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review 2018-06-23 19:02
Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? Volume 0 by Jason Latour
Spider-Gwen Vol. 1: Most Wanted? - Marvel Comics

Title:  Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? Volume 0

Author: Jason Latour

Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Genre:  Action / Superheroes / Drama / Crime / Music


Year Published: 2015


Year Read:  11/11/2017

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Series: Spider-Gwen #0

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 15+ (Some Language and Violence)

 

 

Spider

Introduction: 

Wait a minute…Gwen Stacy is…SPIDER WOMAN!? And who ever heard of a graphic novel having a volume 0? 

Before you get confused about this (as I was), there was an event called “Spider-Verse” that might explain about all this (except that I haven’t read the “Spider-Verse” event yet, so that point might be moot at this time). Anyway, I have been hearing so many good things about the “Spider-Gwen” series that I had to give “Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? Volume Zero” a shot and I must admit that I actually liked this graphic novel!

What is this story about? 

In this universe, it was Gwen Stacy who was bitten by a radioactive spider and possessed spider powers (not Peter Parker). It turns out that Peter Parker was bullied so much at school that one day he decided to transform himself into the lizard and went on a rampage throughout the city and ended up getting himself killed. Because of this, Gwen harbored a lot of guilt over what happened to Peter since Peter was doing all this to be like Gwen. After this tragic event, J. Jonah Jameson had caused the public to turn against Spider-Gwen by stating that she was responsible for Peter Parker’s death and Gwen ends up being on the run from the law, including from her father Captain Stacy (at least until she tells him who she really is). Now Gwen has to prove to the public that she did not kill Peter Parker and that she is a true hero while also avoiding the people after her including Frank Castle (A.K.A. The Punisher), the Vulture and Matt Murdock himself!

What I loved about this story: 

Jason Latour’s writing: Jason Latour’s writing was quite unique and interesting to read as this universe’s Gwen Stacy is one of the most interesting characters I had ever read! I loved the way that Jason Latour made Gwen Stacy into such a strong female protagonist as Gwen also cracks jokes like Spider-Man, but she can be moody at times due to her guilt over Peter’s death and I loved the way that Jason Latour wrote Gwen’s struggles with trying to cope with Peter’s death as it made Gwen into a truly relatable character. I also loved the fact that Gwen Stacy is involved in a rock band as it adds even more dimension to her character and I just loved the fact that we have a heroine who is into music! I also enjoyed the moments between Gwen and her father, Captain Stacy, as while it was quite intense due to Captain Stacy not wanting his daughter to get in danger, it was nice seeing how much Captain Stacy cares about his daughter and only wants what is best for her. Jason Latour also did an interesting job at giving us a Spider-Man universe where Gwen Stacy is Spider Woman as I never would have thought that Gwen Stacy of all people could become a superheroine. But, this version of Gwen Stacy is so well written that I actually loved the fact that Gwen Stacy makes an interesting Spider Woman!

Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork: Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork was quite creative to look at, especially Spider Gwen’s outfit! I just loved the reddish hues that cover the pages whenever Gwen is performing in her rock band as it makes those moments really stand out. But the best part of Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork is Spider-Gwen’s outfit! I think I have fallen in love with Spider-Gwen’s outfit since it is actually white and pink all over and it makes her look like a savior type being within the pages!

Spider

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

The reason why I gave this book a four-star rating was because I felt that the dialogue was a bit disjointed at times. I was not sure if it was because the dialogue was trying to use street slang to make the characters seem more modern or if it was the writing itself. I often had a difficult time trying to understand what the characters are actually saying due to how the dialogue is being written. Also, if you have not read “Spider-Verse,” chances are you will probably be confused about what is really going on in this book (although this is technically an alternate universe of the “Spider-Man” universe).

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? Volume Zero” is a great graphic novel to read if you want to see a different take on Gwen Stacy!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 17:03
Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale Volume 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa,Francesco Francavilla

Title:  Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale Volume 1  

Author:  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa  

Artist:  Francesco Francavilla  

Genre:  Horror / Drama / Zombies / Alternative Universe / Friendship


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  10/28/2017

Publisher:  Archie Comics

Series: Afterlife with Archie #1

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 15+ (Gory Violence and Some Language)

 

 

 

Afterlife

Introduction: 

Alright, so I will admit that I have not read many Archie Comics where the gang is put into a darker situation that is different from the “wholesale family entertainment” adventures that they are usually in (and this was BEFORE the reboot came along, although the reboot was not as dark as this comic). So, since Halloween is around the corner, I just had to pick this graphic novel up called “Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale Volume One” which is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa along with artwork by Francesco Francavilla, where Archie and the Gang end up in a for real zombie apocalypse!

What is this story about? 

The story starts out with Hot Dog, Jughead’s beloved dog, being run over by a car and Jughead ends up going to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, to see if she can help his dog. Unfortunately, Sabrina’s aunts tell Jughead that there is nothing they can do for Hot Dog and that he should let Hot Dog stay dead. But then, Sabrina decided to help out Jughead anyway and she ends up resurrecting Hot Dog. Unfortunately, it turns out that when Sabrina brought Hot Dog back to life, Hot Dog became a zombie dog and he ended up biting Jughead, which turned Jughead into a zombie! So, when Jughead went to the school dance, he ended up affecting most of the school by biting most of the students, with the exception of the main cast, which consisted of Archie, Dilton, Midge, Moose, Reggie, Betty, Veronica and many others. The remaining students ended up going to Mr. Lodge’s mansion in order to protect themselves against the zombies, while also trying to see if there are any survivors from the zombie apocalypse.

What I loved about this story: 

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing: Wow! I never would have thought that I would live to see the day where there would be a graphic novel series that has Archie and the gang getting involved in a zombie apocalypse! Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has done a fantastic job at giving the usual sweet natured Archie Comics a darker and scarier tone in this graphic novel and it never felt so out of place to me that the Archie gang in this story are portrayed in a much more mature and cynical way, since they are stuck in a zombie apocalypse and it is appropriate for this type of story. I also loved the way that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa created a different spin for each of the main characters, such as Betty and Veronica being more antagonistic with each other rather than be good friends with a small rivalry with each other, Sabrina and her family being more realistic and intense versions of witches and Nancy and Chuck…well, I will let you find out for yourselves what is going on with Nancy and Chuck in this comic! I really loved the fact that this comic is much more serious and frightening in tone since the gang are facing a zombie apocalypse and I found myself a bit creeped out by some of the moments in this comic, such as the zombified citizens of Riverdale attacking the main protagonists.

Francesco Francavilla’s artwork: Francesco Francavilla’s artwork fits the scary and serious tone of this comic quite perfectly as the zombies in this comic are quite terrifying to look at such as the images of the zombified Hot Dog. I loved the fact that the art style is much more realistic in this comic as it really captures the mature and serious nature of this story. I also loved the way that Francesco Francavilla did the coloring of this book as the colors are mostly in red, black, orange and grey that greatly convey the horror elements of this story.

Afterlife

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

Anyone who does not like language or gory violence might be a bit uncomfortable with some of the gory violence and language in this comic. The language in this comic is not as strong as some of the more mature comics as only the “h” word is uttered in a couple of sentences and as for the gory violence, there are many images of zombies biting into people which is pretty graphic.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale Volume One” is a fantastic graphic novel that anyone who loves both the Archie Comics and zombies will easily enjoy!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-22 15:59
Mystique by Amanda Quick
Mystique - Amanda Quick

Hugh the Relentless wants to become Hugh of Scarcliffe. To accomplish that, he needs to appease his superstitious villages by finding a green crystal that's been recently stolen from the Scarcliffe convent.

The green crystal was briefly in possession of Lady Alice, a sharp-tongued beauty that's determined to strike a bargain with Hugh. She'll help him locate the stone, if he helps her and her brother leave their uncle's manor.


This was almost an exact copy of Desire with the long-suffering, knightly hero becoming saddled with an opinionated, rather spoiled, and entitled heroine with a sharp tongue, reckless impulses, and (at least from what I've seen) not much wit.

The romance between Hugh the Relentless and Alice the Relentless Pain in his Butt left much to be desired, since the heroine was so bloody annoying, I couldn't comprehend what drew Hugh to her and Hugh being so goddamn bland, I couldn't comprehend what drew her to him.

The suspense was the saving grace of this story with motives and suspects galore, and the mystery involving past sins and the Stones of Scarcliffe was nicely intriguing. Unfortunately, it couldn't compensate for the lack in all other "departments".

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review 2018-06-21 16:11
Desire by Amanda Quick
Desire - Amanda Quick

Clare, lady of the Isle of Desire, has no other choice but wed. What little choice she does have, will be spent on choosing the right husband, following a specific "recipe". All she needs are suitable candidates; they must not be big, they must be kind and have a pleasant disposition, and they must read.

Her liege lord sends her only two possible candidates. Sir Nicholas is out of the question, since he's an idiot, while Sir Gareth, the knight they call the Hellhound of Wyckmere, will not do either. He's huge, too serious and appears emotionless...But at least he can read.


I like medievals; the pageantry, the hulking knights on huge warhorses, the swords, the damsels in their girdles and wimples...This one only had the hulking knight on a huge warhorse and his sword.

I liked Gareth. He was the incarnation of a still water running deep. He was honorable, protective, smart and cunning...And unfortunately saddled with an idiot for heroine.
I couldn't stand Clare. For someone who prided herself on her intelligence, she sure could act stupid and shrewish. I'm sure she was supposed to be a feminist, but her "smart, strong willed" tantrums landed her in the entitled and opinionated bitch territory. She was impulsive, she never thought before she spoke, and her stereotypical view of knights (even the one who has sworn to protect her), coupled with her idiotic fantasy of the "dream man" got old really fast.

The resulting romance between the poor guy and the somewhat TSTL shrew made me wince, the "suspense" was predictable (you could see the villain and his "accomplice" from a mile away) and too short-lived...The majority of the story was spent on the two protagonists getting to know each other and Clare being Clare. With a different heroine, it might've been entertaining; with this one, it was just painful.

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review 2018-06-17 11:12
The One You Can't Forget by Roni Loren
The One You Can't Forget (The Ones Who Got Away) - Roni Loren

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Rebecca Lindt, Long Acre survivor, and Wesley Garrett, former chef and recovering alcoholic after his nasty divorce, meet (again) in a stressful situation. She's about to get mugged and panicking, having flashbacks, as he runs to her rescue. The attraction is instantaneous, but there's just one little problem—she's the divorce attorney who helped his ex ruin him...Plus, there are both their issues, her demons, his addictive personality...So what should the two do? Give it a shot, of course.


Like its predecessor, this one was a straight-up romance. There were no dead bodies, no villains (well, maybe her dad for a second toward the end), and no mysteries or investigations. Just two regular people, albeit with loads and loads of problems, issues, and inner demons, experiencing regular human drama and emotions.
And I liked it. I liked that I didn't have to "think" much during the story. It was straightforward, poignant, realistic and normal.

The characters were wonderful, well-developed, and nicely layered, the plot itself had some pretty heavy pondering moments, the romance might've felt a bit rushed, but it somehow worked giving both characters, and the conflicts were (thankfully) pretty quickly and easily resolved.
Though I found the heroine somewhat annoying in her rather self-centered guilt and her nobody-loves-me-and-those-who-might-don't-really-know-me-so-I-better-push-them-away-just-to-be-safe mentality. It started to really get old as the story progressed, but lucky for her (and the reader) there was her hero, Wes, to set her straight and make her see reason.

The pacing wasn't perfect, yet the story flew nicely, the writing was great, and the humor provided that needed levity.

This was a story of regular people going through normal human stuff and emotions, a story of (self)forgiveness, (self)discovery and growth, showing us everything clicks into place when the time is right and (if) you let it.

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