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EDENFROST

An impressive, pulse-pounding start to a new series that will leave readers eager for another compilation.

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Tishler offers a collection of historical war comics with a supernatural touch.

This book brings together the first four installments of writer Tishler’s titular comic series, starting in media res with a young narrator, Yuli, recalling a memory of her mother. Their hometown, her mom said, was Eden, and its wintertime, when everything was cold and dead, was just a temporary “Edenfrost.” Beneath this opening voiceover are images of a burning village, dead soldiers in the snow, and Yuli’s brother, Alex, carrying her on his back. The story is set during the Russian Civil War in the early 20th century, when the siblings are desperate to reach their extended family in Kyiv. On their trail are Lt. Col. Krasnov and Lt. Belov of the White Army,who’ve been informed of a “monster made of rock and ice” that once came to the kids’ rescue. With the stakes firmly established, the series moves between the doe-eyed, determined sister and brother and the imperious officers chasing them. Dream sequences and flashbacks skillfully establish the siblings’ past and unveil the true nature of the “monster”— a Golem that Alex can summon with a talisman around his neck. Alex, it turns out, is still mastering control of the creature, whose voice occasionally intrudes into the boy’s mind, asking to be let out, to take over—and Alex fears its full power. In proper serial fashion, each issue ends with an effectively suspenseful cliffhanger, and readers will likely find it difficult to not devour all four parts in a single sitting. Frenda’s realistic, full-color artwork likewise captivates, sometimes ably carrying the story alone, and rendering various fight and battle sequences with a cinematic flair—albeit with a level of gore that may not be suitable for younger readers. Avid comic-book fans will find that the overall style successfully captures the feeling of classic 20th-century war comics.

An impressive, pulse-pounding start to a new series that will leave readers eager for another compilation.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781960578686

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Mad Cave Studios

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2024

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SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN

A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth.

Superman confronts racism and learns to accept himself with the help of new friends.

In this graphic-novel adaptation of the 1940s storyline entitled “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” from The Adventures of Superman radio show, readers are reintroduced to the hero who regularly saves the day but is unsure of himself and his origins. The story also focuses on Roberta Lee, a young Chinese girl. She and her family have just moved from Chinatown to Metropolis proper, and mixed feelings abound. Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane’s colleague from the Daily Planet, takes a larger role here, befriending his new neighbors, the Lees. An altercation following racial slurs directed at Roberta’s brother after he joins the local baseball team escalates into an act of terrorism by the Klan of the Fiery Kross. What starts off as a run-of-the-mill superhero story then becomes a nuanced and personal exploration of the immigrant experience and blatant and internalized racism. Other main characters are White, but Black police inspector William Henderson fights his own battles against prejudice. Clean lines, less-saturated coloring, and character designs reminiscent of vintage comics help set the tone of this period piece while the varied panel cuts and action scenes give it a more modern sensibility. Cantonese dialogue is indicated through red speech bubbles; alien speech is in green.

A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth. (author’s note, bibliography) (Graphic fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77950-421-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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ANTHEM

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

A Rand primer with pictures.

A graphic novel for devotees of Ayn Rand.

With its men who have become gods through rugged individualism, the fiction of Ayn Rand has consistently had something of a comic strip spirit to it. So the mating of Rand and graphic narrative would seem to be long overdue, with her 1938 novella better suited to a quick read than later, more popular work such as The Fountainhead (1943) and the epic Atlas Shrugged (1957). As Anthem shows, well before the Cold War (or even World War II), Rand was railing against the evils of any sort of collectivism and the stifling of individualism, warning that this represented a return to the Dark Ages. Here, her allegory hammers the point home. It takes place in the indeterminate future, a period after “the Great Rebirth” marked an end of “the Unmentionable Times.” Now people have numbers as names and speak of themselves as “we,” with no concept of “I.” The hero, drawn to stereotypical, flowing-maned effect by illustrator Staton, knows himself as Equality 7-2521 and knows that “it is evil to be superior.” A street sweeper, he stumbles upon the entrance to a tunnel, where he discovers evidence of scientific advancement, from a time when “men knew secrets that we have lost.” He inevitably finds a nubile mate. He calls her “the Golden One.” She calls him “the Unconquered.” Their love, of course, is forbidden, and not just because she is 17. After his attempt to play Prometheus, bringing light to a society that prefers the dark, the two escape to the “uncharted forest,” where they are Adam and Eve. “I have my mind. I shall live my own truth,” he proclaims, having belatedly discovered the first-person singular. The straightforward script penned by Santino betrays no hint of tongue-in-cheek irony.

A Rand primer with pictures.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23217-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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