Graphic Novels, November 9, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

An accessible, meaningful experience for anyone who engages with creation in its myriad forms; For fantasy fans who enjoy tales featuring knights and magic; must-reads for any fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; teens to adults with an interest in women’s history will relish this creative and impassioned salute

Week ending November 9, 2018

redstarDavis, Eleanor. Why Art? Fantagraphics. Mar. 2018. 200p. ISBN 9781683960829. pap. $14.99. GRAPHIC NOVELSDavis (You & a Bike & a Road) has a skill for work that is subtly personal and broadly relevant—and the title of this latest is a question she seems to be continually asking of herself as an artist as well as a reader. What starts as a straightforward, humorous take on art school tropes, conceptual artwork, and the implications of “serious” and more commercial art unexpectedly becomes a terrifying whirlwind that destroys and rebuilds the characters, who proceed to construct new, smaller, more perfect worlds, level upon level, like a series of tiny Twilight Zone universes. There’s a heavy dose of a god impulse in the drive to create here—the power to destroy or preserve, revise and resurrect, lies in anyone who takes up the artist’s tools. Davis’s deceptively simple, precise line drawings emphasize visceral moments of joy and anguish as well as brave women growing new sets of shark teeth in response to personal tragedy. 
VERDICT A celebration and challenge to creators and consumers alike, this presents an accessible, meaningful experience for anyone who engages with creation in its myriad forms.—Emilia Packard, Austin, TX

Spurrier, Simon (text) & Matías Bergara (illus.). Coda. Vol. 1. BOOM! Studios. Sept. 2018. 128p. ISBN 9781684152605. pap. $9.99. Rated: Teen+. FANTASY
Spurrier (The Spire; Godshaper) and Bergara ( Supergirl; Cannibal) team up for what at first appears to be a story of a former bard, known as Hum. But rather than a tale of a fallen knight, it’s a tale of a fallen world. Something called the Quench has occurred—magic is nearly extinct, dragons are disintegrating, and the old ways of knights and wizards have fallen away. Amid it all, Hum is trying to save his wife, Serka, whose situation is much more complicated than Hum lets on. The many intriguing plot twists leave readers anticipating what will happen next, while the illustration and color pop, bringing the story to life—from Hum’s disinterested expressions to the creative image of his ill-tempered, foul-mouthed unicorn, or pentacorn.
VERDICT For fantasy fans who enjoy tales featuring knights and magic but also a strong dystopian story.—Sonnet Ireland, St. Tammany Parish P.L., Mandeville, LA

redstarTipton, David & Scott Tipton (text) & J.K. Woodward & others (illus.). Star Trek: The Next Generation—Mirror Broken. Mar. 2018. 136p. ISBN 9781684051458.
redstarTipton, David & Scott Tipton (text) & Marcus To & others (illus.). Star Trek: The Next Generation—Through the Mirror. Oct. 2018. 120p. ISBN 9781684053438. ebk. available. 
ea. vol: IDW. pap. $17.99. MEDIA TIE-IN
The concept of the alternate or mirror universe is one of the classic sf devices, and an episode from the original Star Trek TV series involves such a crossover between realities. In Mirror Broken (collecting issues 0–5), the Tipton brothers ( Star Trek: Klingons—Blood Will Tell) feature the “alternate” Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and his crew. Here Picard is a ruthless captain in the Terran Empire and losing badly to a Cardassian/Klingon alliance, which Picard aims to change. He steals the new Galaxy-class Enterprise and enacts revenge on his enemies. The story continues in Through the Mirror (collecting issues 1–5), as Picard in the familiar universe realizes people from the alternate world are stealing supplies and materials from starships. He and the rest of the Enterprise crew must engage with their mirror-version counterparts. Fans will be happy to see darker versions of Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge, Dr. Crusher, Counselor (or Inquisitor) Troi, Wesley, and even Lieutenant Barclay. Artwork by Woodward and others shines with realistic interpretations of the characters.
VERDICT Must-reads for any fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation and alternate- or mirror-universe story lines.—Jason L. Steagall, formerly with Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

redstar Various. Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed the World. Black Crown: IDW. Sept. 2018. 232p. ed. by Shelly Bond. ISBN 9781684053209. pap. $29.99. Rated: Teen+. WOMEN’S STUDIES/ANTHOLOGIES
First created via a successful Kickstarter campaign, this anthology marks a memorable and dramatic tribute to 50 “women who changed the world.” More than mere illustrated minibiographies, each of the three-page-long narratives recount with passion how the subject inspired the entry’s author. As such, figures span the famous (e.g., astronaut Sally Ride) to the more obscure (e.g., Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi). Not intending to be an encyclopedia, the collection instead provides intriguing glimpses into these women’s lives, making readers want to research them further and in depth. Edited by Black Crown curator Bond and featuring more than 100 international creators, among them comics legends Mike Cary ( Lucifer), Gail Simone (Birds of Prey), and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet), the work boasts styles that vary widely, which may frustrate readers with particular tastes. And while a few pieces struggle to present a clear message, the majority are successful in the punchy format.
VERDICT Teens to adults with an interest in women’s history will relish this creative and impassioned salute to some of the most amazing women in the world.—Tammy Ivins, Univ. of North Carolina at Wilmington

LJ Reviews

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