Old Man Logan by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
Genre: Graphic Novel/Super Hero
While I really enjoyed the single volume of Wolverine: Old Man Logan, I found that these first two volumes of a longer on-running version of the story really add to some of the ideas presented in the original. Wolverine finds himself waking up in the past and aims to change the past by killing a number of super villains before they can group together to destroy the heroes as well as the future. When Logan begins his quest to kill those who have harmed him and the X-men in the future, he finds that he might be in a different past, one where the future will not end up the way he has lived through it. In this past, the real Wolverine is dead, an encased metal statue for all to admire. Logan aims to find a place for himself in this new life and he chooses the place where his wife lived when she was young. Even though it is a different past, she still seems to be the same person. When the Reavers show up, Logan learns that no matter where he goes, trouble will follow, for there will always be someone to come after him. As he ventures, he still insists that doomsday will come.
Overall, I really enjoyed these first two volumes and would not mind continuing to follow this series. The story was portrayed in an artistically unique way, with vivid coloration for moments of pain or anguish (such as getting shot/stabbed). This changed the effect of reading these graphic novels. They are also much better than Wolverine: Old Man Logan, because they take some of the apocalyptic ideas from that graphic novel and really take the time to expand on those ideas and develop the world in a way that the reader does not get in the original. Old Man Logan: Berzerker has one of the issues from Wolverine: Old Man Logan where Logan utterly destroys the Hulk clan, an epic issue If I do say so myself, and Old Man Logan: Bordertown contains an issue of the X-men from the old comics, which was likewise interesting (although I am not a fan of most comic book artwork from before the 2000’s). Overall, great addition to Logan’s story and I would recommend it for any Wolverine or Marvel fan.
Five Ghosts (Vol 1+2) by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, et. al
Genre: Action/Adventure/Literature/Graphic Novel
This series is interesting, to say the least. It features a treasure hunter named Fabian Gray who have a piece of Dreamstone embedded in his chest. The Dreamstone causes him to be haunted by five literary ghosts: Robin Hood, Count Dracula, Merlin, Miyamoto Musashi, and Sherlock Homes. Each ghost can take over Fabian’s body and gives him the power of that character, such as katana skills as Musashi or magic and wisdom as Merlin. As Fabian discovers new places and new treasures with his research assistant, Sebastian, trouble continues to find him. Throughout the story, someone seems to be after Fabian, but it is unclear just why yet,unless they want his Dreamstone. There are also sprinkled snippets about his sister having lost her spirit or some such event, which is also unclear, but what is clear is that Fabian is trying to find something to bring her back. In the second volume, Fabian joins his thief friend Jezebel as they search for the Isle of Dreams, leading Fabian to decide between his past and present.
Initially, I gave The Haunting of Fabian Gray a 3/5 and Lost Coastlines a 4/5 resulting in a 3.5/5 for the first two volumes. The first volume was interesting, but it took awhile to figure out what was doing on and to be drawn into the story. The end didn’t have me caring much to continue, but I had the second volume anyway, so why not see where it goes. The second volume develops more of the story and ends well with potential for more adventures. The art itself even has an adventurous feel to it, like 1950’s movie posters. Overall, I enjoyed the story and feel like it has potential, just not enough to bring me to volume three…
Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection by Don Roff
This book is written in journal format by Robert Twombly, claimed to be found in a cabin in Canada with no survivors. It is filled with colorful illustrations depicting death by zombie in a number of ways. It chronicles the apocalypse in journal form as a lab tech working in the city, his escape, the survivors he encounters, and the speculation about the origin of the disease being from a certain chemical in specific foods. He uses illustrations to document what he learns about the undead as well as his experiences, dating each entry as the months go by.
I only give this book a three rather than a two because the art is interesting and appealing, despite the story being somewhat cliche and unoriginal. The journal entry thing is nothing new, and the title say “year” but only spans from January 2012 to March 2012, which is misleading on the given information as well. The writing is kind of bland and the events in journal format are not as exciting or unique as they possibly could have been. The story also ends abruptly (assuming something happened to the author) in a way that seemed rushed and rather pointless. At the same time, anyone can die at any time in the zombie apocalypse, also making this ending slightly realistic to the situation.
Hold me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Screenplay/Musical
This novel is a companion piece to John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson. In the novel, the supporting character, Tiny Cooper, is writing a musical about his life being gay, knowing from early on but not wanting to admit it. The musical is entitled Hold Me Closer. While snippets and bits are mentioned in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, this novel is the musical that Tiny wrote within the world of the novel. Not only does Act I develop his understanding of gayness in early childhood, but Act II goes through his 18 ex-boyfriends, one of them being Will Grayson (not the best friend of the same name). He goes through the various boyfriends and why they did not work out, mostly on the end of the other boy, and not Tiny. There’s always something, whether it’s because Tiny is too fat, won’t have sex with those who do not appreciate him enough, or that they perhaps found someone else. Tiny’s relationships are rather short-lived until he meets Will, a boy struggling with depression and his own concept and realization that he is gay, something Tiny has long embraced and hopes to share with Will.
I had no idea there was a companion piece to the main novel, so I thought this was pretty exciting. Reading something meant to be a play/musical with some narrative aspects was a fun change from regular novels. It really adds to the world of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, because the musical is a major driving point for Tiny, but we only get to see a song or two and snippets of Tiny’s creation of the musical as he relates his thoughts and creativity to his friends, Will and Jane. It was an enjoyable piece to be read with the novel, and even funny in a stand-alone-way, but having read the main novel beforehand makes a big difference to the context of the story, especially in Act II.
The Between: An Original Story in the World of The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker
Genre: Near-future Fiction/Young Adult
This short takes places between The Ones and The Equals by Daniel Sweren-Becker. The best part: It’s free, which shows that the author is more invested in his fans than the money, considering we, as readers, support the author anyway; it’s like a little gift for being a devoted reader! It is a very quick roughly 30 page story available on the Kindle that shows what happens to James at the end of The Ones after being captured.
This short story Features James and some of the Ones who have been taken to an internment camp. With new laws being passed, the Ones are lower citizens, and the government wants them to believe that the camps will keep them safe from the people trying to harm them. James knows the truth, though. The government wants to treat the Ones with a vaccine that will revert their genetics back to normal (however that works), and James shares the truth with the other Ones in the camp. Some cannot handle the truth just yet and aim to escape by taking their own life, but the rumor spreads, and James aims for a rebellion from the camp to escape. When his plan is ratted out by a fellow One, he is moved to isolation and devotes himself to never being vaccinated, or dying, if all else fails.
This is a great transitional piece between the first and the second book in the series and gives some context to the what the camps are like as well as what happens when someone aims to start a revolt. With one of the characters being depressed by the situation, there is a suicide prevention notice at the end of the short that encourages seeking help for those who feel depressed, so that they can be saved, because all lives matter. The writing style is fine-tuned and the pace is quick with high stakes presented from the start. A great freebie for any fan of The Ones.