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review 2019-08-25 15:03
Generation Zero: We Are the Future (graphic novel, vol. 1) written by Fred Van Lente, art by Francis Portela, Derek Charm, and Diego Bernard
Generation Zero Volume 1: We Are the Future - Fred Van Lente

Keisha Sherman desperately wants to find out the truth about what happened to her boyfriend, Stephen. He supposedly got drunk and died in a car crash, but she knows he wasn't the kind of guy to do that - he didn't drink, do drugs, or smoke. Since her dad, the local Sheriff, won't listen and thinks she's just in denial, Keisha turns to the only people she can think of: Generation Zero. She makes a desperate plea for their help...and they answer.

This was another graphic novel I requested via ILL after finding out about it while doing some research for a grant proposal. It was a 2017 Virginia Library Association Diversity Award Honor Book.

I can't recall the last time I read a Valiant series. Honestly, looking through their list of titles, it's possible I've never read a Valiant series. I certainly haven't read any of the Harbringer comics, which are apparently related to the Generation Zero comics somehow.

Although I could definitely tell that there was some backstory I was unaware of (I didn't realize until after I'd read the whole graphic novel that the description on the back cover included some useful info for complete newbies to this world, like me), I think I was able to follow along pretty well. The members of Generation Zero had originally been taken from their families and trained as weapons. Each of them had of them had special powers of some sort, and each of them dealt with their trauma and having their childhoods stolen from them in different ways.

Cronus (I'm not sure about his powers), who appeared to be the team's leader, wanted to do good. Telic (could see a little into the future), meanwhile, wanted Cronus to embrace the fact that they'd been trained to be weapons. Animalia (could give herself other forms, although I think it wasn't so much shapeshifting as crafting an illusion over herself), one of the group's youngest members, just wanted a life that was nice and good. Cloud (telepath) was the group's gentlest and most positive member, despite constantly being exposed to humanity's collective consciousness. The Zygos twins (super smart?) didn't seem to particularly like humans in general. I didn't really get much of a feel for Gamete, a super fetus who got around by controlling the body of her comatose mother like some sort of creepy puppet.

I wasn't really a fan of the artwork. Facial expressions were a bit stiff, and the artist(s) sometimes had trouble drawing the characters consistently. The female Zygos twin, for example, usually looked almost exactly like her brother, only with longer hair and very slightly more defined lips. In some panels, however, she was inexplicably drawn with more stereotypically feminine features: much more prominent lips and thicker eyelashes. It was weird. I did think the switch to Archie comics-style artwork during the "questioning Adele" portion was really effective, though.

This volume just scratched the surface of whatever was going on in Keisha's hometown, which involved weird faceless Cornermen, technology that shouldn't exist yet, and Momoo energy shakes. The characters were relatively interesting, but I don't know whether I'll be continuing on with this. If I do continue on: Keisha's autistic (?) brother just flat-out disappeared near the end of the volume, so here's hoping the writer doesn't forget about him and actually answers the question of where he went in the next volume.


Variant covers and a few examples of the artwork in progress (line art, and line art with some color applied but no shading).


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-05-03 18:45
Fanservice! So much fanservice!
Valiant High #1 (of 4) - Derek Charm,Daniel Kibblesmith,David Lafuente

So.   Much.   


It's one of those 'we'll make that fandom high school students' fanfiction, except it's legit! Which means that unlike the main problem of the cafe/high school fanfics - not enough drama - this has plenty to spare, and seems to be fairly true to Valiant's main universe.   Not only that, I think I see seeds of some of the storylines in here, although they are tamped down a little.   (Also, Bloodshot coaching high school children.   So many giggles.  So many.)


I'm actually almost slightly embarrassed to admit how much I liked this.  It's not the regular Valiant universe, that's for sure, but it is fun!  It's nice to strip the Valiant universe of some of it's politics and real world-type angst - adult angst - and get a little lovesick, mooning teenage angst.   Because it's somewhat easier to slip in something fun, something a little lighter, especially with Faith, and I just really needed this yesterday.   Thank you, Valiant!

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review 2017-04-11 14:26
Still loving this
Jughead (2015-) Vol. 2 - Chip Zdarsky,Ryan North,Jack Morelli,Derek Charm

When Jughead mistakenly ends up on a date with Sabrina - yeah, the teenage witch, it would be an easy way out of writing him as asexual - and I half-suspected that the comics would go this way.    But the thing is that Sabrina was originally hired as a talking burger - she dressed up as a huge burger - which sent Jughead into fits: he loves burgers in an almost sexual way, but ladies, meh.   At first he just wants to talk to a giant burger, so when he asks Sabrina to do something, it's completely innocent.   When she assumes it's a date, everyone gets excited: Jughead on a date!   I think, on some level, they believe the magical properties of a vagina - any vag that gets all up into a burger costume - will 'fix' Jughead.   Although I suspect this is shaded by me basically being told to just have sex, because I'll like it, and people assuming there's something wrong with me.   


To be fair to the comic itself, it never comes out and says this with most of the characters.  And it could be that they're simply excited that Jughead is showing interest of some kind of romantic sort towards anyone - or anything.   (Again, he likes her best in her burger costume.  In an elaborate fantasy in which they get married and have a child, she never takes off her costume and their baby is a baby burger.)


Jughead, afraid of insulting Sabrina, doesn't correct her - which means she assumes he has romantic, or at least sexual, interest in her and when he's nervous and has his friends crash his date to help him out, Sabrina gets angrier and angrier.   And you really don't want to anger a witch.   Archie, oblivious to the fact that Jughead is still asexual, but trying to help the only way he knows how tries to get them to kiss.


Still, Jughead works through his confusion and eventually apologies to Sabrina.   Basically, he figures out he's not so much into ladies as talking burgers.   It's pretty awesome that they stuck to this, and somehow found a way to explore alternatives to the asexual aspect without undermining him as a character, or saying there was something wrong with him.  I personally really appreciated this because I know I've done the same thing: explored, hell, even denied, and it didn't make me any less wrong or different.   It just meant I needed to try.   (And I have a friend who saw Paula Poundstone, who is openly asexual and a comedian.   Apparently she made a joke about trying sex every ten years to see if she changed and likes sex, and nope.   My point just because you are something, there can be confusing times, times that you question, but only you can decide what you are.   And because of that, I found this storyline realistic, honest, and I love that it didn't retract Jughead asexuality or change him to try and make him more palatable to the mainstream.)


I'm loving this so, so much.

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review 2015-08-18 08:00
Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up
Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up - Derek Charm,Jeremy Whitley,Sean E. Williams

I read another book in this series last year: Super Secret Crisis War. And since the Powerpuff Girls always were my favourite Cartoon Network series, I was glad to see they made a sequel.


I enjoyed this story even more (I always like the nostalgic feeling I get from reading it, it's a trip down memory lane for me) but the story in this one was more coherent and there was a better explanation for there being different universes with different drawing styles. All the favourite characters make their appearances but the focus lays on the Powerpuff Girls and Dexter and his sister.


I would like to read more of their joint adventures!


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2015-08-06 16:18
Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up - Derek Charm,Jeremy Whitley,Sean E. Williams

Received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

This was a great and fun book, and it is kind of a sequel to the Super Secret Crisis War. You can read them separately, but you might be confused as to how the girls know Dexter, and what happened that he granted them a tour through his laboratory (something he doesn't do for just everyone).

Most of the book took place in Townsville, but you can also find the girls on their quest to find DeeDee in the Cow & Chicken world, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends world, Courage the Cowardly Dog world and various others, there are also other worlds that we don't visit, but which we do see pop up. While the story seems a bit random at times, it is all connected to one thing: DeeDee's rampage and that thanks to her the Dimensions are shifting. Though the later part also focusses on something different, which was nice. I was thinking it would end when they found DeeDee, but there is a little twist (well... twist? I think most can see it coming) at the end. Really appreciated, especially considering this story mostly took place in Townsville.

Most of the book was a big nostalgia trip, however I never really cared about Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and I don't know anything about that camp (not sure what the name was) world. But for most I was delighted to see old characters come to life again. Only on the one hand, I was delighted to see all these worlds, but on the other hand, I would have liked to see Bravo or the Eds.
My favourite world? Courage! I loved that cartoon (even though it was highly weird) and I was happy to see Courage being Courage again. Scared about everything (and with good reason) as always.

The story was really fun and I was just cheering for the girls (and Dexter and the Professor) to find DeeDee. It was hilarious to see everyone's reaction to the girls, especially since they fly/float and generally people don't just do that.

The art is really colourful and fun, and it really captures the characters as I know them. I don't know the illustrators (most sites just seem to list Various), but they did a great job.

I do hope we will get another book in this "series", since I just love all the cross-overs that are happening in this series. Also I am really delighted that this one was way better than the first one, I was kind of worried I would also not like this one, but thankfully, this one was actually quite good.

I would recommend this one to people, kids will like it, and I am sure adults like me will love it for the nostalgia it brings.

Review first posted at http://twirlingbookprincess.com/

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