Top 5 Graphic Novels in 2010

I know, my blog’s been getting neglected as of late. Blame it on GeekGirlCon, or more importantly, donate to help us raise funds in order to secure our venue. We’re 50% of the way there.

Anyway, in the next couple of days, I’m going to be doing some best of 2010 posts. I should start with the big disclaimer that these are comics I reviewed in 2010. They may have been published earlier than 2010, but I published my review of them in 2010.

To start off: Top 5 Graphic Novels in 2010

Air Vol 15. Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker

Air came highly recommended from several friends, and it held true to its hype. On the back cover, there’s a quote by comic author Jason Aaron saying Air is a “post-9/11 fairy tale, part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, part Lost.” Which I think is the best summation of the adventures of Blythe, the somewhat odd flight attendant with a panic attack-inducing fear of heights. Apparently, the Clearfleet employment recruiter gave her a good talk.

Blythe meets a strange man calling himself Javad/Niko/Manuel, and in the post-9/11 atmosphere, she assumes he’s a terrorist. In fact, when she stalls Javad, her friend and follow attendant Fletcher even questions her ethic profiling.

Read my entire review and buy Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker

Madame Xanadu Vol 1 Disenchanted4. Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley

Madame Xanadu is just an awesome tale that spans centuries. Thanks to the staff at Dreamstrands Comics for recommending the series to me. You were right; I did love it.

Madame Xanadu starts off as the young Nimue Inwudu in the world of Camelot. She is the sister of Morgana le Fey and Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, and they are descendants of the elder folk, each on having magical powers. Nimue is particularly connect to the earth. She’s able to foresee the future by using nature.

Nimue is also the lover of Merlin.

Read my entire review and buy Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley.

Atomic Robo Vol 13. Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne is perhaps one of the most brilliant comics I’ve read in a while. Love it little pieces: the humor, the mixing of genres, Robo’s solution to everything being blowing it up. It just works so well.

I love the care and detail put into designing Atomic Robo. He doesn’t look like other robots. I don’t think Cybermen, Data, or Cylons. I think Atomic Robo, the wacky fighting scientist who’s pretty indestructible.

This story is smart in how it frames Robo’s first battle against Dr. Helsingard and how he becomes Robo’s nemesis. Actually, I like that it was by accident. I like Helsingard being the obsessive one and swearing revenge on Robo, but Robo not really caring. He’s almost taking down Helsingard’s evil plans by accident.

Read my entire review and buy Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is very engaging. I sat down and read the memoir in a couple days; I couldn’t put it down. Satrapi’s story isn’t just that of a young girl growing up in Iran, but also a historical viewpoint on the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Satrapi’s art fits perfectly with the story. It reflects the youth in the story, and the stark black inking works well with the dourness of Marji and her family’s story. But at times, Satrapi’s illustrations are masterful with showing the warmth and love that Majri and her family have for one another.

Read my entire review and buy Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.

Batwoman: Elegy1. Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III

Batwoman: Elegy is by far my favorite book of 2010, and one of my all-time favorite origin stories about a superhero. I love comic books, but face it, most of the time, they’re written for men. Batwoman is the book that I feel I’ve been waiting forever for. Like Batman, Kate Kane (Batwoman) is a socialite from Gotham City. But unlike Batman, she’s a bit of rebel with a rockabilly sense of style and a military background. Both of her parents were in the service, and she follows their lead. However, she is discharge from service under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and her sense of justice and service leads her to become Batwoman.

Elegy follows the story of Batwoman meeting her first villain Alice. Alice is a sharp contrast to Kate with her blonde curls, white outfits, and Lewis Carroll dialog. And since Alice and her crew are determined to sacrifice Kate to their other-wordly gods, Kate has no choice but to confront her. Rucka, a fabulous crime and mystery author, writes a tale of intrigue here, including a big secret about Alice herself.

The art by J.H. Williams III is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a comic book. It enhances the story in every way possible from giving hints to the mystery to switching styles when we see Kate in and out of her Batwoman costumes. Lush and gorgeous.

This is the perfect story for the reader interested in comic books/graphic novels, but doesn’t know where to jump in as Batwoman: Elegy is a self-contained tale. I’d also recommend it for fans of art, crime and mystery stories, military family tales, LGBT narratives, superheros, and anyone who wants to challenge my assertion that Batwoman makes a better Batman than Bruce Wayne.

Read the original review on Ink-Stained Amazon and buy Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III.

Reviews Atomic Robo (Vol 2): Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War

Atomic Robo and the Dogs of WarErica Gives This Comic Four StarsAtomic Robo (Vol 2): “Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War” by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Atomic Robo made me cry. Actually, the introduction by the author and the artist made me cry. Atomic Robo certainly hits on the trend of people my age being fascinated with the between World Wars era and World War II. Plus, it carries some clear steam-punk sensibilities in Robo’s design and some of the monsters he fights. But I think what Clevinger and Wegener hit on in the introductions is something critics of our fascination miss: our relationship with our grandparents, who lived during that time. We were the “latch key” kids of Baby Boomers, who spent a lot of time with grandma and grandpa. (Perhaps even more than our own parents did with theirs as they grew up when Western peoples immigrated or moved across country.) Atomic Robo is a tribute to our grandfathers: of the good things and the humor. People die, but Atomic Robo isn’t here to remind us about the horrors of the war — except perhaps the steam-punk horror inserted into Robo’s villains — but celebrates the best war stories where the good guys win and the bad guys lose. It helps that Atomic Robo’s bulletproof. Continue reading “Reviews Atomic Robo (Vol 2): Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War”

Reviews: Atomic Robo Vol 1

Atomic Robo Vol 1Erica gives this comic five starsAtomic Robo Vol 1 by Brian Clevinger

Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne is perhaps one of the most brilliant comics I’ve read in a while. Love it little pieces: the humor, the mixing of genres, Robo’s solution to everything being blowing it up. It just works so well.

I love the care and detail put into designing Atomic Robo. He doesn’t look like other robots. I don’t think Cybermen, Data, or Cylons. I think Atomic Robo, the wacky fighting scientist who’s pretty indestructible.

This story is smart in how it frames Robo’s first battle against Dr. Helsingard and how he becomes Robo’s nemesis. Actually, I like that it was by accident. I like Helsingard being the obsessive one and swearing revenge on Robo, but Robo not really caring. He’s almost taking down Helsingard’s evil plans by accident.

The first issue is a little slow, but it really takes off from there and doesn’t stop. I didn’t want to put it down. In fact, I didn’t, reading it from cover to cover.

The part with Robo reflecting on his now-deceased WWII army buddy Charlie worked brilliantly in both establishing Robo’s age, but also his emotions. Especially since before that he either seemed to be enthusiastically blowing stuff up or annoyed at people trying to destroy him.

And it’s good to see that Robo’s fame hasn’t gone to his head.

Of course, there was mummies.

The story about Robo going to Mars was brilliant. I love Stephen Hawking hacking his psychological profile, and Robo not having enough magazines to last him the trip. Robo writing “Stephen Hawking is a bastard” on Mars in rocks, while being extremely happy about it was brilliant. It does remind me of the Tick villain writing on the moon.

Atomic Robo: Stephen Hawking is a bastard

I also enjoy how subtle the characterization of Robo’s team comes out in their crisis management. Granted Jenkins’ gets his short-story in the B-sides.

Of course, Robo killed Helsingard and blew the top of the pyramid. And like any good villain, Helsingard has back-ups. Of his brain. Mwahaha.

Atomic Robo is pure fun and enjoyment.

Read about this awesome robot and support this blog, buy Atomic Robo TPB Volume 1: Atomic Robo & the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne.