Category: Graphic Novel Reviews

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha (Fever)

by Karen Marie Moning, Al Rio (Artist), David Lawrence (Scripter), Cliff Richards (Illustrations)

An all-new Mac & Barrons story by #1 “New York Times” bestselling author Karen Marie Moning, marvelously adapted into a full-color graphic novel by writer David Lawrence and illustrator Al Rio 

In “Fever Moon, ” we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created, the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he’s traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he’s hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe.
Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world’s population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don’t stand a chance against them.
With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.

Hardcover, 144 pages  Published July 10th 2012 by Del Rey  ISBN 0345525485 (ISBN13: 9780345525482)

This graphic novel had very detailed illustrations. The emotions and intensity of the story leapt off the pages. After what has happened to Mac in the past, she’s out for revenge. She’s pissed off and now that her friends and acquaintances are being attacked, it’s personal. She doesn’t run from anything, in fact she runs towards it.

It was entertaining to see how the artwork portrayed the villain with no face, and how each of the victims had parts of their face stolen. Mac’s purpose is to discover 1) who is stealing face parts 2) how many faces are they going to take and 3) how much time does she have.

I was impressed by how much detail went into the artwork. The city is in the middle of a war and buildings are destroyed. Most of the story takes place at night and it’s dark, dirty and falling apart. Each brick, facial and body expression, plus details in the crowded bars and streets were all very precise. The landscape is gloomy, the creatures are frightful and the men, well..they are sexy!

The majority of the story is told in dialogue and pictures, with some side details along the way. This has been my favorite form in graphic novels as it really helps to push along the plot at a faster pace, as well as getting to know the characters better at the same time.

There is a bonus feature in the back of the book where we not only get a detailed overview of the Fever series by the author herself but we also get a handful of pages where each of the characters are drawn and their involvement in the series are detailed. The fully colored pages add the extra visuals to the story that help us put a face to the name.

Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love (Fabletown) by Chris Roberson

When supernatural artifacts from the Homelands begin surfacing in the modern world, it falls to Cinderella, Fabletown’s best kept (and best dressed) secret agent to stop the illegal trafficking. But can Cindy foil the dark plot before Fabletown and its hidden, exiled inhabitants are exposed once and for all? And how does her long lost Fairy Godmother factor into the equation?

Whether she’s soaring through clouds, deep-sea diving, or cracking jaws, Cindy travels from Manhattan to Dubai and hooks up with a handsome, familiar accomplice who may be harboring secret motives of his own. Meanwhile, trouble brews back home in Fabletown when Cindy’s overworked, underappreciated assistant decides to seize control of The Glass Slipper, Cindy’s exclusive shoe boutique.

Paperback, 144 pages  Published August 10th 2010 by Vertigo  ISBN  1401227503 (ISBN13: 9781401227500)

I loved getting a closer look at Cinderella in this edition of Fables. Cindy is a spy who loves her job. She also owns a shoe store back in Fabletown called The Glass Slipper, which recently she has neglected because of her other duties. Fortunately, she has one employee who runs the store when she is gone. Just as she gets home again, she is called back before time and has to do a quick visit to her magic supplier before heading off to Dubai.

Her magic suplier has given her a charm bracelet that alerts her backup when called from anywhere on the globe. So she makes a quick stop off to see Puss N Boots, Jenny Wren and Dickory Mouse, her animal friends that are willing to give her the back up she needs when she calls for them. She also gets a magic ring that gets warm when magic is around and hotter as she gets closer to it.

As she boards the plane to Dubai to locate the black market of the magic trade, her disgruntled employee back home has taken the business into his own hands. He has decided to start selling magical shoes. Although the elves that make the shoes advise him against such business they eventually come to an agreement and he begins to sell the shoes to the public.

When we go back to see what Cindy is doing as she lands in Dubai, she can already feel the ring getting hotter. She flashes back to fill the reader in a little on her history. Her divorce and then eventual hiring as a spy for Sheriff Wolf. She runs into Aladdin who is fronting as a concierge in the hotel she is staying at and they find out they are after the same thing and decide to work together. They arrive just in time to attend the party in which the magical item will be sold.

The hostess of the party and seller of the magical items recognizes them at the party and sets ghouls on them. But with Aladdin’s magic carpet, they find their way to safety. Cindy calls upon Jenny Wren to follow the hostess as she escapes so they can find her wherever she ends up. Aladdin and Cindy soon follow and find themselves in danger and out numbered.

What I have come to really enjoy about the Fables stories is the connection to those childhood characters who I have grown to love become more appealing to my adult side. They are well rounded characters and through flashbacks like Cindy’s, we are able to get a peek at what went wrong with their fairytale. They have grown up beyond the idea of a happy ending and become powerful and what women of today like to see in a rolemodel.

As each character is introduced we get their background and how they came to be in their current position in the more mundane world. I think
this is the key that gets the reader fully engaged into these stories as more than just a comic strip. You really do get great in-depth, well-rounded characters and plots that are entertaining. There is always a focus on one main story in each book, but there are interweaving sub-plots and stories that cross each other as well.

With each of these volumes that I pick up, I get more into the world of the Fables and have fast become a huge fan. I loved the ending and the imaginative way that these characters stories interweave in today’s settings.

Laurell K. Hamilton (Author), Stacie M. Ritchie (Illustrator), Brett Booth (Illustrator)
Fusing mythology, werewolves, and vampires with a story loaded with mystery, action, and romance, the Anita Blake novels take place in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of nightmare have been declared legal citizens of the United States. Anita Blake is an “animator” – a profession that involves raising the dead for a living. She is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she moonlights by investigating cases that are far too much for “conventional” police. But as Anita gains the attention of the vampire masters in her hometown of St. Louis, she also risks revealing an intriguing secret about herself – the source of her unusual strength and power. Watch as Anita goes up against fierce obstacles and is forced to make tough choices. What price will Anita pay in order to save her friend’s life and solve the Vampire Murders? Will she actually kiss Phillip? How far will Edward go in order to find out where the daytime resting place of the Master Vampires truly is?

Collect Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1-12. Published October 14th 2009 by Marvel Comics (first published 2007)

Anita Blake, 24 years old, is an animator (person who raises zombies) and works for Animator’s Inc. In the Guilty Pleasures editions we follow her as she is hired to investigate why vampires are turning up dead throughout the city. She also works on retainer for the local police department and between the two jobs she barely has time to eat or sleep, let alone have a social life. After a night out at a vampire bar called Guilty Pleasures she ends up getting put in a dungeon with Wererats, She escapes and is brought to the young, childlike and meanest vampire of the all, the current master of the city, Nicolaus.

Anita is a stubborn, hardened fighter. She never gives up information, she’s not afraid to shoot first and ask questions later. In her line of business she is always on call and can run for days off a cup of coffee. There were often times that I could see why the night creatures wanted to murder her, she was an expert at avoiding direct questions and escaping danger.  Anita only gets in deeper when she asks a friend to help her get more information on the inside circle of the vampires to find out who may be behind the murders.

By doing her job, she is always putting herself and others in danger. But when it comes to danger, she knows how to play the role and she’s not always lucky. Covered in scars and lucky to be alive, she has more enemies to deal with than allies.

The full colored glossy pages add to the action and visual enhancement to the story. The mature content leans more towards the gore and bad language than sex, although the insinuations are constantly there. I was surprised to see so much dialogue and content and I found it the closest conversion of a novel to graphic novel that I have seen. This particular complete volume had some of my favorite artwork and vibrant colors. It would be hard enough to convert full length novels to graphic art forms, but to be able to keep all the major characters, plot points and even sub-plots is what these graphic novels do well.

Although Anita never seems to miss a beat, and has a major attitude problem, she is good at what she does. She is smart and more likely somebody you’d rather have close to you than as an enemy. She only has one close friend who we get introduced to, but they would do anything for each other. This is a great way to show Anita’s more human side and sometimes it’s a nice break from all the fighting and raising of the dead.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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