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review 2019-02-17 23:37
YA graphic novel about the teenage Catwoman; falls short of expectations, lacks depth, and is full of foul language
Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale - Lauren Myracle,Isaac Goodhart

Life pretty much sucks for Selina Kyle, at least for as long as she stays living at home with her mom and the endless stream of boyfriends she brings home. None have been as bad as the latest guy, Dernell, who’s cruel and will even lock Selina up in a closet when he wants to teach her a lesson. When something happens to Selina’s new cat, she can’t take it anymore; life on the streets will surely be better than staying where she feels so unhappy.

Selina joins a small ‘pack’ of street kids, learns parkour, gets close to an old friend and takes on the new name and persona ‘Catgirl.’ Usually more of a loner, she begrudgingly learns she has to trust others if she is going to survive. And she also plans to carry out some not-so-small heists in gritty, crime-addled Gotham City.

 

This YA graphic novel is fresh from the DC Ink line and is written by author Lauren Myracle, who is no stranger to teen and tween lit, writing the bestsellers ttyl, ttfn, l8r, and g8r. This also means some pretty high expectations, because of Myracle’s familiarity with her audience and her success.

‘Under The Moon’ also happens to be about probably one of the coolest female comic book icons, Catwoman, although here we really have a version of her unlike any that has been seen before. Since this Selina is only fourteen years old, she really is a girl, and so calling it ‘A Catwoman Tale’ is definitely a bit of a stretch. And so begins the problems, because if anyone has read or seen any incarnation of this character before, it’s really hard to remove that image or knowledge (only just recently Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas came out as #3 in the DC Icons series).

 

In previous comics and the novel I just mentioned, we see an older Selina, who takes care of her younger sister and is trained under Carmine Falcone, as well as a past that included her mother dying, being a prostitute, as well as training and living in Europe.

 

‘Under the Moon’ gives us a Selina with a wealth of issues: she’s a runaway, she stops going to school as a result (making her a high-school dropout), and resorts to cutting to relieve her emotional pain. While I understand the notion of presenting a teen character who has the inclination to run from her home situation (abuse in the home is a pretty valid reason), or has a problem with self-harming (I will warn readers now about this, because it’s a big trigger), since these may be relatable issues for some readers, I also take issue with that being done in a responsible manner. I feel like these are risky, BIG topics to so lightly insert into a slim 96-page graphic novel, with very little insight. It’s irresponsible to add in a topic like self-harming so casually.

 

Since this is aimed at teens who are 13 to 17, I also feel like the flagrant use of foul language was wholly unnecessary. Unlike another teen DC graphic novel coming out soon after this, Kami Garcia’s ‘Teen Titans: Raven,’ that doesn’t have expletives and talk about things like penis size thrown in, this probably will be the reason for reconsideration for libraries (especially school libraries) carrying this book. I am not naïve about the use of swearing in YA lit, but it seems excessive in ‘Under The Moon’ and distracted me from the story, being used in a way that seemed like it was used to pander to  young readers (who may think it’s ‘cool’ to talk like this).

 

I also got a very mixed notion as to who Selina is because of the swings in her characterization. Her portrayal is quite inconsistent, at once dismissive of the few friends she has, then she acts the opposite way soon afterward (although her compassion towards Rosie in the latter part of the novel is heart-warming). The self-harming comes out of nowhere. She is sometimes self-assured and then not remotely confident. And her connection to Bruce Wayne, which apparently starts in preschool, feels more confusing than it ever is in most literary and cinematic portrayals of Catwoman so far. Him being at public school is yet another diversion from his own origin story.

Something else that irritated me, is Selina’s inconsistent connection to CATS. I wasn’t convinced entirely by the way she came to call herself ‘Catgirl’ despite the event that preceded this juncture.

 

I wanted so much to love this graphic novel: the sentiments of her being a stray and her loneliness are powerful, with these being reasons for her ‘cat-burglar’ behavior, but I found too many problems that I couldn’t look past. Fleshed out and with paying more attention to the deeper issues in this story I would maybe go along with Selina’s backstory, but I can't recommend this, as it is right now (*as always, edits may be made before publication), to the targeted reader group.

 

**Points/extra star for cool artwork.

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38452822-under-the-moon?ac=1&from_search=true
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review 2017-05-21 15:12
Audio Book Review: Treasure of the Dead
Treasure of the Dead: A Dane and Bones Origin Story (Dane Maddock Origins) (Volume 9) - David Wood,Rick Chesler

*I was given this review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

In 1715 a ship full of treasure has been pushed off course with terrible storms. El Senor San Miguel runs onto land. When one of the crew makes land, he is horrified by what he finds limping on the beach.

Bones agrees to go on treasure hunting in the vast ocean with Maddock and has the first spot in mind. Bones had received a call from a dear friend of his when she received information from a cousin that's been found dead, mauled by animals. Maddock and Bones will quickly learn that trouble follows them whether in the service or on their own hunting treasure.

Jeffrey has voiced all the stories in this world with these men, and he is with us again. Jeffrey has become the voice of Maddock and Bones and all friends they interact with. The best part, I feel as the personality and tone given to Maddock and Bones fit the people written in words. For some reason Bones feels natural, but he's probably my favorite of the two. lol. Jeffrey never gives away a feel that something is coming, he adds just enough tension to the story by keeping in the here and now. This leaves me feeling comfortable with the characters but knowing with the writing of David and Rick that something is coming, I'm just waiting for it.

In the beginning we see a glimpse of a different side of Maddock and Bones. They left SEAL just months ago, and both are struggling adjusting to civilian life. Bones seems to be worse in a different way than Maddock, needing a release for pent up frustration. I like seeing them struggle after their life has been SEAL for so long. The life they lived is completely different than how they are to live now. Maddock shows up to ask Bones to help on a treasure hunting expedition, something they know how to do but less dangerous for their lives. These two never lose their great humor that makes me smile even in the tough times.

This is a slower start in the way of action for Maddock and Bones. But the authors strategically write in sections, as they are known for, with other characters. The events of the other characters then lead to our guys arriving, and things don't go as smoothly as it should, which could be to Bones and Maddock's liking. Well, maybe just Bones. They do enjoy their danger.

We see Bones flirting, as usual but with someone that he has some past with. The friend that contacted Bones is/was more than a simple friend. She and Bones have history together.

I always enjoy getting to spend any hour with Maddock and Bones. Their banter always brings a smile to my face while their adventures make my heart race. I enjoy the twist to the history that's created, a twist with a slight paranormal feel to it, as we go on the expedition not knowing what we'll walk into yet knowing it's going to result in danger and action.

This book is shorter in length, as audio it's just shy of 5 hours. The authors keep the story to the point of action, where we learn details of what we are looking for which leads eventually to troubles for our guys. We don't waste time getting from one point to the next as long as there is nothing extraordinary happening.

When things start to come out in the end, it all happens fast. Maybe a bit to fast, but that's the way it washes out in the end - all at once.

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review 2015-09-23 22:12
Scariest of Them All
Fairest - Marissa Meyer

This was an absolutely excruciating read (listen); a hellish tragedy all the way through. But I'm very impressed with how the author managed to create a psychopathic character who has some genuine vulnerability and pathos, without ever watering her evil deeds down. (Perhaps that makes her by definition not a psychopath, but she's certainly pathological in some manner.) What Levana does to others is unbearable and utterly hateful, but it's hard not to feel a stab of pity for her; even one of the characters she hurts the most can't help but feel it. She's so pitifully stunted, an ego driven child who was never nurtured enough to grow up. I don't think I could ever bear to reread this, but I admired it.

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review 2009-01-31 00:00
Origin: The True Story of Wolverine
Origin: The True Story of Wolverine - Paul Jenkins,Joe Quesada,Bill Jemas,Andy Kubert,Richard Isanove Forgettable.If you're going to try to create an origin for one of your most iconic characters, that origin had better be (*@#ing memorable. Look at Batman, for example. Or look at what Alan Moore did for the Joker in The Killing Joke. The origin should resonate for the reader.In Origin, the story kind of lands with a dull thump.Oh, it's not terrible. The authors clearly tried. They just weren't up to the task, that's all. And so they've created an utterly forgettable, inconsequential, run-of-the-mill...I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?Oh yeah. Origin. Sorry, I nodded off.In a fractional system, Origin would get a 1.8 from me. At best, it was kind of cheesy. I mean, when you've got your character running and howling with wolves, it's a pretty good sign that you're in way over your head...unless you're a really, really good writer. Which these guys aren't. And maybe it was a warning sign that there were three writers on this turkey.Hmm...if they'd had Wolverine running and gobbling with turkeys...now, that would have been memorable! :DPS - the claws looked stupid to me. Claws should look like claws, not unicorn horns!
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