Writer/Artist: Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, Vincente Cifuentes
Synopsis: Three years ago, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, nearly lost her life when the Joker shot her through the spine. Ever the fighter, Barbara not only survived but after years of sitting in a wheelchair found a way to walk again.
Barbara has reclaimed her life and regained her independence, but must prove to her mentors Batman and Nightwing, as well as her Police Commissioner father, that she’s capable of doing it on her own. Even more important, she must prove to herself that she can complete the long journey to recovery.
But getting back on her feet in Gotham City will become even more challenging when a very personal hit list is revealed in the hands of a new villain.
And Barbara’s name is on it.
I have to admit that I’ve always been a Batman type of girl. I hadn’t ever read any of the Bat family–until I got sucked into the new 52 verse. Barbara Gordon due to a medical miracle has regained her ability to walk. She strikes out on her own, starting to regain her independence. Her roommate Alysia is awesome–while suspecting Babs is up to something, doesn’t push or go snooping around. One thing that I LOVE about this volume is that Barbara dons the batgirl cowl, but she makes mistakes, big ones. She struggles while fighting, being out of practice. I love the scenes with her and Nightwing and the retelling of their history and the love that they have for each other. The ending arc with Bruce/Batman was done really well, their interaction smooth and effortless. One thing that really stuck out to me is Barbara’s struggles especially with PTSD/night terrors. It shows that she is still effected by the events of The Killing Joke story arc. It’s a brilliant move by Gail Simone and I love it. The art for this volume is absolutely breathtaking, great colors, and easily read.
Overall I highly recommend this volume. Features a strong female lead, and great story.
Title: Displaced Persons
Author: Derek McCulloch
Published: February 15, 2009
Publisher: Image Comics
From the Eisner-nominated creators behind Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo comes Displaced Persons, the story of a uniquely twisted and tragic family history spanning the most turbulent hundred years in the history of mankind – the twentieth century saw 99 wars, 19 pandemics, 14 genocides, and one family lost hopelessly in time!
I wanted to like this, with splashy art and an interesting story line. I couldn’t get past the bad narrative, slurs and random inconsistencies. I figured there would be a bit of offensive tone to this story considering the blurb, but it’s tasteless and really not something anyone should read. I can’t recommend this at all. Frankly I’m disappointed that I finished it.
Title: Kamen Volume 1
Author/Artist: Gunya Mihara
Published: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Gen Manga
In a world of fantasy and might, a lone warrior emerges. Kamen, a mysterious masked man appears among prisoners of war in ancient Japan and becomes a legendary warrior and defender of the innocent while his enemies rush to uncover his secrets.
I loved this, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on volume 2. Set in Feudal Japan, Kamen puts everything upside down and upended, in a wild romp. The art is beautiful and vibrant, the characters well written and fully developed. There’s mystery and a lot of chances for plot development and even more character development arcs.
Kamen is a great shonen manga, which on the surface seems similar to other titles out there, but there’s enough complexity that keeps it from falling into the usual boring trap. It’s got great pacing and great action. I need another volume of this, and I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for it.
Title: Wasted Lands
Author/Artist: Dave Dorman
Published: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Magnetic Press.
‘Wasted Lands’ is inspired by the high-adventure serials of the ’40s and ’50s and the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s, but infused with a contemporary sci-fi, diesel-punk aesthetic.
I wanted to love this, I really did. I like science fiction, steampunk is becoming something that I’m really drawn to, and diesel-punk is a great offshoot of steampunk. However, that’s not the case here. The art is the only thing that I enjoyed. It varied from story to story, but there’s a commonality that didn’t cause any disconnect or confusion.
The stories themselves were the aspect that I couldn’t connect to. The art, frankly is the only reason I read this, making the omnibus a disappointment. I now know that I’m not fond of the spaghetti western genre. I’m not even certain that I’m going to seek out other titles by this author.
Overall: Not my style of storytelling, though the art is beautiful and unique.
Author/Artist: Jean-David Morvan, Huang-Jia Wei, Mike Kennedy
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher Magnetic Press
Zaya tells the story of secret agent in the distant future who left her post to seek a normal life as an artist and mother. When a bio-mechanical threat destroys an orbiting colony station and former fellow agents start dying, she is called back into the field to find and stop the danger. Her investigation leads to many questions about her own past, filled with explosive revelations.
I really fell in love with the world that Morvan has created. Zaya is a retired covert agent called back into service when other agents, here called spirals are dying. The artist mother of a young pair of twins re-enters the world of spies and cloak and dagger assassinations.
The art is whispy and sketchy, with light lines. It’s an odd blend of Eastern and Western graphic novel art styles, but here in this case it works. The Bio-Mechanical aspect is something new to me, and I found myself really enjoying it. The story line is complex and weaves science fiction with steampunk and carefully constructed violence. It was original and well layered, keeping me guessing until the end.
Overall:Engaging and complex, I recommend this to those that are looking for something a little different.