Thursday, November 13, 2014

Graphic Novel mini-reviews #27

Captain America: Winter Soldier (Volume 2)

Written by: Ed Brubaker; Illustrated by: Steve Epting

Published: 2005

My Thoughts: I probably enjoyed the first volume of Winter Solider a bit better than the second. The first was very introspective, something I always dig in my superheroes. This volume is far more action-heavy - whether in the present day assault from the Winter Soldier (and those he works for) or in the WWII flashbacks that feature heavily in this volume. All that being said though, it isn't like this volume completely discounts on character development in favour of action set-pieces. There are some brilliant moments where Cap wrestles with whether the Winter Solider is actually Bucky anymore and if there is even a fraction of Bucky still alive - should Cap do everything in his power to save him?

Kill Shakespeare: Mask of Night (Volume 4)

Written by: Anthony Del Col, Colin McCreery; Illustrated by: Andy Belanger

Published: 2014

My Thoughts: I wasn't sure if I wanted to read any more of Kill Shakespeare after the third volume. It wasn't bad, but I did feel like perhaps the gimmick had played out. But when I saw this was only a four issue volume I figured I'd give it a shot and see if they managed to introduce anything new to the story. The story takes place directly after the third volume, with Shakespeare, Juliet, Hamlet and Othello angry and still slightly mad from Prospero's Island. While they escaped Titus's navy they find themselves in the hands on Cesario and Viola, two dastardly pirates (and lovers) who intend to turn them in to the highest bidder. And yes, you read that correctly - Cesario and Viola are two separate people in this story AND they're together. It actually took a moment to remember that Cesario is Viola's alter-ego in Twelfth Night but I kind of dug that depending on your Shakespeare knowledge their relationship took on very different connotations. And it's moments like that which make these comics interesting. Not the slightly shoe-horned in lines like "parting is such sweet sorrow" when two characters separate, but the much less overt character traits that demonstrate that this team not only know Shakespeare, but know him well enough to experiment based on thematic elements of his plays. If you've enjoyed the other three volumes then you'll probably still enjoy this one - but I definitely feel as though it's weakened a bit with each volume.

Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (Volume 1)

Written by: Kurtis J. Wiebe; illustrated by: Roc Upchurch

Published: 2014

My Thoughts: I've been wanting to read this for soooo long but I wanted to wait until a trade volume was released and luck would have it that Comixology had it on sale. Score! This comic is everything. I can't even tell you how much I adore it. It's a D&D player's dream. There are four gorgeous, sassy, kickass female protagonists - Hannah the Elven Mage (with an excellent rockabilly vibe), Violet the Dwarven warrior, Dee the human cleric and Betty the Goblin (Smidgen) thief. They're all heavily, heavily flawed but loveable characters with a penchant for quests, bar fights and sex. Betty considers candy and drugs a perfect meal, Dee is overcome with social anxiety, Hannah is reckless and Violet was beardless before it was cool. They're joined by a motley crew of enemies, frenemies and lovers, of which Orc Dave is my absolute favourite. He's a cleric who has magical bluebirds settle in his beard after healing. BIRDS IN HIS BEARD, SO FREAKING CUTE. The art style is cute and colourful, the writing is fun and (at times) vulgar. It's basically like being back in one of my D&D campaigns which is the most wonderful thing ever because I miss D&D like crazy. So this is helping fill that gaping, ridiculous hole.


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