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Review: Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Volume 1

November 12th, 2012 Angela Posted in Graphic Novels, Review Comments Off

Title: Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Vol. 1

Creator/Writer: Patricia Briggs & David Lawrence

Artist: Todd Herman

Colors: Mohan

Lettering: Bill Tortolini

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Alpha and Omega: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: October 2, 2012

Format: Hardback, 160 Pages

ISBN-10: 0441018483 (Penguin/Ace)

ISBN-13: 9780441018482 (Penguin/Ace)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis:

The long-awaited collection-the first four issues of the graphic novel adaptation of the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author’s novel “Cry Wolf”

“Cry Wolf” is Patricia Briggs’ “New York Times” bestselling novel about the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. Now, these characters come alive in full-color graphic novels.

Anne never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack she’s learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males.

Then Charles Cornick-the son of the leader of the North American werewolves-came into her life. He insists that not only is Anne his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And Anna may be the key to stopping a rogue werewolf that threatens the entire pack.

Quick & Dirty: This is a graphic novel based off of the urban fantasy book, Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs.

Opening Sentence: No, don’t…Justin…Leo…Charles…NO!

The Review:

I am a longtime fan of the Mercy Thompson world, including the original series and its spin-off, Alpha and Omega.  Both are filled to the brim with memorable one-liners and vivid imagery.  Each character charms their way into your heart with their personalities and indomitable wills.  They are all strong in their own way and Charles and Anna are no exceptions.  David Lawrence and Todd Herman offer up a unique vision of these beloved characters outside the wilderness of our own imagination.

Charles is the Marrok’s, the leader of the North American Werewolves, enforcer.  His job is to investigate and punish naughty werewolves that don’t follow the rules: Don’t bring attention to yourself and risk our discovery.  After going to Chicago on assignment, he meets his mate, Anna.  The pack she belonged to abused her thoroughly to make her more submissive, even though she is a rare Omega and therefore outside of the normal pack structure.  While Charles and Anna’s werewolves claim one another at first glance, their human sides are left with the fallout of their unusual relationship.  Charles brings her to his home to Montana in an effort to for them to learn more about one another.  It is also a chance for Anna to see how a more stable pack works before the two of them make any more permanent decisions.  Unfortunately, there is a situation that arises that requires Charles’ expertise and immediate attention, so their “honeymoon” must wait.  Can Charles and Anna team up and overcome their personal issues as well as stop a rogue werewolf before it does anymore damage?

The characters really come to life in this graphic novel.  Charles’ stoic nature and Anna’s fear definitely translate well through their facial expressions as well as their words.  The only thing that seems to not come across for me is the awkwardness between the two about their relationship.  To be honest, I am not sure how much better it could have been done in comic format.  The gestures and mannerisms drawn do reflect the volatile nature of all the werewolves, both within town and in the woods.

Anna’s Omega nature is expressed in both words and coloring.  As she begins to realize the extent of her inner strength, so does the reader.  The most obvious scene that proves this point is when Anna first meets Leah, Female Alpha of the North American Werewolves.  Leah cannot use her influence on Anna, since her Omega status makes her immune to it.  Though the magic that Leah welds is hard to translate, it is drawn in such a way that makes it easier to understand, especially Anna’s resistance to it.  I will freely admit to enjoying seeing Bran’s mate get smacked down; that never gets old.

I liked how the original novella is incorporated into Anna’s dreams, so that new readers to the series don’t get confused, while still following the original storyline of Cry Wolf.  I would recommend this thrilling and emotionally charged graphic novel to fans and newbies alike.  Take a chance and go to where the wild things are and you won’t regret it!

Notable Scene:

 

Alpha and Omega GN Series:

1. Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Volume 1

FTC Advisory: Penguin USA/Ace Books graciously provided me with a copy of Cry Wolf Vol. 1No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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Review: Grave Sight Graphic Novel – Book 3 by Charlaine Harris

August 4th, 2012 Angela Posted in Graphic Novels, Review Comments Off

Grave Sight GN 3 by Charlaine HarrisTitle: Grave Sight Graphic Novel: Book 3

Writer: Charlaine Harris, William Harms

Artist: Denis Medri

Colors: Paolo Francescutto

Lettering: Bill Totolini

Contributing Editor: Rich Young

Genre: Mystery / Urban Fantasy

Series: Harper Connelly

Publication Date: April 3, 2012

Format: Paperback, 64 Pages

ISBN-10: 1606902695 (Dynamite)

ISBN-13: 978-1606902691 (Dynamite)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis:

Harper Connelly finds dead people for a living, but not everyone appreciates her special gift. In the stunning conclusion to this three-part series, Harper’s step-brother, Tolliver Lang, finds himself in trouble with the law while Harper struggles to clear his name. And then there’s the matter of a mysterious killer who seems to follow in Harper’s wake. Will Harper and Tolliver get out of Sarne, Arkansas in one piece, or will they be the killer’s next victims? Grave Sight Part 3 features 44-pages of story and art, with the balance consisting of bonus and behind-the-scenes material, as well as an extended interview with Charlaine.

Quick & Dirty: Suspenseful conclusion of the three-part graphic novel where all things are finally revealed.

Opening Sentence: “If she’s here, Harper will find her.”

The Review:

This volume is the stunning conclusion to a three-part graphic novel series following the book Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris.  It’s the culmination of hints and threats creating pieces that are put together to solve the puzzle of the mysterious deaths in the sleepy town of Sarne, Arkansas.

The tension expressed in this volume is much more prevalent through both the artwork and the coloring.  The characters are much tenser and it shows in the strokes of the pen work.  Though the stark and deep coloring reflects the dark nature of the story, it also reflects the dark natures of the people involved.  Even the words that express the sounds in the scenes are just as expressive, with the colors chosen and the font.  It all comes together in a perfect storm of suspense that represents Ms. Harris’ book beautifully.

After reading the Harper Connelly series, I believed that it would make a great graphic novel.  The content and settings translate beautifully to a graphic format.  I am very happy with the results of this venture.  This is a great way for people that may not necessary have the availability or time to read the book to enjoy the trials and tribulations of Harper Connelly and her foster brother, Tolliver Lang.  This is a great read whether you are a fan or a newcomer.

Notable Scene:

The Harper Connelly Graphic Novel Series:

1. Grave Sight: Book 1

2. Grave Sight: Book 2

3. Grave Sight: Book 3

FTC Advisory: Dynamite Entertainment graciously provided me with a copy of Grave Sight: Book 3No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment I’ve received are in hugs and kisses from my little boys. 

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Review: Grave Sight Graphic Novel – Book 2 by Charlaine Harris

August 4th, 2012 Angela Posted in Graphic Novels, Review Comments Off

Grave Sight GN 2 by Charlaine HarrisTitle: Grave Sight Graphic Novel: Book 2

Writer: Charlaine Harris, William Harms

Artist: Denis Medri

Colors: Paolo Francescutto

Lettering: Bill Totolini

Contributing Editor: Rich Young

Genre: Mystery / Urban Fantasy

Series: Harper Connelly

Publication Date: November 29, 2011

Format: Paperback, 64 Pages

ISBN-10: 1606902393 (Dynamite)

ISBN-13: 978-1606902394 (Dynamite)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis:

Harper Connelly finds dead people for a living, and helps friends and family gain closure by letting them finally put their loved ones to rest. Harper and her step-brother, Tolliver Lang, have just completed a job in Sarne, Arkansas, but that doesn’t mean their work is done. More people are turning up dead, and Harper might just be falling for the town’s deputy, a handsome, rugged man whose wife died under mysterious circumstances… Grave Sight Part 2 features 44-pages of story and art, with the balance consisting of bonus and behind-the-scenes material.

Quick & Dirty: The longer they stay, the more they get involved, both with the murders and town bedmates.

Opening Sentence: “Get in the car.”

The Review:

In the second installment of Grave Sight, we get a more in depth look into the main characters.  While being forced to stay in the little town of Sarne, Harper Connelly and Tolliver Lang continue to search for answers in the murder of Teenie and now her mother.  The townsfolk are uncomfortable having Harper as their guest and start to react more violently towards her and her stepbrother.  Even to the point of having one of them falsely arrested.  The idea that the townsfolk fear Harper’s gift is not unusual.  As people, we tend to fear that which we do not understand.  With no way to remain separated from the instigators, can Harper remain safe from the unmitigated hatred that the people have for her while still finding the answers that she seeks?

The playfulness between siblings is more evident in this book.  They both are very comfortable with one another and tease each other about their respective “interests”.  For example, Hollis, a deputy, has made his interest in Harper known almost from the beginning. Both Harper and Tolliver are portrayed as open with their affections.  Though, to be honest, how else are they going to get any with as much as they travel?

The artwork helps reflect each characters internal emotions.  I find it interesting that everyone seems very animated except Hollis.  I believe that this is deliberate.  For all of his sharing his history, he remains aloof from Harper.  The facial expressions help further enforce the differences in the townsfolk and their newest guests.  This is one of the things that comes across as exceptional in the graphic novel version: the use of art to drive the story as opposed to the writing.

I look forward to the final chapter in this exciting new graphic novel series.

Notable Scene:

The Harper Connelly Graphic Novel Series:

1. Grave Sight: Book 1

2. Grave Sight: Book 2

3. Grave Sight: Book 3

FTC Advisory: Dynamite Entertainment graciously provided me with a copy of Grave Sight: Book 2No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment I’ve received are in hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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Review: Grave Sight Graphic Novel – Book 1 by Charlaine Harris

August 4th, 2012 Angela Posted in Graphic Novels, Review Comments Off

Grave Sight GN 1 by Charlaine HarrisTitle: Grave Sight Graphic Novel: Book 1

Writer: Charlaine Harris, William Harms

Artist: Denis Medri

Colors: Paolo Francescutto

Lettering: Bill Totolini

Contributing Editor: Rich Young

Genre: Mystery / Urban Fantasy

Series: Harper Connelly (Book 1)

Publication Date: June 14, 2011

Format: Paperback, 64 Pages

ISBN-10: 1606902296 (Dynamite)

ISBN-13: 978-1606902295 (Dynamite)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis:

Acclaimed New York Times Bestselling author Charlaine Harris, the writer of the Sookie Stackhouse series, has joined the Dynamite Entertainment family with the first book of her hit Harper Connelly series, Grave Sight.

For the past five years, readers have been thrilled by the Harper Connelly series which follows a woman who has what you might call a strange job: she finds dead people. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. Traveling with her step-brother, Tolliver, as manager and sometime-bodyguard, she’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid, and getting out fast. Because for the living it’s always urgent – even if the dead can wait forever.

At the age of 15, Harper Connelly was struck by lightning, an event that gave her the ability to find the dead and see how they died. Since then, Harper’s scratched out a living selling her services to anyone with a checkbook. It’s not the best life, but it beats the alternative – at least until Harper and her brother Tolliver roll into Sarne, Arkansas and find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery!

Quick & Dirty: This graphic novel is a mixture of death, deceit, and one woman’s determination to use her unique gift to help find the truth.

Opening Sentence: “Get away from her!”

The Review:

I have noticed a trend lately of beloved books being re-expressed through the graphic novel medium.  I think that this is one of the greatest ideas yet.  How better to rope in potential younger readers than to tap into the current obsessive visual stimuli?  Or have long-time fans enjoy a visual representation of their favorite characters that doesn’t involve the television.  Brilliant, I tell you. The Grave Sight Graphic Novel is no exception to the rule.

This is a story of a girl that can find dead bodies.  When Harper Connelly was fifteen years old, she was struck by lightning.  Since then, she can sense the dead, find their bodies, and experience their last moments alive.  Her and her step-brother, Tolliver, travel around the country locating bodies and telling their cause of death for money.  One such case leads them to the little town of Sarne, Arkansas.  Without meaning to, Harper and Tolliver are sucked into a murder case and the conspiracy to cover up the crime.  Can the two of them make it out alive?  Do they get to charge hazard pay for people trying to keep them quiet, permanently?

This is a wonderful adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s Grave Sight.  It stays true to the book while exploring the more visual aspects of the story.  Harper and her brother look like they had in my mind while reading the series.  This book in particular, addresses their close relationship that hints of more than a family-type bond.  This added tension is explored later in the series itself, but I appreciate the heads up in the graphic novel.

The artwork is raw.  It gives that creepy/mystery vibe that is intricate to the storyline.  The colors used portray the darker side of events that lead Harper and Tolliver deeper into the plot surrounding the death of a young girl, Teenie.  I really enjoyed how Harper’s “gift” is drawn.  Her eyes look vacant but contain an otherworldly light that reflects her internal slideshow.  It helps that her “viewings” are in a reddish tint, reinforcing the point of murder and death.

I recommend this graphic novel to those that don’t have the time to spend on one of Charlaine Harris’s more edgy forays into paranormal mystery.  It gives a reader just enough of a taste to leave you wanting to know how it all ends.

Notable Scene:

The Harper Connelly Graphic Novel Series:

1. Grave Sight: Book 1

2. Grave Sight: Book 2

3. Grave Sight: Book 3

FTC Advisory: Dynamite Entertainment graciously provided me with a copy of Grave Sight: Book 1No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment I’ve received are in hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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Review: Crossed (Volume 1) by Garth Ennis & Jacen Burrows

September 29th, 2010 Angela Posted in Graphic Novels, Review 3 Comments »

Title: Crossed

Creator/Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Jacen Burrows

Color Chapters: Greg Waller & Juanmar

Genre: Horror, Post-apocalyptic

Series: Limited Series

Schedule: Irregular

Publication Date: May 11, 2010

Format: Illustration, 240 Pages

ISBN-10: 1592910904

ISBN-13: 978-1592910908

Publisher: Avatar Press

Synopsis:

A WORLD LIKE THIS, IT FINDS A WAY TO DAMN US ALL.

In the blink of an eye, humanity is lost. The Crossed are upon us. Men, women and children alike fall victim to the mystery infection that makes killers out of parents and rapists out of lovers. Ruthless, berserk and evil beyond measure, these cackling demons spread their plague across the Earth – until our species teeters on the brink of final extinction.

Now, a small band of survivors make their cautious way across a deserted America, existing in a state of constant terror, only too aware that death beyond description lurks around almost every corner. They have in common only their determination to survive – but in the world of the Crossed, survival has a cost all its own. By story’s end, each will discover exactly what they’ll do to stay alive… and, in a world of monsters, just how easy it is to become inhuman too.

There is no hope. There are no heroes. No one is coming to save you.

THERE IS ONLY THE CROSSED.

Quick & Dirty: Dark, disturbing and deprived, this story will send chills down your spine.

Opening Sentence: Remember YouTube?

The Review:

Crossed, written by the prolific Garth Ennis with amazing art by Jacen Burrows, is probably the most disturbing graphic novel I’ve ever read.  Crossed chronicles an outbreak that makes those afflicted, known as the Crossed, psychotic and extremely homicidal.  In the aftermath of this, unspecified outbreak a group of survivors flee north, hoping that harsh weather, coupled with the self destructive tendencies of the Crossed will give them a fighting chance.  Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows take the premise of the zombie apocalypse and supercharge it. The Crossed aren’t merely fast zombies à la 28 Days Later.  The Crossed are more terrifying because they aren’t mindless zombies shuffling, or even running about. They are sadomasochistic torturers from which even Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers would all flee.

To a large extent modern horror has become safe—it’s been mainstreamed. Movie studios often water down releases to capture the kid friendly PG-13 rating.  Crossed is not a watered down version of an end of the world dystopia.  In his depiction of evil Ennis goes much further than most other writers dare. There’re certain lines Hollywood typically won’t cross, even in R rated films.  Some movies, like Hostel and Saw walk up to those lines and are all the more disturbing because of it.  Crossed ignores those lines entirely by positing a world in which there are no moral constraints on human behavior and embodies that theme in the Crossed.  Children aren’t saved because of their innocence and luck seldom holds out.  The Crossed are relentless and if they catch you they are going to do horrible things to you for no particular reason other than because they like doing it.  There are no McGuffins like daylight, hallowed ground or holy water that you can use against them.  What you need is a very big head start.  Failing that you need guns and ammunition, and always keep a bullet for yourself just in case.  Better to take one’s own life than to die at their hands.

Crossed Volume 1 covers issues 0-9, which is the complete, original series.  If you haven’t gotten the hint dear readers, Crossed is an adult graphic novel, with disturbing content.  If it were faithfully adapted to film—a toned down film is in the works—it would be rated NC 17 at best.   I decided to give this series a read because I devoured Volumes 1-12 of The Walking Dead in a week.  I was desperate for another graphic novel in a similarly dark vein.  When I first started reading this series, I was in shock.  I almost stopped reading it because it’s so disturbing.  I stuck with the series because of Mr. Ennis’s writing and characterization.  I have to credit Garth Ennis for essentially showing me the graphic novel equivalent of a horrible traffic accident and making it so compelling I couldn’t look away.

Jacen Burrows is an artistic genius.  Crossed is beautifully illustrated despite the often vile and grim subjects of Mr. Burrows’ art, which faithfully captures the gruesomeness and sadism of the Crossed.  I’ve never seen such horrific images depicted in such a paradoxically artistic way.  If you are a fan of films like 28 Days Later, The Descent and more importantly, willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you should give Crossed a try.  Crossed portrays a tale of survival in a world gone so mad that there are no longer good guys and bad guys as such.  There’s simply the Crossed, and then there are the rest of us.

Notable Scene:


The Crossed Series:

1. Crossed ~ Volume 1

You can visit Garth around the web here: Website


FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy.


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