Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Graphic Novel mini-reviews #18

Fables: Wolves (Volume #8)

Written by: Bill Willingham; Illustrated by: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus, Andrew Pepoy

Published: 2006

My Thoughts: There was a lot to like about this volume but it also had a few issues I just can't quite get past. After being exiled from Fabletown Bigby went on the run and since then Mowgli has been trying to find him with little luck. Mowgli finally finds Bigby and convinces him to come back to perform a secret agent style mission back in the Homelands in exhange for being able to reunite with Snow and their children. But when Mowgli finds Bigby he's shacked up with another woman. Why? Is this going to play into it somehow, will she be coming back? We know that Snow has been waiting for Bigby's return, so is this just to show us that he's a pretty shitty dude or is it about something else? He's supposedly loved Snow since they first met and he's always been a bit of a loner so why did he need companionship? I just don't understand what this serves and it felt kind of hacky. As for the actual mission he goes on - that I liked. It's pushing the story into an interesting direction and I think there'll be some action-heavy volumes coming up. I also really liked Cinderella's story arc in here, secret agent/assassin  is a much better career than Stepmother's cleaner or Prince Charming's wife. She actually reminds me a bit of Buffy minus the vampires which could never be a bad thing right?

The Strain (Volume 1)

Written by: David Lapham; Illustrated by: Mike Huddleston

Published: 2012

My Thoughts: While I wasn't wowed by the book, there were elements I really loved. The vampires for one. The medical investigation for another. The graphic novel streamlines the book; it cuts out some of the unnecessary waste, reshuffles the plot order, places some reveals earlier (where it holds much more weight) and visually depicts the nightmarish vampires Del Toro created. The art style is dark and frenetic, perfectly representing the chaos and panic of the narrative. The vampires are horrific, gory and terrifying. Eph and Nora are much better with less time spent on unnecessary characterisation, and Setrakians flashbacks work beautifully in this medium. It's a much tighter and successful story, and I think I might stick to the graphic novel from now on.

Batman - Streets of Gotham: The House of Hush (Volume 3)

Written by: Paul Dini; Illustrated by: Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs

Published: 2011

My Thoughts: I haven't read the previous two volumes but I decided to pick this one up when I was at the library and realised how long it'd been since I'd read some Batman. I don't know how this went in concluding the story set up in the previous two volumes, but I thought it was interesting - and easy to get on top of considering I was coming in for the final act. There's a side-along story about a small time crook named The Carpenter who builds traps and hide-outs for Gotham's villains that was fun but went way too far in the pun department. The main story was typical for a Batman comic, vengeance, mistaken identities, double and triple crossing. I like the illustration style but did find that the tall, handsome, dark haired dudes got pretty hard to tell apart by the end. A problem exacerbated by the fact that there are two Bruce Waynes featured in this story. Not bad though, might go back and read the first two.


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