Rose is a classic fantasy tale about a girl trying to restore balance to a broken world. We are introduced to a world where magical Guardians once ruled peacefully over a beautiful and thriving place. These Guardians were born magical protectors and had the ability to connect with companions, Khats, that helped them maintain the peace and prosperity of their world. At some point, the Guardians are targeted by evil forces until they all but disappear and now an evil Queen rules with intimidation and fear. Enter Rose who is born with the gift of magical abilities. She has been hidden for a good while until she starts experimenting with her power and attracts the attention of the queen. Of course Rose’s world is destroyed in the Queen’s hunt to find and destroy her, forcing Rose to grow up fast. She has to find and connect to her Khat and survive in order to become the Guardian her world needs.
I am so intrigued. I grew up reading and loving the fantasy genre but there was a big deficit in stories with a strong female lead taking on the metaphorical heroes journey. Finch takes the classic heroes journey and puts a fresh face on it. Even the evil antagonist is a Queen! The Queen isn’t just eye candy either, she is a complicated, independent woman who wields formidable power and is the most interesting character so far. Guara has strong work, perfect for the fantasy genre. He pays a lot of attention to detail and lighting and uses a lot of color so that the world depicted is just beautiful. The words and pictures combine into what easily feels like a labor of love in honor of the classical fantasy genre.
Welcome to the sleepy, sunny town of Redlands, Florida where the police are failing to maintain control of their old-fashioned town, and a coven of killer witches that plan on taking everything from them. Bible thumpers beware.
If you enjoy a good southern-gothic horror, Redlands just may be what you’ve been waiting for.
The story opens in 1977. The lynching of three witches has not gone as planned. The lynching tree is on fire and the police are immobilized with terror and hiding in their precinct. The reader is only given little pieces of the puzzle. We don’t know how the lynching went wrong or why the women were put there. There is a ghost that haunts the Sheriff, hinting at deeper, darker secrets. And what is the deal with all those people locked up in the dark? With an opening such as this, everything is turned on its head. Who is more vile, the women for whatever it was they were accused of or the police for attempting to lynch them? It’s clear the witches have plans for the future of Redlands, and said plans look bloody well promising to say the least.
The art and coloring fit perfectly with the story. There is something about the scratchy, frantic way she draws the scenes that adds to the unsettled terror and chaos. The characters seems scratched out of the shadows and it’s truly creepy how the light coming from the lynching tree is the only illumination for the things coming out of the dark. It’s a horror story lover’s dream.
How did I not review this when it first came out? SO many apologies…
Meet Gertrude, a six year old who has been stuck in Fairyland for almost thirty years. She is willing to hack and slash her way through anything to get back home. Even a magical place like Fairyland will lose its magic and drive a girl a little mad if she can’t leave. You do not want to miss this blood soaked journey to see who survives the girl who hates fairyland.
Skottie Young. That’s all you need to know to make you want this book. I Hate Fairyland is his debut epic fantasy for Image that is sort of like Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, if Alice or Dorothy were more like Tank Girl. Needless to say, this is not one for the kiddies. Every issue is what it is, a fun romp through a whimsical and unpredictable world. Who doesn’t remember what it was like to dream of being some perfect, happy protagonist on some magical adventure in a world of marvels, like talking wondrous creatures that answer in riddles and fart glitter? I mean, who wouldn’t have a good time? What about after thirty years of the same? Could you still be happy and chippy or would you be bitter and completely mad? Could you still greet the challenge of crossing ice cream mountains with joy and grace or would you want to throttle the next muffin fluffin unicorn that farted in your general direction? Anything goes in the world of Skottie Young. The results are awesomely funny.
If you don’t already know Neil Gaiman, his novel American Gods, or the latest Starz adaptation of said novel…. dude! What the hell!? Basically, Gaiman is a master storyteller. He cannot disappoint. He’s my storyteller god. He just is. If you’re not familiar, American Gods is a kind of horror/supernatural, crime, action/adventure story. Shadow Moon is newly released from jail to find his life is gone. His wife is dead, leaving him defeated, broke and aimless. In his uncertainty he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday who offers Shadow a job as a his personal bodyguard. Here begins Shadow’s journey into the supernatural world where ghosts come back and the war between the old gods and the new gods come to a head.
I’m too biased in regards to this story to be fair, I suppose. But I’ll tell you anyway: I love this story! I have always had a soft spot for the kind of tales your elders would tell you over a fire or on a dark and stormy night. I also love folklore, myths and fairy tales. American Gods incorporates it all. If you’ve read and loved The Sandman, this is a no-brainer. If you’ve read the novel this is just more icing on the cake. If you can’t get enough, the Starz adaptation is really good, too. Casting is spot on and Bryan Fuller knows how to translate this story with his visuals. The art in this book reminds me of The Sandman days. It feels both old and timely. It changes depending on the story tidbit being told. Also, the David Mack covers for the variants are worth it alone. It pretty much speaks for itself.
Most of the inside art will contain spoilers so I’ll leave you with two David Mack covers that I am in so much love with.
Farrah Durante is a middle-age actress on the hunt for her next gig in an industry where youth is valued more than experience. Her frustrations become an emotional lure for something even uglier and horrifying than Hollywood itself. Something dark and wicked comes to Farrah, and is eager to help her exact some sweet revenge on the shallow, celebrity obsessed culture of the entertainment industry. Hollywood feeds on the insecurities, desires, and fears of its victims, it’s about time for someone or something hungry enough to bite back.
This horror story about fame and failure is pretty enjoyable. Zub makes some strong character development with Farrah from the start. The reader is pulled in fast and furious into the pain and anguish she has to endure navigating the entertainment world. I’m all for complex female leads, and Farrah is one to root for. As much as I hate Hollywood and it’s messed up culture, I still follow it. I’m still a sucker to watching it and enjoying it for the most part. I also hate it for its power to pull in the more gullible and vulnerable, making victims and monsters of so many. It is such an ugly thing, what Hollywood does to women in particular. It’s disgusting to see the prevalence and enthusiasm for seeing older men with younger woman. It’s disgusting to see women turn against each other and themselves in order to survive. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see the industry receive its due, and it’s even more fun to see it done with such violence and gore. The art is dark and beautiful. The line work and layout is paced just right, which adds to the dread feeling brought out from the subdued colors. The book feels taught and miserable at the same time, just right for this kind of horror story.
… there have been some pull list worthy books that have caught my eye since my last review. Again, apologies for being MIA but I’m going to try to knock out a few quickies to get up to speed. Thanks for hanging in…
65 million years ago, Earth was ruled over by the ruthless King Morax. King Morax likes to rule his people with the threat of violence and death. He is married to a woman named Emporia, who after seventeen years of marriage makes a break for freedom from her husband’s tyranny and a better life with her three children, ages 15, 10 and 18 months. Emporia and her children, together with the help of her loyal body guard, Dane Havelock, begin an escape that is all danger and fast-paced action.
Mark Millar rarely disappoints with his stories and this is no exception. Empress is all science fiction and action, crazy fast action that does not stop. The main protagonist is a strong female lead, a woman who is smart, determined and courageous enough to not sit around and allow her children to grow under the influence of their ruthless father. She wants a better life for them and intends to get it for them. Never underestimate a mother’s love. Emporia is one bad ass mother.
Immonen’s art is dynamic, using vibrant colors and panels that display a grand scale of story telling. There is a seamless flow of fast movement that gives the reader a sense of urgency and anticipation. The depiction of so many contrasting characters and their personalities while they deal with what life throws at them is as effortless as it is beautiful.
Empress #2 was released 5/4/16. If you are a fan of the thrilling, high-paced science fiction chase, give Empress a try. The art alone is worth it.