Graphic Novels, November 16, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Most readers will find the plot too disorienting and the characters too unrelatable; a well-crafted alt-history that, while taking many liberties, transports readers to a world of innovation and intrigue; acceptable for entry-level and novice fans as well as hi-low readers

Week ending November 16, 2018

Canales, Juan Díaz (text) & José-Luis Munuera & Sedyas (illus.). Fraternity. Magnetic Collection: Lion Forge. Oct. 2018. 128p. tr. from French by Jeremy Melloul. ISBN 9781941302514. $19.99. Rated: Teen+. FANTASY/DYSTOPIAN FIC
Canales (Blacksad) and Munuera (Zorglub) present a gritty tale set in a struggling mid-19th-century utopian town loosely inspired by a real-life experiment in New Harmony, IN. Confusingly, the book opens with a fictionalized essay attributed to a member of the actual community, while the story proper focuses on the imagined New Fraternity. As rations get shorter in Fraternity, so do tempers, until the situation explodes into violence. This would be a compelling story arc if it weren’t accompanied by far too many subplots: the rescue of a feral child, the arrival of several army deserters, and the existence of a menacing monster in the woods. There is some gore, but this is not historical horror in the manner of Chris Dingess’s Manifest Destiny. The narrative, much like the society it portrays, falls apart owing to trying to do too much. Munuera’s art has few landscapes, preferring tight shots and close-ups, while Sedyas’s muted, sepia color establishes the tone nicely.
VERDICT Some horror fans may enjoy this, but most readers will find the plot too disorienting and the characters too unrelatable.—Tammy Ivins, Univ. of North Carolina at Wilmington

Nedvidek, Steve & others (text) & J. Moses Nester & S.J. Miller (illus.). The Jekyll Island Chronicles. Bk. 2: A Devil’s Reach. Top Shelf: IDW. Nov. 2018. 168p. ISBN 9781603094269. pap. $19.99. HISTORICAL FICTION/FANTASY
Writers Nedvidek, Ed Crowell, and Jack Lowe continue the story of the eponymous Jekyll Island Club’s battle against the forces of evil during the period between the world wars, in which industrialists/robber barons Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, J.D. Rockefeller, all notable members of Georgia’s Jekyll Island Club, come together to combat the insurgence of anarchists in the United States. After foiling a massive attack in New York by the mysterious Zeno Group, the club braces for the terrorists’ next move. Delving into actual history, this second volume in the series draws on President Woodrow Wilson’s expulsion of anarchists in 1920 and the radical experiments of Nikola Tesla, weaving a tapestry of history and alternate history, science and pseudoscience, into an engaging Dieselpunk saga. Artists Nester and Miller illustrate with a whimsical style, evoking the romance of the technological frontiers conquered at the beginning of the 20th century by the likes of Ford, Tesla, and many others.
VERDICT A well-crafted alt-history that, while taking many liberties, transports readers to a world of innovation and intrigue.—Alger C. Newberry III, Genesee Dist. Lib., Flint, MI

Various. The Beatles in Comics. NBM. Nov. 2018. 223p. tr. from French by Joe Johnson. ISBN 9781681121871. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781603588256. Rated: Teen+. MUSIC
The Beatles aren’t strangers to sequential art: they earned a place in a Marvel Super Special issue in 1978, but the adaptation of the misbegotten Sgt. Pepper’s movie wasn’t published in America; graphic adaptations of the animated Yellow Submarine were released in 1968 and this year (see Bill Morrison’s The Beatles Yellow Submarine). This take on the Fab Four’s tale, translated from the 2016 French edition, starts strong and with a promising technique: text, lyrics, and photos alternate with illustrations to add facts and flesh out the story. Unfortunately, what’s gained in detail is lost in coherence, as the constant switching between words and images chops up the narrative, and the inconsistency of the artwork—from more than 20 illustrators—doesn’t help. Overall, this introduction will serve well budding Beatlemaniacs, but it should have been more. Drug and sexual references and brief nudity; suitable for YA readers and up.
VERDICT Acceptable for entry-level and novice fans as well as hi-low readers; otherwise, check out a more comprehensive biography, a solid documentary (e.g., The Complete Beatles [1982] and Beatles Anthology [1995]), and the imperishable music. [Previewed in Jody Osicki’s “Graphically Speaking,” LJ 6/15/18.]—J. Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB

LJ Reviews

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.