Book Reviews: Another Graphic Post

“I assume every woman I’m interested in is married. Saves time.”

Wynonna Earp Volume 1: Homecoming
Never heard of either this series or the TV show, where a descendant of Wyatt Earp is part of a federal agency that kills monsters and zombies and the like; the things you learn when you don’t have cable. . .
There’s a short but satisfactory intro, leading right into some gruesome humor; talk about setting a tone. Another tone-setter is the zombies, as well as Federal Agent Dolls, who’s complaining about all the gore stinking up his ride, yet lets her into the car and doesn’t seem to care she left gore all over the passenger seat. So that’s what the relationship between these crime-fighting partners is like, although there’s a surprising but nice moment later when they have a genuine heart-to-heart.
There’s a lot of fun touches that keep this from being just another shoot-‘em-up zombiefest. The phrase “Emotionally frugal” is so good I intend to use it as soon as possible. Like all macho heroes, male or female, she’s more interested in her jacket not getting ruined than the fact she was almost killed. You get a moment where she’s actually almost-sweet and fun, like when she pushes John Henry’s hat down over his face, or when she admits her experience watching porn in the middle of a bar, to take a breather before going back to the gore fest. And of course there’s the requisite Trump mention. It really is the bits of humor that save this from what might have otherwise been something seen many times before.
The story kicks up a notch when Valdez shows up; she’s definitely not whom I expected, making for a nice twist. She’s the kind of girl who forgets all about having to wear frilly clothes once she gets her hands on a Gatling gun. There’s good use of Old West mythology, particularly the OK Corral, in the final showdown.
A few other lines to look for:
“Sometimes fighting paranormal crime isn’t as sexy as TMZ makes it out to be.”
“You just pooped on my pep talk.”
“Well done.” “He is now.”
“I’m gonna miss Dick.” “Pardon me?”
And look carefully for the well-placed “Hang in there” poster.
So this turned out to be much more enjoyable than I thought it would be at the beginning. In fact, this is one of the rare ones where I can’t wait for the continuation. And let’s hear it for the short recaps at the beginning of each issue, something a lot more graphic novels could use, since you can’t assume people will pick up the first issue when browsing at the store.

Little Tails in the Jungle
An extremely short book about the adventures of a couple of rudimentarily drawn animals flying around in a cardboard plane. After flying above maps for a while, they land in Africa, where it’s time for the squirrel—I think—to teach the puppy about the animals they see in the jungle. And bugs. And then they fly on to the next place. . .
If I have one complaint it’s that I couldn’t tell the two main animals apart, or even what species they were, if not told by the publicity blurb. The format is one comic-strip like area surrounded by colorful jungle vistas, which are the real highlights here, though I could have done without the life-sized tarantula! Better was the appearance by the pink Amazon dolphin–while they still exist–but what about piranhas? Yep, there they are. . .
The animal drawings are so gorgeous it’s almost a shame to use them in a book that only kids will be seeing. The banter is witty without ever seeming mean. The last few pages give more detail on the various animals.
The big thing here is that this is from the same guys who do the LOVE series, which explains why the artwork is so beautiful.

This is the story of a guy whose job it is to “control the superhero population.” That’s a new one, and as you might expect, a human taking down superheroes isn’t exactly the easiest way to make a living. Chapter 1 was an intro to the kinds of jobs he does on small fry, but after that comes the fight against the big boys.
Things always perk up when you add a leather-clad redhead, doubly so when she’s the protagonist’s ex. And here’s a life lesson: if you’re gonna kill a powerful superhero, make sure you get him and, you know, not leave him alive when you accidentally take out his girlfriend. . . or a random groupie he was about to make out with. And definitely do not let your bear sidekick eat her. Too bad he didn’t get much of a chance to live up to his name: Scarebear!
A perfect sample of the goings-on: “My name is Clive, asshole.” “Your name is Clive Asshole?”
“The judge is about to quit you.” “Don’t you mean acquit?”
Phone Homie! Almost wish I’d thought of that. . .
“You’ll never take me alive!” “Target has been taken alive, sir.”
“Any last requests?” “Yeah, don’t shoot me.” She shoulda shot him just for that.
Like most of his ilk, the drama-queen villain is happy to have an audience; he just wants to share. But of course Duke manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Attention to detail: in the hospital room, on the tiny TV, you can see the Kirk/Spock fight from Amok Time.
Did not like the last twist, which he didn’t deserve one bit. Almost anyone else would have been a better choice for that job.
At the end there’s a two page list of people who contributed to the project, as in donated money.
All in all just a silly timewaster, nothing deep here. That will probably be enough for most.

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Storm Surge
The title pretty much sums it up: a famous author writes a graphic novel about raising the dead as another hurricane ravages New Orleans.
The main character seems to be a pretty clone called Erika 5th, who is either pissed about the regular beatings she receives or not being allowed to read, or both. The only person she can talk to, and I use the description “person” lightly, is Karloff the talking head. She gets pulled into an alternate universe, but she’s okay with that, because no one can tell her she can’t read; I love how she uses her already short dress to carry books.
In this alternate world the Dr. Frankenstein is making an army of zombies, except they don’t follow his orders. Didn’t think that one through, didja? Against him are a team of Mulder and Scully knockoffs, though she’s a lot more abrasive than your usual FBI redhead; it’s beautiful how she says she has no problems putting two in his brain if he turns.
“You’re under arrest. You have the right to remain dead.” But he doesn’t.
“You have a flashlight?” “Of course. . . in my car.” Thank goodness for the humor here, because it’s dark far more than just the artwork. The chapter names in particular are well done, like Moveable Feasts and Dead People’s Lives.
Hard to stop a horny monster once you ask him to bite your neck, huh, Erika?
For a relatively typical zombie story, the prose comes off high and mighty; even the hunters use words like “consternation” at each other. Who is this supposed to impress? And even though it says “The end?” too many questions were left unanswered.



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