Comic Book Tuesday: Asterix Omnibus #2 by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo

Author: René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo (Illustrations)
Series: Astérix le Gaulois
Audience: +7
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Papercutz
Release Date: July 14th 2020
My Rating: 3.5 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Asterix mixes it up with everyone from Julius Caesar to Cleopatra in this outstanding Omnibus!

After conquering Europe, where this feisty, little warrior is a true pop culture super-star, Asterix is invading America with another three classic adventures, newly translated into American English. Asterix conquered Europe ironically by keeping his tiny village in Gaul from being conquered by the Roman Empire. Turns out, Asterix and his fellow villagers have a secret weapon, a potion that imbues them all with super strength. But the Romans aren’t about to give up no matter how many times Asterix and his friends fend them off. These classic comics are not only incredibly entertaining, filled with humor, adventure, and great characters, but the historic figures are brought to life in a way that’s exciting and humanizing, providing educational elements to each story, similar to the Geronimo Stilton graphic novels.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Papercutz and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

I’m back with another comic book review and guys, this is probably my most anticipated read. Let me give you a little backstory before I begin, shall we? So child Ruby had the chance to discover comic books…erm… over 20 years ago. But she had no idea that girls read comic books, much less that it wasn’t just for children. So she didn’t take advantage of the chance. Because my first comic book, that I have no idea how I ended up owning, by the way, is Asterix and Cleopatra. Unfortunately I don’t have it where I live now, otherwise I probably would have devoured it by now. Which brings us to today’s review.

The minute I saw an Asterix comic on NetGalley, I knew I had to jump on it. I was fortunate enough to be granted my request, and here we are. Let’s get started!Read More »

Comic Book Tuesday: Blackbird by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, Triona Farrell


Author: Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel (Artist), Triona Farrell (Colourist)
Series: Blackbird #1-6
Audience: +16
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: May 14th 2019
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: Image Comics
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Nina Rodriguez knows a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals is hiding in Los Angeles. When a giant magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past (and her demons) to get her sister back and reclaim her life. Don’t miss the first collection of the smash-hit neo-noir fantasy series from fan-favorite writer SAM HUMPHRIES (Harley Quinn, Nightwing) and red-hot artist JEN BARTEL (Mighty Thor)!

Collects BLACKBIRD #1-6

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Image Comics in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Trigger warning: substance abuse

Aside from books, I’ve collected some comic book ARCs over the last few months and I thought that it’s finally time to read them. First up is this really interesting story by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, and Triona Farrell. Let’s dive right into it.


I need to start by talking about the art. I am not familiar with either the artist or the colourist, so I didn’t have wild expectations, but I knew just based on the cover art that it was going to be magnificent. And I was right.

The art is simply fantastic. The colors are really bold, the lines are sharp, and while the panels may seem a bit crowded, it’s the first time I didn’t mind that. It felt like the art just added some very good details to the story, and I liked that very much. If I were to rate only the art, this would get at least 7 stars from me, that’s how in love I am with the art part of this comic book.

The story setting was interesting. Nina Rodriguez is trying to find magic. She’s obsessed with magic, ever since the night of a really devastating earthquake, which she kind of had a premonition about. As Nina gets desperate to rescue her sister, she starts finding out secrets about her family, things she didn’t see coming. Normally, this would be the kind of story I’d love. The problem for me was that the story felt too rushed in some places, while it was too slow in other places.

While I liked finding out the things that were uncovered of Nina’s family, I wish it would have been explored more. Nina was told constantly that she needed to go back to living in a world without magic, but no one actually explained why. Why was it dangerous for her, why were people after her? I felt like very few things were properly explained, which took me out of the story a few times.

There’s also a love interest, and I’ll be honest: I wasn’t into it. The story alternates between having them fight, to having them be friends, and then they’re flirting, only to go back to fighting. The only part I truly enjoyed about this relationship is the reveal at the end. We’re left with a huge question regarding Clint and that is actually the only thing I enjoyed about their relationship.

I will probably read volume 2 if and when it comes out, because I am curious to see where the story goes, but I would have loved more details and more worldbuilding in this first volume.

Comic Book Tuesday: Paradox Girl Volume 1 by Cayti Bourquin, Yishan Li

Author: Cayti Bourquin, Yishan Li
Series: Paradox Girl
Audience: +16
Genre: Graphic Novel,
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 4th 2019
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: Image Comics
Blurb (from Goodreads):

As a hero with the power to go anywhere and anywhen, Paradox Girl has made an absolute mess of her own life. She’s changed history so often that isn’t even sure who she is anymore. Join her in this superhero comedy as she tries to make sense of her chaotic existence, chases bizzare whims, and maybe even finds time to save the day once in a while.
Collecting the first cycle of six issues of Paradox Girl, in which new writer Cayti Bourquin playfully explores questions of time, meaning and identity. A book which rewards multiple readings as PG jumps from panel to panel, weaving a complex tangle of timelines.

Collects PARADOX GIRL #1-6

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Image Comics in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

It’s been a while since I read a comic book I wanted to talk to everyone about, really. Not because I haven’t read any comic books until now, but because I just didn’t feel like I had something to say. Well people, Paradox Girl gave me plenty to say and I am happy about that.

I picked up this book because I was curious. The cover had me do a double take, because I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things or if that truly was the same character in different outfits. After reading just a few pages, I was hooked.


Let’s start with the story, shall we? This is probably the first time I’ve ever read about the same character being both the villain and the hero, but I loved that. I loved the fact that I didn’t know what was happening or who I should trust. What would happen if someone went back in time to change things? Would they be the same person? How much of their own personal story would be altered? Would they still be the one of the good guys? That is what Paradox Girl has to deal with every time she changes something about the timeline.

The story focuses on the abuse of power in such an interesting way. I almost didn’t catch that thread in the stories, but then one of the issues was about an old man and his broken watch and then it all clicked. Is it abuse of power if a superhero tries to do good? Is overusing one’s superpower bad even if it’s justified by the desire to do good? Paradox Girl has to face the consequences of her time travelling antics each and every day, from having 3 other Paradox Girls as roommates, to having to fight a villainous version of herself. The thing I liked most about this is that the typical rules of time travel in SciFi aren’t there. You don’t see Paradox Girl go insane or erase herself from the timeline when she sees herself, because she’s created so many versions of herself, that even if two were erased hundreds more would still exist.

The dangers of time travel are usually mentioned when it comes to either the creation of parallel timelines or the insanity that one may develop as a result. This was the first time I’ve ever seen erasing one’s name and personal history being mentioned as a possibility, as well as the creation of multiple identities. I loved this idea that each time Paradox Girl went back in time she created yet another version of herself, just as I loved the idea of her alterations not being always on the good side of things. In one of the issues Paradox Girl is trying to stop a bomb from exploding on a train, and she realizes that train is full only of alternate versions of herself: she’s the train conductor, the bombshell, the villain, the male-like spy trying to discover and diffuse the bomb, the server, the other passengers, the bartender. She is each and every one of these characters and it’s difficult to know which one of these versions is the original ones. According to the bombshell, each of these versions where created in Paradox Girl’s attempts to diffuse the bomb many, many times. In fact, one of her versions mentioned how the villain version of herself has “been each and every character on this train”. I loved that so much. Usually when people play the “what if” games, we always envision a better future for ourselves, but what if altering one piece of the story would turn future-us into villains? And what if we could see that happen?

The art was pretty good, and it followed the story pretty well. The colors were very bright and they usually matched the personality of whichever Paradox Girl the story was focused on. I liked that the panels weren’t crowded with text. There were a lot of details to follow in the drawings that too much text would have taken away from them in my opinion. I would have wanted to see Paradox Girl have even different physical alterations, than just her haircut and wardrobe choices, but maybe in the future we will see that.

All in all, I really was surprised by this book. I went in expecting a typical superhero story and instead I got a story much more complex than that. I laughed, I cringed, and I suffered from second hand embarrassment at times, but I truly enjoyed reading this book. I’m hoping there’s going to be a second volume, because I cannot wait to see what adventures Paradox Girl and her different versions are going on next.

Comic Book Tuesday: Sunstone Vol.1 by Stjepan Šejić

Sunstone Vol.1 by Stjepan ŠejićAuthor: Stjepan Šejić
Series: Sunstone #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Graphic Novel, Erotic Romance, BDSM
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 6th 2015
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: DeviantArt
Blurb (from Goodreads):

«Sexual nerds. That is what BDSM people are, behind all the pretense…»

From critically-acclaimed creator Stjepan Šejić (Death Vigil, Ravine, Aphrodite IX, Witchblade) comes Sunstone, a love story like no other.

Lisa’s tastes were always…unique. Longing to be restrained, without restrain. Lisa always felt like something was missing from her love life─until she met Ally. Ally was implacably ordinary─successful job, nice house, an average childhood─except for her preference for bedroom domination.

Originally posted on DeviantArt, this books collects the first volume of the often erotic, always amusing, and surprisingly heartfelt Sunstone.

*Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As such, my review may contain references to themes intended for a mature audience.

It’s funny how things come full circle. The first full comic book volume I ever reviewed was Death Vigil by Stjepan Šejić, and while at the time I adored it and I wanted to read more of his works, specifically Sunstone, I knew I was still a newbie to comic books and I probably wouldn’t have done this book justice at the time. I also was somewhat scared to read this book and I knew I had to keep my expectations in check, but let me tell you, I had nothing to worry about.

Story


Sunstone is the story of Lisa and Ally as they navigate the world of BDSM together, as a pair of newbie Domme and newbie sub, while trying to not fall in love with each other. As someone who’s read a ton of erotic romance, I was honestly expecting a lot of sexual activities with less focus on the characters. What surprised me is that this story is so much more than just the portrayal of one couple’s sexual encounters. It’s an exploration of sexuality and femininity in ways I haven’t encountered in a long time.

Although this is still an erotic book, the focus isn’t so much the sexual act itself, but the mental and emotional state that is involved in the sexual encounter. There are a lot of panels that show the importance of open and honest communication when entering a sexual relationship with someone, but also the huge importance communication has, regardless of the nature of a relationship. Friendships are also based on honest communications, and Šejić did a fantastic job to show that time and again. It’s not just a one-time thing, the communication aspect is one of the main themes of this book.

Trust is also a very important aspect of the story. Although certain steps of the story aren’t presented in detail, you still get to learn the fact that Lisa and Ally talked about their health, they did their STD testing before they hooked up, Ally’s best friend knew that Lisa was spending the night at her place, so he went to check up on them.

I also loved the fact that BDSM is not explored through the eyes of someone with a traumatic childhood. So far I haven’t seen any indication that Ally or Lisa were abused growing up, and that makes me very, very happy.

Art

The art is, as I was expecting from Šejić, amazing. The panels aren’t overly crowded with text boxes, and the vivid colors match the mood of the book perfectly, with reds, oranges, blacks, yellows and browns being more present overall. I did however experience a little bit of a difficulty reading some of the pages. Since I was reading this book on my tablet, I had just a tiny bit of issue with double spreads, but overall this comic book is easy to follow along. Personally, even though they were harder to read, I loved the double spreads and the bigger panels just a little bit more, because it allowed for more in-depth drawings that matched the story perfectly.

Overall

All in all I truly enjoyed reading this book and I’m so excited to read the other volumes.

4.5 cups rating

Comic Book Tuesday: Xena: Penance by Meredith Finch

Author: Meredith Finch
Series: N/A
Audience: +16
Genre: Comic Book
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: October 9th 2018
My Rating: 3 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):

The path to redemption is never easy, and the journey of a warrior princess seeking to wash the blood of innocents from her hands is no exception. Xena travels to Athens, to plead for redemption in the temple of Eleos. But some things can never be forgiven and the shadows of past sins are long. Will Xena find redemption or betrayal waiting for her in the temple of the gods? The power, the passion, the danger… her courage would change the world. Xena: Warrior Princess.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Dynamite Entertainment and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.


Growing up, Xena was my go-to TV show ever. It was THE show to watch every Sunday morning and I would watch it religiously. Now, I can honestly say it’s still one of my favorite TV shows ever, so any chance I get to be reminded of those stories and characters I’ll take it and see where it goes.

I really enjoyed the art in this comic book. The panels are very nice and not overly crowded with dialogue. The colors were also very vivid and the tones chosen matched the tone of the scenes they were depicting.

I also liked that the artist didn’t try to create perfect portraits of the actresses from the show. Although I’d love nothing more than to see Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor back in their roles as Xena and Gabrielle, I do like the fact that the artist stayed true to their vision of the characters and not force a portrait-like drawing that likely would have taken me out of the story.

Sadly, it’s the story that truly disappointed me. If you’ve watched the show, you probably remember a little bit about the details. If you’ve watched it countless times, you remember the smaller details. Well, Penance kind of felt like an alternate universe story, in which Gabrielle’s costume looks like it did after she became an Amazon but without actually being an Amazon able to defend herself, in which she had never seen a cyclops, and Callisto was a villain capable of leading an army. I’m not mad about it, but I definitely wasn’t a fan of where the author went with this story. I also wonder if the costume choice for Gabrielle was made by the author or by the artist, but either way that was the thing that bothered me the most. I feel like there was so much to explore with that title, and this story almost misses the point. I would have wanted to see Xena making the decision to change who she is, in the few moments before she hides her weapons and gives up her warrior clothes in the first few seconds of the pilot episodes. I would have wanted to see Gabrielle in the first few months after the end of the show, when Xena died. Why Ares started to hunt down Xena in the present time and how he once again became the amoral god of war that he was in the earlier seasons. A reimagining of how Xena and Gabrielle met and how Xena found out about Callisto was definitely not what I was imagining when I started reading this book.

That being said, if I look at the story on its own and try really hard to forget about the show, and imagine that this is the very first time Xena appeared in the world, then the story is pretty compelling and interesting. There’s a woman who lost her soul and is trying to make up for her past mistakes, a young girl in search of a different life, and a cunning villain that is looking for revenge. You can see Xena is a woman tormented by her past, but I think this torment is still in the early stage, as she doesn’t truly know what to do in order to make up for what she did in the past. Then you have the innocent Gabrielle, a bard who left home in order to escape the future that was awaiting her. Gabrielle was a little bit too annoying for my taste, and her clumsiness was not endearing, more like irritating. I did chuckle a few times, but all in all I can’t say I can see Xena and Gabrielle be friends forever. Callisto was truly the most interesting point of the story in my opinion. Lately I’ve been very interested in seeing the villain’s side of the story, so I was anxiously waiting to see a little bit more of Callisto’s background, but it wasn’t explored as much as I wanted it to be.

When I saw this book on Netgalley I truly was expecting something great, something new, an exploration of a hidden corner in Xena’s mind, a new story within the universe. While the story was interesting, it wasn’t what I had hoped for and the nerd in me was bothered by the misuse of some of the finer details of the universe.

Comic Book Tuesday #31: The Altered History Of Willow Sparks by Tara O’Connor

Author: Tara O’Connor
Series: N/A
Audience: +15
Genre: Comic Book
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: March 6th 201
My Rating: 3.5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):

What happens when you can finally get everything you ever wanted?

Willow Sparks and her best friend Georgia Pratt are at the bottom of the social ladder at Twin Pines High School, just trying to get through each day relatively unscathed. But when Willow finds a mysterious book that allows her to literally change her life, it feels like her luck is finally turning. Becoming more and more popular with each entry into the book, her old life, including her friendship with Georgia, seems miles away. Yet as Willow will discover, every action has a reaction, and the future has unusual—even dangerous—ways of protecting itself.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Oni Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

Have you ever read a book that made you wish you had something similar back when you were a teenager? That’s what this book made me think once I finished reading it. I wish I had this book back when I was an awkward teen.

The idea of the book is pretty simple: you have a regular teenage girl, Willow, working at a library in her spare time, that isn’t popular, and is bullied, alongside her best friend, Georgia, by a group of really popular kids. After an incident in the library, she discovers some books, one of which carries her name. Once she realizes what this book really is, she takes it, and tries to write herself a better story. Simple, right? Something I most certainly would have done had I been in Willow’s shoes. Because what teen doesn’t want to escape those years, when it’s all awkward, and when acne, bad hair days, not being noticed by your crush, and not being picked for one of the teams in sports class seem like the worst thing that could ever happen.

But as simple as it may seem, it’s also really complex. Because in doing so, Willow has to face the consequences of her actions, one of which is losing her best friend. The other visible effect of Willow altering her life in such a way is the signs that she has on her, some marks that look like lines made with a pen. I kind of get the symbolism behind it, but I would have wanted a bit more time spent on that aspect. I loved the fact that Georgia, Willow’s best friend, lectures her on the fact that she’s using this book to have an easier life, when she should find a different way to deal with life. At the same time, Georgia is going through some changes in her life, and seeing Willow exchanging their friendship for the company of the popular kids in school hurts her enough to stop trying to reason with Willow.

While the story itself is great, and some of the effects of Willow’s tampering are mostly explored in this book, there were a few things that were left untouched, like the parents angle. I would have wanted Willow’s parents to notice something. There’s an interesting moment that shows the limitations of the book, but it wasn’t completely explored. I am hoping that there’s a volume 2 in the works, because the ending was a bit too abrupt. While I do remember how fights between friends resolved at that age (God knows I’ve had some of the most “epic” fights with my BFFs that ended in tears 5 minutes afterwards and promises to never fight again), I feel like Willow needs to face the school crowd without the help of the book, she needs to be exposed to the same popular kids after she returned her book. I’d love to see how she’s going to do that.

Aside from that, there’s a wonderful moment of someone having a crush on somebody, and it turns out that somebody is a gay character, and it’s a beautiful conversation between friends that warmed my heart, really.

The artwork is pretty simple. It wasn’t the best I’ve seen, but it’s cute and it’s in line with the story. The drawings are black-and-white, which is a nice change for me. The panels were easy to follow, and they weren’t too crowded by dialogue. I liked the fact that the author shares, at the end of the book, a little bit of this book’s history, with the changes in artwork that went on over the years. I’ve said this before, but I really enjoy seeing this behind-the-scenes type of segment in comic books.

Overall, this was a pretty good book, but I would have wanted a bit more. I hope the story will be continued in the future, and I’ll definitely read the next volume if and when it comes out.

Comic Book Tuesday #30: Charmed: A Thousand Deaths by Erica Schultz

Author: Erica Schultz
Series: Charmed Vol. 1
Audience: +18
Genre: Comic Book
Publisher: Dynamite Book Distributors
Release Date: October 11th 2017
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Dynamite Entertainment is proud to continue the story of Phoebe, Piper, and Paige, television’s fan-favorite witches, in all-new adventures set within the official continuity of Charmed! A dark force has set its sights on the art world of San Francisco, utilizing a gallery exhibit to feed souls to the underworld and unleash demons into our reality. Only the Power of Three, harnessed by the Halliwell sisters, can stop the madness! Collects issues 1-5.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Dynamite Book Distributors in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

I have a confession to make: I haven’t watched Charmed. I watched a few episodes back in the day, but it didn’t catch me. I don’t know why exactly. My guess is it was because it was airing at the same time as Buffy, and I loved Buffy, and I was a one-TV show kind of girl at the time. I was a kid, okay? Anyway, I saw this on Netgalley a few weeks ago and I thought I’d give the Charmed sisters another try, and now I’m kinda thinking about watching the show too.

The story in this comic book is pretty simple, when you think about it. Basically a bad guy with a lot of power wants to bring some pain and mayhem on Earth and decides to help another bad guy that wants the sisters dead. I feel that for the number of issues this volume had, the story was enough, however I kept wishing for a bit more depth. There were a lot of things that could have been explored more, like what Shaina can do and what are the limits of her power, what this place where souls go is like and more. I also didn’t particularly like the fact that for as bad as he was, the sisters managed to get rid of the villain so fast, based on how devious he was. Djall was pretty smart and pretty evil, and I believe he deserved a bit more struggle from the sisters’ part. That being said, the story is pretty short, so it kind of makes sense that it was all solved so quickly.

The artwork was pretty amazing. I liked it a lot. The panels weren’t too crowded, and they were easy to read and to follow. The colors used were very pretty and vibrant, but they also got pretty dark when the story went to darker scenes, which I liked. I love it when the color tones follow the story-line like that.

All in all, this was a pretty good story, and it made me curious about the sister and their stories, so I might be inclined to watch the show now.