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review 2018-01-21 20:06
Love is Love by Various Authors
Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various

This anthology was created to raise money for Equality Orlando and the organization's support of victims' families and the survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June 2016. I think that because the anthology was the comic book industry's way of helping and coping with the incident, I was a bit more giving in the ratings area.

 

IDW publishing, with support from DC Entertainment, gave free rein to their artists and writers, so there are pages with familiar characters on some pages. Most of the artwork is amazing, and conveys the deep emotional impact as well as the broad spectrum of emotions this incident wrung out of people. My favorites, even after a week of thinking and giving the work another look, was the Wonder Woman page, the Muslim man meeting a gay couple on the street and hugging them after the incident made the news (from G. Willow Wilson of course!), the Supergirl page, and the page with older LGBTQIAA members giving solace to the young members of the community (those older community members who lived through the gay rights movement and the HIV/AIDS crisis).

 

With that being said, it was an okay effort in terms of quality of writing and introspection. I had a few problems with some of the work showcased, not for what it tried to convey but it's placement in this anthology in the first place.

 

Issues:

1. For an incident that affected a big part of the Latinx part of the LGBTQIAA community, this anthology had a lot of white cishets working out their disbelief and grief over what happened, and many didn't know anyone in the area, let alone was affected by the incident. There wasn't very much Latinx voices in this anthology. Too much "how will I explain this to my kids" hand wringing as well - uh, the same thing you tell them about Las Vegas and Newtown - and just try to answer their questions as honestly as you can. Sometimes that honesty comes in "I don't know why".

 

2. Ace/Aros, pansexuals, and bisexuals got the short end of the stick here. Aces/Aros were mentioned once and used as kind of a punch line so that the writer could shake his/her finger at judgmental people. It distort the message and made it sound hypocritical. Bisexuals got Wonder Woman and that is it (and she doesn't even self-identify as one in the page). Pansexuals didn't get mentioned once. The predominance was white, gay, somewhat affluent in terms of character type.

 

3. Too much Batman. Seriously, the Gotham universe is not exactly a well of diversity, and having the rich white guy savior show up every 15 pages was not needed. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's relationship gets a page, but it was more like "lesbians - aren't they cute" sort of way.

 

4. The beginning of the book was too heavy on the dark and disturbing, especially when artists showed dead bodies lying everywhere. Or the use of multiple cell phones going off and nobody answering. There was a lot artistic renderings of the crime scene that did not add any value to a book that is supposed to celebrating love and life. Not much humor found in the rest of the book - maybe a line here or there, some unintentionally.

 

5. Some of the transgender characters were used to explore others' feelings about transgenderism rather than about the transgender characters' feelings or storyline.

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review 2018-01-13 22:02
Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson et al
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona

This was a fun read. I like that this book takes us through Kamala's processing her new powers and trying on different costumes - I liked that this wasn't simple for her. I liked Bruno, I just wished he and Kamala had a friendship that didn't include Bruno being secretly in love with her. Nakia was great balance to Kamala, showing how different Muslim physically express their religion. Zoe the concern troll was pitch perfect - I like how everyone saw through her bullshit. I loved Kamala's dad.

 

I will continue with this series, but I am also going to suggest this series to my library, because I think many teens would like reading about Kamala, her friends and family, and her superhero adventures.

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review 2018-01-02 04:55
Fence (Issue #2) by C.S. Pacat; Illustrated by Johanna the Mad
Fence #2 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey,Jo... Fence #2 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey,Joana Lafuente

It has arrived! The next installment to Fence and let me just say it's an amazing continuation to this wonderful story! I am enjoying this comic series so much! It's fun, light-hearted, quirky, and filled with many diverse characters!

 

I love the classic sports anime vibe you get from reading this series. This one continues with the introduction to the rest of the fencing team and how they must work together to win the championship. All the characters are drawn beautifully and have their own distinct personalities. Johanna the Mad did a fantastic job in making each character look different and her style is absolutely beautiful. I want to buy a print of this series so bad! I should look into that.

 

I've always loved C.S. Pacat's storytelling, and I see here that with each new issue, I am going to fall in love with this story more and more. I love that she is putting all her love into a story about a sport she herself is passionate about. She is introducing a whole new generation to fencing and that it's okay to be yourself and I think that's such a charming mission she set upon herself. I wish her all the best with future issues!

 

If you want to be introduced to what fencing is, if you want to read about young boys trying their hardest at something they love, if you want to read a comic with many characters from diverse background, then I highly recommend you give this a read! I am really excited to read the next installment when it comes out! 

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review 2018-01-01 13:33
Lady Mechanika, Vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey
Lady Mechanika TP Vol 03: The Lost Boys of West Abbey - Marcia Chen

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Beautiful artwork like in the first two collected volumes. I didn’t notice the same ‘eye-candy’ level during action scenes as in the first volumes, which is good since it makes those scenes more believable. Exception made for the illustrations at the end, these are all fine since they’re meant to depict the character posing anyway. Also, they’re beautiful. The art and colours remain as enjoyable as ever.

While there’s no resolution as to Mechanika’s past here either, we do get a few glimpses into what she has been through, thanks to her nightmares and memories. I can only hope that at some point she’ll get to find out the information she’s seeking.

This volume dealt with body transfer into what appear like a mix of golems and automata, which means that of course I got sold on that idea pretty quick. There’s a mix of dark experiments with magic and technology, action, and conundrums about what defines life, that I tend to enjoy. There’s a tall, dark and somewhat mysterious detective (Singh) that for once I felt more connection with than I usually do with that character archetype. Oh, and creepy toys, in a sense, considering the golems are doll-like and can easily be mistaken for toys.

This third instalment felt darker to me than the second one, and more interesting even though there was no trip to mysterious temples or adventures in the jungle; I guess that’s my natural preference for urban settings speaking, along with the themes explored in this ‘Lost Boys of West Abbey’ story.

The one thing I really regret is how short this volume was compared to the others. The plot deserved more.

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review 2017-12-15 22:45
Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

A quick read for older MG and YA readers. I picked this up from the library for the Donghzi Festival square.

 

The MC, Jin Wang, just wants to fit in. That was easy to do when living in San Francisco and Asian-American, not so easily done when your parents move you to a white suburban area during the middle school years and you are cast from the outset as "Other". To make matters worse, you fall for a pretty white girl who doesn't notice you are alive. So by the time you are in high school, so you invent a persona (Danny) and try to hide Jin Wang the person behind Danny. The few friends you have, both Asian-Americans as well and just as uncool, are not surprised but disappointed about your choices of late. Those friends may have come from an unlikely source, but for the sake of spoilers, I am not saying where those friends came from. Eventually, with the friends' help the persona of Danny goes away and Jin Wang finally accepts himself. The story was great but the art work so too basic, too amateurish to be interesting. I would read more from this author but I would like to see better art work next time.

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