Book Reviews: Witches, Lion Love, and Serial Daters

Snark of the Day:
“Your IQ test came back negative.”

Time for another collection of graphic novels, ranging from gritty paranormal detective to instinctual animal love to snarky dramatic kids to the perils of modern dating.

Black Magick Volume 1: Awakening, Part One
A hot blonde leads a group of cultists in the woods through a ritual. . . until someone’s cell phone goes off and she loses it. The call is for a police detective, who leaves the coven and hops on her bike to a hostage situation, where the bad guy wants to talk to her. Apparently witch hunters are using magic now too; if you’re a witch that doesn’t sound fair at all.
What I liked about this story was, despite it being done in black and white and shades of grey—the artwork is, for lack of a better word, gritty—there’s a bit of subversive humor to go along with all the unexpectedness. For instance, the blonde witch who leads the coven and get so angry at being interrupted turns out to be a grade school teacher in real life. There’s a part in the middle where it helps to know German, but not necessary.
Something more evil than witchhunters is afoot, but that won’t be revealed till the next volume.

Love: The Lion
Having read the previous one, which took place in the Arctic, I was looking forward to this one, obviously placed in Africa. As before there’s absolutely no dialogue; the animals definitely do not talk, but there’s plenty you can understand of their emotions through their facial gestures.
A typical scene features a lioness tackling an antelope-type animal, but it slips away and forces the lioness to get crafty. It works; the pride eats the kill in the rain and defends it from hyenas.
But the main story follows one of the lions, who takes off to look for his own land, getting into fights with every other male lion he comes across. He follows a vulture to an area teeming with animals, where a horselike creature frolics with insects as everyone heads off to the river. There’s already a pride of lions there, scaring all the animals into crossing the river, where the crocodiles feast. One lioness gets a faceful of buffalo kick, but another takes down a zebra so all can dine. There’s shots of a cub pulling on daddy’s whiskers while others play soccer with a poor armadillo.
All these books have a huge plot point near the end, like the volcano in the last one; here a plane goes down and starts a big fire. The burning ostrich is surreal, even more so that the suddenly bleak landscape.
But what really makes this volume different is the ending, which is a downer compared to the previous. The story wasn’t as concise; whereas in the last one we eventually found out why the fox was acting so strange, here the ending doesn’t feel like it has closure. I can make an assumption as to where the writer was going with this, but it isn’t spelled out enough for me to buy it.
But of course the artwork is luscious, and more than enough reason to get this.

Camp Midnight
A “teen-ish”—her word—girl is dropped off by her mom with her dad and step-monster—again her word. Mom is off to Rwanda with Doctors Without Borders, and it says something about how much Skye hates her stepmother that she’d rather go to deepest poorest Africa than spend time with her. As though her dramatics aren’t obvious enough, there’s one panel where she’s crying while holding an Oscar; no idea where she pulled that from, but most readers probably wouldn’t have recognized a Razzie.
Anyhoo, she’s put on a bus—literally—and sent to camp, as you knew from the title. It’s a strangely quiet bus full of kids, though she does make a quick friend in Mia, who is a perfect introduction as to just how weird this story is going to be. Of course the camp doesn’t turn out to be as bad as Skye imagined it, especially with the hot boy finding her interesting.
There’s a LOT of snark—and that means something coming from me—from Skye, but Mia takes it at face value, thinking her new bestie is kidding. It was kinda obvious what Mia was, but that just made me like her more. She was my fave character, especially since she actually has her own Cloud 9
Best line: “I got kissed by a boy!. . . or did I get licked by a wolf?”
And of course she has to learn a lesson, but it’s not too heavy-handed.
The artwork is more geared toward younger readers, as of course the story is; it’s not spectacular, but it’s certainly good enough.

Love Addict: Confessions of a Serial Dater
In the intro the nebbish-looking guy in question meets a cute girl while selling his junk—not a euphemism—but then skips ahead to them moving in together and the breakup, leaving us in the present.
The first chapter involves all the women he’s gone out with that he met through a dating app, all of whom are comedically not-good in one way or another. But by the next section he’s moved on to one-night stands, though he always wonders if the women are only pretending to enjoy having sex with him. In the next chapter he’s gone so far he now realizes, “The weirdest thing was, the more arrogant I became, the better luck I had with women.” He can’t even keep the names or memories with the women straight.
There’s some incredibly funny stuff in here, mostly when he’s around his female friend—so as not to call her his “girlfriend.” She’s the one to give him reality checks, but he’s reached the point where he can’t be in a relationship because he keeps checking out other women. His big presentation is screwed up by the worst wrong image ever, but it takes a drunk hookup and wondering if he had unprotected sex to finally make him see what he’s become. . . except when he can’t get his roommate to have a drink with him, he winds up snorting coke in a public restroom. By the end he’s so used to one-night stands he almost rapes a girl on her birthday.
His fate is left undetermined, but he certainly didn’t earn a happy ending. By the end it quit being funny and turned into an anvillicious cautionary tale.
Artwork is pretty normal, certainly nothing wrong with it. Probably won’t even be noticed with all the stuff going on.



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