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Brenden Fletcher

Guest Post on 2018 YASF Tournament of Books

As the Teen Services Coordinator at my library, I attend a networking group with other librarians who work with teens in the Chicagoland suburb area. For several years the YASF (Young Adult Services Forum) group has had a yearly Tournament of Books for YA novels, and this is my third year participating.

This year I was assigned sci-fi novel Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson and graphic novel Motor Crush by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr. Which book do you think I pushed onto the next bracket? Click here and find out which one (you might be surprised!).

-Nancy

Motor Crush

I’m crushing on Motor Crush!

This new series comes from the talented team that did Batgirl of Burnside, for which Kathleen reviewed Volumes One and Two. I was assigned this graphic novel to read for the Tournament of Books that I participate in yearly with other teen librarians in my area, and I’m glad, as this action adventure/ sci-fi book wasn’t on my radar yet.

Domino Swift is a beautiful young woman who races motorcycles for a living as did her famous father years ago. In a world similar to ours, but set in the indeterminate future, the World Grand Prix dominates social media and the economy. Domino is one of the top racers on the circuit, but at night she participates secretly in bike races with gang members to illegally obtain a machine stimulant called Crush. There is an undercurrent of crime and addiction that run through the narrative, with an out of left field twist about Domino’s origins. Many unanswered questions start to build at the end, with story lines set up for future volumes.

An appealing romance is established between Domino and pink haired Lola, who is an ace mechanic. While currently not dating, the two are still connected and their relationship is accepted by everyone around them. That their relationship is natural and easy is a plus, it’s part of the narrative, no more or no less than any other characters. Kudos for the representation!

The art is top notch with bold anime-inspired illustrations in Babs Tarr’s distinctive style. The team give Domino and Lola a fresh look, and the panels and splash pages have some nice variety.

That the volume ends on an intriguing cliff hanger will bring me back for more!

-Nancy

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Flecther, Brenden, Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr. Motor Crush. 2017.

Batgirl of Burnside, Vol. 2: Family Business

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Stewart, Cameron, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr. Batgirl, Vol 2: Family Business. 2016.

Since it was such a beautiful day yesterday, I decided to walk to the comic book store near me. I went in for ONE THING (Bombshells #4, which is on backorder and not being delivered for another 2 weeks) and ended up spending $35. Why do I do this.

But this is where most of my money went XD I was so excited! I didn’t even know it was out!!! I absolutely had to get it and I devoured it as soon as I got home.

While rescuing people from a real life, very deadly, video game, Batgirl uncovers a cult devoted to Hooq, the social media site she took down in the last volume. They are worshipping a vessel that, as it turns out, contains Livewire. As she goes in for the takedown, Batman shows up – or, at least, a giant robot that looks like Batman, and who wants to arrest Batgirl! She manages to get away, but how long can she evade him? Gladius’ gang are kidnapping diplomats, and someone is releasing tigers into Luke Fox’s (Lucius’ son) new company to kill the employees, and on top of it all, Barbara is the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding! How can she possibly do it all?

A bunch of characters show up here, so be prepared to say hello to some of your favorites! This volume kind of deviates from Barbara’s college experience, so there isn’t as much of it here as there was in the last. There was a single issue in the middle that changed art styles three times, which was super annoying. But overall, it had the same fun and light-hearted feel as the first volume.

This volume was just released on February 23, so no word yet on when the third volume is coming. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for it, though!

– Kathleen

Batgirl of Burnside

Stewart, Cameron. Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside. DC Comics, 2015. 

This comic is a part of the New 52, the big reboot DC started a couple years ago. Barbara Gordon, college student, moves into a new apartment in the hip college district of Burnside during her senior year. When her laptop is stolen and a fire burns down her friend Dinah’s warehouse, where she kept all her Batgirl gear, Barbara seizes on this chance to reinvent Batgirl. The new Batgirl’s adventures take place not only on the streets and rooftops of Burnside, but on social media as hundreds of Barbara’s peers follow and like her every move and picture. But what happens when Batgirl’s adoring fan base turns against her?

In contrast to a lot of the darker superhero stories of today, this one is a breath of fresh air. It recalls the Barbara of the Batman animated series of the ’90s. Here we get a chance to see Barbara during her college years, balancing her schoolwork, social life, and vigilante life, while still being her smart, snarky, and kick-butt self. The art is clean, cute, and dynamic. If you like your graphic novels light-hearted, this is the one for you! Check out our copy today!

-Kathleen

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