Turn the Page: Comic Reviews

It’s been awhile since I did any comic reviews, but today I’ve got trade paperbacks from four different series coming at you!

comic reviews - lazarus

Lazarus Volumes 1 – 4 by Greg Rucka, Art by Michael Lark

Story Rating:

really like it rating

Art Rating:

really like it rating

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.

Comic reviews - saga vol 6

Saga Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan, Art by Fiona Staples

Story Rating:

just outstanding rating

Art Rating:

just outstanding rating

“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.

comic reviews - rat queens vol 3

Rat Queens Volume 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Art by Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain

Story Rating:

not good not great rating

Art Rating:

really like it rating

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.

comic reviews - bitch planet vol 1

Bitch Planet Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro, Art by Taki Soma & Robert Wilson

Story Rating:

enjoyable rating

Art Rating:

enjoyable rating

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!

 

  • B.

    I bought the first volume of Rat Queens but just couldn’t get into it like everyone. The last trade I grabbed was the current Daredevil run. I really enjoyed it for the most part!

    • Kay

      I would most certainly avoid the rest of Rat Queens if the first one didn’t grab you! I’ve read very little Daredevil, just a couple volumes from the past few years, but I’m curious about the current run.

  • I heard a story about Bitch Planet on NPR a couple months ago and meant to check it out since it sounded interesting. I didn’t end up reading it and it doesn’t sound like I’m missing out on much. That’s a bummer. it sounded really promising and the owner of the comic shop my boyfriend and I go to LOVES it. I’m with you on needing the funny with the serious.
    I’ve been reading a ton of mainstream comics (and I’m woefully behind on most of them). I’m REALLY loving Thor, Black Widow (more girl power!) and Black Panther.

    • Kay

      I want to read both Black Widow and Black Panther! Superhero comics are really what I’ve read LEAST of, and someday I must fix that!
      I definitely think there has to be humor with super serious subjects, because otherwise it just seems wholly depressing, which isn’t really what I want from my comic experience! Plus, I feel like the patriarchal system is just SO extreme in this case and because the tone IS so serious, I have a hard time getting into it at all. If you ever do give it a try, let me know what you think!

  • Emma

    I love a good Dystopian read, so I’m definitely bookmarking Lazarus. I also need to catch up on Saga – sounds like it’s picking up again. The last trade I bought was Rat Queens vol 3. I still need to read it, but I’m a little nervous now after seeing your review. I’m curious to hear about the drama surrounding the comic though? I always preferred Stjepan Sejic’s run because I absolutely adore his style.

    • Kay

      Lazarus is so fun! I think you’ll enjoy it if you like dystopian.

      Okay, the drama with Rat Queens. Keep in mind, I haven’t done a massive amount of research on this, but I feel like I’ve read enough about it to get the gist of what happened, and it sounds pretty shitty. Here’s the lowdown:
      Roc Upchurch, the original artist, was arrested for domestic battery for beating his wife. He ‘stepped down’ from the project, and was replaced by Tess Fowler for Volume 3. Fowler repeatedly asked Kurtis Wiebe (writer/creator) if this was a permanent position for her, not just a temp until Roc was back, and was told yes on multiple occasions. After paying $750 in bail, Roc was a free man, Fowler was fired, and Roc Upchurch is now back on as illustrator.
      Now, a lot of this is probably he-said-she-said in terms of how Fowler was let go, but I honestly don’t care. I have a really hard time putting my money towards someone who was arrested and jailed for domestic abuse. And the fact that Wiebe is willing to continue employing him as a part of the project leaves a really bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. Ugh.

  • Oh man, I’m a sucker for dystopian everything, and Lazarus sounds fantastic!! And I’ll definitely have to check out Saga, I’ve read a lot of raving reviews for that series as a whole!

    • Kay

      Saga is great. Definitely not perfect, but overall, it’s such an epic family story. And Fiona Staples illustrations are just gold. Lazarus is good too! I’m really confused about how things currently left off, but I’m hoping when Volume 5 comes out things will clear up! I like that Lazarus just chucks you into the world – there isn’t any exposition, you just find out about things along the way. I like that style, and especially for the dystopian genre.

  • Mariah Kaercher

    I read Nailbiter and that was amazing! It reminded me a lot of Criminal Minds.

    • Kay

      I have that on my list and definitely want to check it out sometime!!

  • Danielle Knapp

    I’m pretty bummed about the Rat Queens drama since I really enjoy that comic 🙁

    • Kay

      Saaaame here. It was so good! Just a big ‘ugh’ of a situation.