawn to resemble their movie counterparts, and as such it was sad to see Anton Yelchin (although this was written before his real-life death), yet it is heartwarming to know his portrayal will live on in books. I loved the variant art throughout, with all contributing artists submitting outstanding work.

Another crossover series with these characters is planned, so I look forward to more adventures with them. As Hal summarizes in the end, combining two motto’s into one- ” I am sworn to protect strange new worlds. New life. New Civilizations. To boldly go…by Lantern’s light…where no one has gone before!”

On a side note, I recently was in a good-natured Twitter fight with my friend Michael @ My Comic Relief about which is the best Chris. While he fought the good fight for Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, my superior choice of Chris Pine as Kirk clearly was the winner.  In fact he even shared that a student of his said of Chris Pine, “The universe is in Chris Pine’s eyes!”. Not only does this student deserve an A+, it clearly shows how right I am. That this book that I had requested weeks earlier came in this week, is the final proof that MY Chris wins!


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Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. I am actually using last week’s prompt (don’t arrest me T5W police!) about children’s books that adults should read.

As a mother, former teacher, and now a librarian- I love children’s books! All of these books are worth revisiting as adults and should be read and re-read multiple times! I am sticking to picture books for the illustrations completely elevate the stories.

When Jessie Came Across The Sea written by Amy Hest and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

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This beautifully illustrated book shares the immigrant experience of many eastern Europeans through the eyes of Jesse, a Jewish teen, who is awarded a ticket to America. She reluctantly leaves her beloved Grandmother and travels on the boat that will take her past the awe inspiring Statue of Liberty to Ellis Island. Other passengers of various ethnic backgrounds are shown, and Jesse befriends a young man named Lou. Taken in by a dressmaker in NYC, Jesse sews lace, and by chance re-meets Lou and a romance develops. Years go by with Jesse learning to speak and write in English, and all the while saving money for a ticket for her Grandmother to join her. Jesse has put off marrying Lou until she is reunited with her Grandmother, so the final page of the reunion is lovely and heartwarming. I cry every time I get to the end of this book.

Pink and Say written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco has written many picture books that are beautiful, heartbreaking, and memorable but Pink and Say is the one that makes me cry every single time I read it. The author shares the story that she claims has been passed down through the generations from her great great grandfather Sheldon (Say) Curtis about his friendship with Pinkus (Pink) Aylee during the Civil War. Say is a teenaged white soldier from Ohio who is injured in battle in Georgia and discovered by Pink, an African American soldier and brings him back to his home to be tended to by his mother. While he mends, Say bonds with Pink and his family but the two young soldiers are eventually caught by Confederates and sent to the prison camp Andersonville. Pink’s fate breaks your heart, but Say keeps his memory alive as he survives the war, and the book puts a human face on the devastation of this terrible time in our nation’s history.

The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural written by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

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This is an outstanding collection of ten supernatural/horror stories for older youth. Author Patricia C. McKissack sets the African-American tales in the deep south, and the evocative back and white pictures by Brian Pinkney add atmosphere to these Gothic type stories. What really adds weight to the dark and spooky stories is that they are based on real happenings during the slavery era, in addition to stories on civil rights brutality and modern day lynchings. An eye-opening compilation that I highly recommend.

Jenny and the Cat Club written and illustrated by Esther Averill

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I adore these books about the shy black cat Jenny Linsky set in NYC. The books were old fashioned when I was a child, but have such enduring appeal. I read them to my children when they were younger and they loved the books too. The adventures that Jenny, her two cat brothers, and all the members of the cat club have are so flippin’ cute. This is the first of a series of books about the cats with The Fire Cat being the most popular. My teen-ager recently made a joke about the cats dancing the Sailor’s Hornpipe and red scarves…the stories stay with you!

The Old African written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney


Author Julius Lester and illustrator Jerry Pinkney team together again to tell a beautifully told magical realism tale for mature youth that is based on fact. The re-imaged story is based off the 1803 slave revolt in Georgia and mass suicide that occurred when newly captured Igbo people took over the ship that was transporting them to the various plantations that had bought them after they survived the Middle Passage.

As the article states “The event’s moral value as a story of resistance towards slavery has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history” and is captivatingly told by the talented author and illustrator. The leader of the slaves in this story is The Old African, who as a young man was kidnapped from his home along with his wife Ola. The Middle Passage is described in heartbreaking detail and does not shy away from the horrors of the conditions that were endured and the reality that women were sexually abused. We witness Ola committing suicide to avoid rape, and Jaja’s mentor Obasi being beaten to death.

Many years go by after he is sold into slavery, and Jaja is now an elderly man who is mute but has magical powers that he uses to help ease suffering on the plantation on which he lives. When an escaped slave is brought back and savagely whipped, he steps in to help, but knows his help has earned him a death sentence. He then leads a group of slaves to the ocean and leads them home to Africa. That the escaped slaves have a triumphant conclusion is symbolic for staying strong in the face of adversary and resisting oppression. I highly recommend this complex and thought provoking book, and would suggest it to readers who are ready to think critically about this book’s message.

Some honorable mentions would be all books written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, especially The Little House and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

If you haven’t read any of these books, make sure you check them out and/or revisit these books again if you’ve read them in the past. And most importantly- SHARE them with youth today!


The End of Summer

Lars is shut away with his family in their grand palace for three years while winter rages outside. Lars is dying of an illness. Everything’s not so bad, though. There are his siblings to play with, books to read, and his giant cat Nemo for company. Every once in a while he feels sad, because when he dies, he’ll leave his twin sister Maja behind. But Maja seems to be leaving him, too. She’s been acting strangely… in fact, the whole household has. This winter, the stir-crazy is getting too much. Lies and secrets are revealed. Will the winter winds blow out their family, or can they weather the storm?

I was not really a fan of this one. I picked it up because this is Tillie Walden’s first graphic novel. She is the author and illustrator of Spinning, which I loved! Her art was just as lovely – if anything, better than Spinning, which came later. There was a lot of intricate architectural work, which is very ambitious for any artist to take on, but Walden makes it look easy. The space often dwarfs the characters, which speaks to their isolation and disconnect from one another.

However, the story was seriously lacking. It felt more like a draft of a story than a finished product. A lot of it is left open, leaving the reader to fill in the gaps. This can work to an extent, but here, too much was left open and I found myself lost. Perhaps I missed something or wasn’t paying enough attention! However, I didn’t think the writing was strong enough to work with this type of storytelling. The illustrations were beautiful, so I was happy enough just looking =P

– Kathleen

Walden, Tillie. The End of Summer. 2015.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Think you understand comics? Think again! Author and illustrator Scott McCloud has created a unique educational graphic novel that can be read for pure enjoyment but also could be used in college-level courses that teach the art of illustration.

I have known about this book for several years, as it was originally written in 1993, but reading it seemed daunting. But when a certain erudite blogger suggested that Kathleen and I read it, not once but twice, I had to give it a go. Joshua at White Tower Musings– this is for you!

Divided into nine chapters, McCloud first begins with ascertaining how to define comics. After using accurate but long definitions, he uses comic’s giant Will Eisner’s short definition: comics is sequential art.

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Since cartoons can sometimes be considered a lesser art form,  McCloud puts cartooning in a bigger framework- he goes back in time to show how hieroglyphics and picture manuscripts have evolved into comics. There is a rich history that provides the building blocks for this “new” art medium of today.

Once we push past the history of comics, we move into the parts that make the whole. How vocabulary is incorporated into comics is addressed as is the effective use of gutters in a sequence. These frames form closure to an idea, and a thought is imparted.

How lines are utilized got a chapter, with some perceptive thoughts on how lines can convey feelings and moods. I thought his comment about how Rob Liefeld’s “hostile and jagged” lines expressed the anxieties of those growing up in the 90’s quite accurately. And it’s true! Image Comics broke away from Marvel at the time when Gen X was at it’s most angsty, and these artists had a new style of drawing that obviously met a need.

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While most of this graphic novel was in black and white, a chapter on color used it sparingly to make several points. Color can be used to set a mood, establish a scene and add depth. Adding color can expand the reader’s experience and artists continue to experiment with different palettes to establish atmosphere.

I also appreciated how McCloud moved beyond the parts that make up a cartoon- he also looked at the big idea. Art has meaning and he ties it into resemblance and the picture plane. There are so many ways to impart representation in styles such as surrealism, expressionism, cubism and impressionism. Words and pictures have great power when harnessed together and artists have freedom in how to create their works of art, which includes cartooning.

To make an Infinity Gauntlet comparison, cartoonists will use space, line, color, closure, words and icons in helping them get their message across. These “gems” are the building blocks of effective illustration.

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Reading this book took me quite awhile, as it’s information heavy narrative could overwhelm me at times. But I stuck with it and the knowledge that I picked up has made me look at comics with new appreciation. Already a fan of cartoons and graphic novels, McCloud’s astute analysis and deconstruction of this art form further elevated the genre for me.


Tempests and Slaughter

You know Numair Salmalín from the Wild Magic series… but who is he, really? How did the most powerful wizard in the world earn such a title?

Say hello to ten-year-old Aram Draper, a young student at the Imperial University of Carthak. Actually, he’s the youngest in his class. Bored all the time with the beginner magics, he’s moved up to more intermediate magic at a startlingly young age. His abilities have alienated him from the other children his age, and while he loves studying, he does get quite lonely. Two older classmates, Varice Kingsford and Orzorne Tasikhe, take him under their wing. Varice is skilled at kitchen magic, and people often overlook her sharp mind because of it. Orzorne, though a member of the royal family, is so far removed from the throne he is sometimes called “The Leftover Prince.” The three make a fast circle of friends, and it’s clear to everyone their bond is a special one. They will need to lean on each other in their years at school – and beyond.

I’m a huge Tamora Pierce fan, and was super excited for this book. To return to the world of Tortall after so long – I was pumped! But, once I actually got it in my hands… It feels almost blasphemous to say, but I didn’t enjoy Tempests and Slaughter as much as I’d hoped =(

It kind of felt like half a book in some ways. It had a lot of good stuff: well-written characters, a strong core friendship, growing pains, political intrigue, ethics of war and slavery, godly intervention… but not really enough of any of it. The pace is incredibly fast, not really allowing for significant time spent with any of these topics. Just when you think you’re getting to the heart of one theme, it switches tack and goes in a totally different direction. This happens multiple times throughout. I feel like I only got the surface of a book as opposed to the whole picture, which was disappointing. Not to mention there was very little as far as the mechanics of magic, which was strange enough given the setting, but you’d think there would have been much more as this is Numair’s origin story. There could be more in-depth explainations on magic in earlier books that I don’t remember, but it still would have been welcome here.

All that said, I was glued to the book the entire time. Pierce’s writing style is engaging and she really knows how to suck readers in. Middle-grade and young adult readers will enjoy it for the action and quick pace. I wouldn’t say it’s essential to be familiar with Pierce’s past work and characters to fully enjoy the story. I’ve revisited the Song of the Lioness quartet in recent years, but not Wild Magic (where Numair was first introduced), and I was still able to pick things up well enough. For older fans who are familiar with Pierce’s work, however, this may be a bit of a disappointment.

– Kathleen

Pierce, Tamora. Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles 1). 2018.

Superman Unchained (Deluxe Edition)

It occurred to me that as big of a superhero fan that I am… I’ve never actually read a Superman comic. The shame!!! I rectified that with this one 😉

Catching space stations plummeting to Earth with terrified astronauts aboard – business as usual for Superman. Once he’s taken care of the wreckage, Clark Kent writes a piece about him. However, seems Clark got his facts wrong. He wrote that Superman stopped seven objects, but there were actually eight. Superman took care of all of them… right? In his investigation, he finds handprints in the steel. Not many could have pushed it off course and harmlessly into the ocean. But if it wasn’t Superman… then who? Clark is about to stumble upon a secret the U.S. Government has been sitting on for 75 years, and there are some who’ll do anything to stop him from discovering it.

I enjoyed it, but I think there was too much going on in this story. There are multiple plot points that come together messily in the end. One part I enjoyed was seeing Clark’s inner monologue during the fight scenes. There was a lot more science-y stuff than I expected: velocity, UV spectrums, etc. It shows how intelligent Clark is to be able to think of that stuff on the fly! It did slow down the pace a bit for me, but I didn’t mind too much. There is a bit in the middle/end about the philosophy and agenda (or lack thereof) of Superman, which I found really interesting. This deluxe edition had a good number of variant covers at the end, all drawn in the different styles of comic book eras.

Again, I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure this was a good “beginner” Superman book. The story is a bit convoluted and it drags. There’s more emphasis on the action than any character development. The art is very good; a few two-page spreads at the beginning completely blew me away with the amount of detail. You’d probably have to really like Superman to fully enjoy this book. However, I do like Superman, I should read more, and I’m going to!

– Kathleen

Snyder, Scott, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Sinclair. Superman Unchained (Deluxe Edition). 2014.

Bloodshot Salvation: The Book of Revenge

So…there’s a lot of blood in Bloodshot. Who woulda’ thunk it?

Having read virtually no Valiant titles except for Faith:Hollywood and Vine, I only had a passing recognition of Bloodshot, but no real understanding of who he was or his backstory. I picked up this digital copy because Jeff Lemire (who must be an android and not sleep because his output of titles is amazing) is the author and I’m a sucker for a good revenge story.

Bloodshot aka Ray Garrison is a former soldier who worked for the shadowy Project Rising Spirit, and whose nanites in his bloodstream could transform him into a killing machine with healing powers (shades of Wolverine from Marvel). His memory has been wiped several times, but he has escaped from the decommissioned PRS in the previous Reborn series, and has established a family with his girlfriend Magic. They have a baby daughter who seems to be perfectly healthy and free of Ray’s powers.

It’s all too good to be true, and frankly Ray decides to f**k everything up by going after Magic’s father who is a cult leader and has been harassing her to rejoin his compound. Plans go sideways, his daughter Jessie gets sick and PRS gets new funding and doesn’t want any former soldiers on the loose. There are time jumps, transfigurations and many many deaths. Then there is the required twist and cliff hanger to make you come back for future volumes.

The artwork is excellent, with a gritty realism and a subdued color palate. The artists are very fond of exploding eyeballs and showcasing gore. But I do have a complaint: the front cover is misleading. It shows Jessie as a young girl with the trademark white skin next to her father. This scene did not happen, and in fact, Jessie has not seen her Dad in years at this point. While I assume they will be reuniting in the next volume, this cover was very inaccurate.

I’m glad I had a chance to read this title through NetGalley, as Vin Diesel is signed on to portray Bloodshot in a movie adaptation, and now I have a passing understanding of the Bloodshot saga. I’m rooting for Ray’s family to have a happy ending, but we all know it won’t come easy.


Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View

I love Star Wars! I love short stories! Together this anthology was a win-win for me.

Forty authors celebrated forty years of Star Wars by contributing a story of a minor or supporting character from the ending of Rogue One to the finale of A New Hope. I listened to these stories on audio, but also had a copy of the book to refer to when I wanted to double check a detail or if I didn’t like the way a story was voiced. There are a few spoilers, but I did my best not to give it all away! 😉

Raymus by Gary Witta   4/5

Captain Raymus Antilles holds onto hope to the very end that his ship carrying Princess Leia away from the Battle of Scarif will escape from the Imperial Fleet.

The Bucket by Chrsitie Golden   4/5

Stormtrooper TK-4601 begins to have feelings of dissent with the Empire after he meets Leia. Not an immediate deserter, but the seeds are sown…

The Sith of Datawork by Ken Liu   5/5

A fun tongue-in cheek story that will be appreciated by the many of us who feel that paperwork is endless at their jobs and in their homes. Arvira, Imperial Logistic Datawork Officer, knows her forms and helps Bolvan, the gunnery captain who let a certain escape pod go unchecked to Tatooine, cover up his mistake with layers of reports.

Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy 4/5

Am amusing tale of little Jot, a Jawa who doesn’t erase R2-D2’s memory like he typically does with other droids for resale. By watching other droid’s chips he sees there is more to the universe than the gritty Sandcrawler he works on.

Reirin by Sabaa Tahir  3/5

We meet Reirin, a female Tusken Raider, who is willing to leave the safety of her clan for the mysterious charms of a green crystal she finds.

The Red One by Rae Carson  4/5

A surprisingly poignant story about R5-D4, the red droid that Uncle Own picked first from the Jawas. His malfunction was truly a sacrifice made for the Rebellion.  It was fun to start getting outsider’s views of Luke as we first meet him in A New Hope.

Rites by John Jackson Miller 3.5/5

Three young Tuskens want to make names for themselves in their warrior society. They meet Obi-Wan, whom they consider a wizard, and Luke whom they call Sandy Hair.

Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey 5/5

Obi-Wan receives a visitor and because of their conversation realizes he needs “to think of death as only the beginning of wisdom”. While I was surprised at this entry, as he formally was not part of A New Hope, the visitor’s wisdom would have always remained with Ben.

Beru Whitesun Lars by Meg Cabot 5/5

LOVED this story! Author Meg Cabot gave Aunt Beru a beautiful backstory and a voice in how she loved raising Luke. I was tearing up as I listened to this story, for Beru was more than an aunt, she was a MOTHER to him and should have been recognized more for being the loving woman who shaped Luke into the man he became.

The Luckless Rodian by Renee Ahdieh  4/5

Greedo…and his last hours before his fateful encounter with Han Solo.

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Not for Nothing by Mur Lafferty 4/5

A supposed excerpt from one of the Bith band member’s memoirs about why they were playing at the cantina, after a forced extended stay at Jabba the Hutt’s “palace” . The music must go on…

We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here by Chuck Wendig 3.5/5

A character study of Wuher, one of the bartenders at the cantina. My biggest take-away from this story is learning that Ackmena, the barmaid from the Star Wars Holiday Special,  is now canon!

The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction 1/5

When are we going to leave Tatooine??!! Why was the worst story also the longest story? I did not care one whit about the crime planned to take place at Chalmun’s Cantina.

Added Muscle by Paul Dini  5/5

Luckily the next story balances the previous story by being short and fresh. We learn Boba Fett’s recollections of what happened between Han and Jabba in Docking Bay 94.

You Owe Me a Ride by Zoraida Cordova  4/5

Twins Brea and Senni Tonnika live on the edge of society, unwillingly trapped at Jabba’s palace. The sisters begin to scheme how they can leave the sandy planet forever.

The Secrets of Long Snoot by Delilah S. Dawson  2/5

Are we STILL stuck on  Tatooine??!!  Not every bounty hunter is successful and suave, and Long Snoot skulks along the fringes hoping to pick up easy information he can then pass along to the Imperial Troopers hoping for enough credits to reunite with his family.

Born in the Storm by Daniel Jose Older  4.5/5

Stormtrooper TD-7556 relates his recent mission on Tatooine in an incident report form. Turns out he was one of the soldiers who sent Obi Wan, Luke and the droids on their way- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”.   This stormtrooper is no mindless drone, he is funny and sarcastic and the story was a fun read.

Laina by Wil Wheaton  5/5

OMG the feels! A widowed Rebel soldier wishes to send his beloved daughter Laina to safety and makes a video for the toddler. He recounts to her information about her mother and the reason why he is fighting against the Empire. Already a poignant tale of a family being separated, it takes an even more heartrending turn at the end. ( I have re-imaged the last bit in my mind to make a happier ending)

Fully Operational by Beth Revis  3.5/5

General Tagge uncomfortably witnesses Lord Vader’s reaction and choke hold of Admiral Motti. Previously believing the Empire’s greatest weapon was the Death Star, he now realizes it is Vader himself.

An Incident Report by Mallory Ortberg   3.5/5

Admiral Motti gets his rebuttal and blusters about his importance to cover up his shame of being humiliated in front of other staff. He refuses to see Vader’s power and relies entirely on the Death Star’s technology.

Change of Heart by Elizabeth Wein  3.5/5

The indomitable Leia unknowingly influences another Imperial soldier to rethink his alliance after he witnesses her strength when Alderaan is destroyed. Having two stories like this was over kill. I have huge Leia love, but to have two soldiers completely change their ways just by observing her was too much.

Eclipse by Madeleine Roux  4.5/5

A heartbreaking look at the last hours of Breha and Bail Organa. Despite them realizing their planet’s impending doom, they cling together in love and with hope in their hearts that their daughter is safe.  On a side note- I had a hard time imagining Leia growing up there. Things at the palace were so ornate and orchestrated, instead I thought of Padme.

Verge of Greatness by Pablo Hidalgo  4/5

Evil Empire leaders are taught not to trust anyone else and to only look out for themselves- but if Tarkin and Krennic had been able to work effectively as a team, perhaps then they could have been more powerful than Vader.  I appreciated the shoutout to Galen and Jyn Erso at the end.

Far Too Remote by Jeffrey Brown 4/5

Surprising and funny one panel cartoon from the author/artist who writes children’s books Vader’s Little Princess and Vader and Son.  See book for dialogue! 😉

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The Trigger by Kieron Gillen  3/5

Aphra is a dubious archaeologist who skirts the law on Dantooine. Captured by stormtroopers she talks her way out of trouble. She was an unfamiliar character to me, but her fleshed out backstory hinted that she plays more of a role in Star Wars canon, so I wasn’t surprised to realize she can be found in many Star Wars graphic novels. .

Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon 1/5

Why again are the worst stories the longest stories? Told from the perspective of a mouse droid found on the Death Star.

Bump by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker  3/5

One of the stormtroopers from the Tatooine unit that let the droids by, due to Obi Wan’s mind tricks, is called up to report once that data has been reviewed. He knows he’s in for it, but remains true to the Empire until the end.

End of Watch by Adam Christopher   4/5

Commander Pamel Poul is at the end of her shift on the Death Star and just wants to be off duty. But there seems to be a small problem in one of the detention blocks, and an odd message from an alleged soldier there doesn’t seem to follow protocol…

The Baptist by Nnedi Okorafor   5/5

When a creature is taken from their home planet and taken to the Death Star, I wondered where in the world the story was going. Then I realized it was the garbage disposal monster and I was intrigued. I found this story strangely appealing!

Time of Death by Cavan Scott   3/5

This story had me torn. While in one way I liked having more time with Obi Wan, his after life is a delicate subject matter to tackle. There was one little remembrance that I enjoyed- a missing piece of his lost years at Tatooine when he interacts with a young Luke and his Uncle Owen.

There Is Another by Gary D. Schmidt 3.5/5

This pushed canon a bit too far. While I have always wondered why Leia never trained to use the Force, this story has a certain green somebody quite opposed to training Luke, claiming that Leia would be more suitable. Maybe so, to a degree (see picture below), but he missed Palpatine being a Sith Lord, so maybe just maybe he could be wrong about Luke. (And he was.)

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Palpatine by Ian Doescher 4.5/5

An interesting soliloquy from Palpatine’s perspective that I first listened to and then read to get the full power of his thoughts as it was written in poem form.

Sparks by Paul S. Kemp  4.5/5

Told from the perspective of Dex, a Rebel fighter pilot, during the battle of Yavin 4. This was an action packed story that had an expected sad ending for Gold Two.

Duty Roster by Jason Fry   4/5

Not every Rebel pilot gets to fly when there are not enough ships and Col, aka Fake Wedge (to his chagrin), is not chosen. He is furious at not being picked when newbie Luke Skywalker is selected, but as most of the pilots die, he survives for future missions.

Desert Son by Pierce Brown  4/5

Oh, Biggs Darklighter, we barely knew you…and you seemed so appealing! If only you and Luke had been able to reunite but your heroics helped ensure Luke’s victory.

Grounded by Greg Rucka  4.5/5

Chief Nera Kase, an integral part of the Rebels for her mechanical knowledge, watches as the pilots and ships she cares for head into battle. Not every body can be the flashy hero, but her behind the scenes work is an heroic as any pilot or leader’s contribution. I always root for the solid characters, who often don’t get their due because they are quiet and unassuming.

Contingency Plan by Alexander Freed  4/5

All good leaders should have contingency plans, for even the best laid plans can go sideways in a moment.  Mon Mothma is no exception, and the Rebel victory gives her renewed vigor for the cause.

The Angle by Charles Soule  4.5/5

With the new Solo movie coming out, I couldn’t help but think of our favorite caped scoundrel as being a mix of Donald Glover and Billie Dee Williams. The audio version had this guy voiced perfectly, as he wonders why in the world his fellow rogue Han would risk his life.

By Whatever Sun by E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein  3.5/5

Captain Miara Larte and her crew witnesses the medal ceremony for Luke, Han and Chewbacca. While perhaps it can be argued it was a premature celebration, she feels that the joyful occasion is needed in a time of sorrow. This character was another one I was unfamiliar with, as she is from the Ahsoka book that I have not read yet.

Whills by Tom Angleberger  5/5

Awesome ending! I adored the two Whills scholars debating how to chronicle the Star Wars saga. They debate both where to start the story (Episode IV!) and the wording that we have grown to love.

This book is a must read for all Star Wars fans! It strengthened and filled in gaps in the narrative and this new canon was a treat from beginning to end.


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Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Vol. 12)

Fabletown is gearing up for one last stand against the Dark Man. Pinocchio is assembling a team of the strongest Fables and, in what is seen as a hare-brained scheme by many other Fables, giving them costumes and superhero names reminiscent of those found in the comic books he loves to read. Meanwhile, at the Fortress of the North Wind, a motion to choose a new North Wind is underway. The North Wind has gone missing, leaving Bigby, Snow, and their children confused and hurt. The other Cardinal Winds move in, hoping to choose a child who’ll serve their own ends. The children think it’s obvious who the new king will be, but who ends up being chosen surprises all of them. Will the child step up to the challenge? Will Bigby and Snow be able to do what all parents must do at some point – let go?

What I like about this series is that nothing goes the way you expect it to – this volume was no exception. They could have titled this volume “Fables: Plot Twist Central”! I loved the arc about Pinocchio and his superhero scheme. This series isn’t afraid to poke fun at classic comic book tropes, and the end result is always hilarious. The cubs, thus far, have been more of a side story, and it’s fun to finally see them get more of the spotlight. Not much has gone on in Fabletown as far as “the next generation” goes, and it only adds a new element of intrigue to the story. I can’t wait to see where the story of the kids especially goes from here!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Erick Shanower, Terry Moore, and Andrew Pepoy. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Vol. 12). 2016.

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