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werewolves

Squad

Heathers + Pretty Little Liars + Werewolves = Squad!

Becca is nervous about starting a new high school after her parent’s divorce, but she is unexpectedly friended by Marley, one of a trio of popular girls. The other two, Amanda and RiRi, also accept her and soon they are a quartet. Becca endures a lot of peer pressure and veiled jabs from the group but is thrilled to belong. A shocking secret is revealed when the girls save Becca from a possible sexual assault at a beach party- they are werewolves! Becca with few qualms joins the squad, even knowing they need to kill once a month.

The group tries to spread out their killings to avoid detection and only prey upon creeps, but they don’t always succeed. Things come to a head when Becca accidentally kills Thatcher, RiRi’s boyfriend and a prominent athlete, and the girls end up leaving clues behind. The school population thinks the girls had something to do with it, yet they have no idea the true nature of the crime. Eventually, they cover their tracks to the public but now are on the radar of Allyson, a college student and former Alpha of the group who realizes the high school group of wolves are getting sloppy. In the midst of all this chaos, Becca and Mandy begin a sweet romance, with juxtaposes against the gore of the killings.

The art is bright and bold, with somewhat of a retro vibe. When the squad becomes werewolves the colors shift to a darker jewel-tone palette with black borders. Each girl stands out, with a nice variety of types found in the student body. Fashionistas will appreciate all the clothing changes and hairstyles of the girls.

This tale of fighting back against toxic masculinity is imperfectly told and requires a huge suspension of disbelief, yet was a fun read. Its chosen YA audience will eat it up (pun intended)!

-Nancy

High Moon

High Moon is an interesting genre mash up of western, horror and steam punk that I read online.  Originally released between 2007-10 by Zuda Comics, an imprint of DC Comics, it is now being re-released by Papercutz.

This western begins in 1890 in the fictional town of Blest, Texas, which is enduring drought and devilry. Bounty-hunter Matthew MacGregor, a former Pinkerton detective, comes to town under the guise of looking for Eddie Conroy who is wanted by the state of Texas. The young daughter of the local robber baron has been kidnapped, and MacGregor is on the case, and receives some help by the town deputy, sheriff’s daughter and doctor. Surly and mysterious, Macgregor seems to deny that werewolves could be the culprits of recent deaths. A Scottish tartan and guns engraved with the words “Gáe Bulg” point to him being an immigrant or at least descended from one,  but they are the few hints we are given of his past. His battle against the many monsters and the final showdown between them raised more questions about his connection to the paranormal and occult.

Part two now moves to Ragged Rock, Oklahoma with Conroy taking over the mantle of bounty hunter. We get some flashbacks to Conroy’s slave past, yet his connection to another black family that has settled in OK after Emancipation confused me. He gets in the middle of a domestic dispute between two brothers fighting over the love of one woman. The men’s mother uses some Hoodoo magic to help Conroy battle some supernatural monsters, plus Matthew’s brother Tristan has shown up to assist. Tristan has a mechanical arm and utilizes steampunk apparatus to fight.

The art has an appropriate color scheme of sepia tones with an Old West feel to the people and dusty terrain. I was unnerved at how much MacGregor looked like Wolverine in Old Man Logan, and it actually became somewhat distracting. I wanted to call him Logan and expected claws to pop out at any moment. The creatures are appealingly grotesque, and the pages had a nice variety of different panels and layout, so I felt the visuals were top notch.

I received the online book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had quite a bit of trouble navigating through the book and double checking details, but I won’t count that against the story, for it very well could have been an issue with my tablet. I found the narrative intriguing,  but will not be visiting this supernatural region again as I found it too complicated and frustrating to follow.

-Nancy

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