One of the perks of being a member of NetGalley is being able to read tomorrow’s books today. But admittedly I’ve been kind of a bum and I don’t always get around to reviewing the titles until long after they come out. Luckily, NetGalley has a pretty wide array of comics and graphic novels available and I tend to actually get time to read those before the deadline. So here today are three new books that have either just come out or will be coming out in the very new future. Hopefully there’s a little something for everyone (and I can alleviate some of my guilt over free ARCs 🙂 )
Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick
There’s been a trend in comics lately for end of the world apocalyptic tales with western trappings and well … Pretty Deadly is another of those. If you like Image’s East of West this might be for you, but it honestly wasn’t really my cup of tea. Action scenes, particularly those involving hand to hand combat, come across as blurry and confused. There’s some interesting imagery, including an opponent who dissolves into thousands of butterflies upon being defeated (and if you liked that you’ll get to see that same person killed twice this way). One character in particular, a young girl who wears a vulture on her head, is drawn very inconsistently, and I was finding it hard to pinpoint her exact age.
The story itself seems drag in some places, and move too fast in others. We spend a lot of time with a man in a whorehouse and only a few pages explaining the actual goal and objectives of all players involved (one of whom is Death). There are a few twists and turns that may interest readers who are more invested in this genre, but for me it seemed like a lot of blood and running around for a being just trying to put off the natural cycle of succession (or somehow eliminate Death entirely which is a bad thing…?)
Maybe this title will evolve with more issues, but it’s debut arc (issues #1-5) didn’t work for me. (2 out of 5)
I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin
As a cat owner it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Burma, the talking cat protagonist/antagonist of this graphic novel, has spent his nine lives trying to take over the world. Allison Breaking, a blogger and journalist, is recruited by Burma (who absolutely swears he’s done with the whole taking over the world thing) to write his memoirs, as a way of introducing the talking cat to the world, and revealing his influence over key figures throughout history. Basically each of his tales are a power behind the throne story for some of the world’s greatest (and infamous) leaders, from Good Queen Bess, to Napoleon to Blofeld? (James Bond).
After a while I found this narrative style repetitive, only serving as way to increase the unease of Breaking and her friend with whom she’s staying. Burma’s real plans don’t really kick up until the back half of the book, though I must admit some of his plans for world conquest are innovative. The artwork is excellent and gives a good differentiation between the historical periods being discussed and modern day London. And some of the talking cat moments are funny, particularly when someone pulls his whiskers.
Overall there are a few points of interest but it could have used to lose about 40 pages of filler. An enjoyable enough read, but not one you’ll probably return to again and again. (3 out of 5)
Super Ego by Caio Oliveira
This was definitely my favorite of the bunch. A psychiatrist takes on the job of trying to help super heroes work out their problems, from drinking to survivor’s guilt, to just figuring out how to talk to a girl. We’ve got stand ins for just about every super hero trope, from the Power Rangers to Iron Man (who in this iteration is a man who pilots a giant Mexican wrestler robot complete with mask, El Lucahdor De Fierro) to even Hawkeye.
But the toughest of Dr. Ego’s patients is Lester, a young kid born of a brief liaison between the Wonder Woman and Superman equivalents. Accepted in neither world, Lester has the power to juggle planets, but he just wants to be able to go on a date with a girl. He’s thin and lanky because he’s never able to exert himself enough to build up muscle mass.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when he has to fend off an alien invasion and instead of just attacking sends them a resume of his previous battles, complete with quotes from other races saying that Earth just isn’t worth it. “Why doesn’t anybody ever read the resume?” he thinks as the aliens inevitably attack and are defeated.
Dr. Ego’s own motives and back story become relevant toward the back part of the book and may make you question whether he’s a force for good or evil. But either way, he’s the only one the suits can talk to. The artwork is imaginative and colorful, and the different superheroes are both recognizable and engaging. I found myself tearing through this one, and wishing there was more (sequel maybe?) (4 out of 5)
PS. The title for this post is drawn from another series of comics I picked up from StoryBundle. Mostly not very good, but they did have one gag I liked, which was a poster for a new movie entitled “Oh S&*t, Bees!” though they may have cribbed the idea from “Oh F%!k, Zombies!”