It’s been awhile since I did any comic reviews, but today I’ve got trade paperbacks from four different series coming at you!
Lazarus Volumes 1 – 4 by Greg Rucka, Art by Michael Lark
“In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family’s holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus.” via Goodreads
Lazarus is a series I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’m a sucker for dystopian settings, and this one is really interesting. I like learning more about it throughout the volumes. There are multiple plot lines between characters that are both interesting and not overly complicated, and the art is great. It’s full of life and movement, which is good since these comics pack a lot of action. But most impressive for me is the main character, Forever. She manages to be one of the most well rounded strong female characters I’ve read in comics. Yes, she is physically strong and can kick some serious ass, but she also has emotions & complicated feelings that she is trying to deal with. Having a very well rounded female lead is definitely something I appreciate. Volume 4 ended on a very confusing note, so I’m impatiently awaiting Volume 5 to figure out just what the heck is going on.
Saga Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan, Art by Fiona Staples
“Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.” – via Goodreads
I found Volume 6 of Saga to be really refreshing. I think I was getting a bit jaded on it after reading Volume 5 – a lot of the character plots seemed stale, and many things seemed to be just a bit too silly for me to really get into the storyline anymore. Thankfully, Volume 6 resolved a lot of those issues. I’m super happy we got more of a focus on Hazel as a character in the present, now that she’s school age. Having Alana and Marko together again is such a relief for both my heart, and for the story. Honestly, these two together are just magic and it makes for a much more enjoyable read. The only plot line I’m still a bit burnt on is The Will, and it seemed like they finally wrapped his story up in this volume. We’ll see what Volume 7 brings! Also, it goes without saying that the art is just fucking fantastic. I will read anything Fiona Staples illustrates, ever.
Rat Queens Volume 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Art by Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain
Quick sidebar: For those who may not know, there is a lot of drama about the creators of this comic (specifically, the original artist, Roc Upchurch) which is completed unrelated to the comic itself. Here, I’ll just be talking about the comic – art & story – and not how the creator circumstances effect my feelings about it. Feel free to discuss it in the comments with me though if you like!
First off, lets address the art. It can be jarring when a series switches artists in the middle. I know a lot of people weren’t a fan of Fowler’s style and rendition of the Rat Queens, but I actually like it. It was definitely different, but to me it didn’t take away from the characters at all. Sadly, it was the story I found less captivating. It wasn’t as funny, and I’m sad the team is on the outs. I would have been far more interested in reading about more random adventures the ladies get into together as a team, instead of drama and fighting. I do want read Volume 4 to see what happens but that may be my last, which is really disappointing since the first two volumes were just spectacular.
Bitch Planet Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro, Art by Taki Soma & Robert Wilson
“In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?” via Goodreads
I wanted to like this comic a lot more than I did. While I didn’t hate it, for the most part is just didn’t suit my fancy and I was unable to really get into the story. My biggest problem comes with how to categorize this comic. Part of me feels like it’s meant to be satiric, except for the fact that it’s entirely serious and very un-funny. That was a let down. Perhaps it’s just personal preference, but I find serious topics presented in an extremely over the top manner easier to take in when there’s humor in the mix. For example, the fake ad pages mixed in throughout the volume, done in the old comic ad style – they were fantastic! Funny, over the top, totally ridiculous with excellent wit. The main story entirely lacked that. All the women’s stories were just really depressing, and the patriarchal world was just so over done I found it unrealistic and I couldn’t get into the main story.
As for the art, it was solid. Not my favorite art style, but it did it’s job well. I think my favorite part of the art was that there were many cases where you see naked women, and they were never drawn in a sexual manner. They were just naked women (which on it’s own, should NOT equal sexual.) Even in scenes where sexual things are a part of the scene, it was still presented in a manner of neutrality, and I though that was really impressive. But given the fact that I wasn’t too into the world or main story, I’m unsure if I will continue with Volume 2.
What comics have you read lately? Have you read any of the above? Let me know what you thought of them!