Though a bit convoluted, this mashup puts a fresh spin on a lesser-known superhero.

MERA

TIDEBREAKER

A feisty undersea princess must choose between love and duty.

Bestselling author Paige (The Queen of Oz, 2017, etc.) reinvents Mera, the fierce, fiery-tressed heir to the throne of Xebel, an undersea realm ruled by the Atlanteans. The Xebellians yearn to be free of the Atlantean reign and plot to kill their missing royal heir, Arthur Curry (also known as Aquaman), who has been living among the humans. Singularly focused Mera comes to the surface to murder him but is ultimately touched by his intrinsic kindness. As Xebel and Atlantean tensions crescendo and romantic feelings grow, will Mera be able to slaughter the boy she now loves? Paige has rendered a sassy, take-no-prisoners heroine who may look like Disney’s Ariel but who is imbued with grit and substance. Artist Byrne’s tidy illustrations utilize a spare color palette, with cool gray marine tones save for the dramatic splashes of Mera’s red hair. Arthur and Mera’s backstory in the DC Universe is rather intricate, and while this volume explains it as well as possible, certain details are still a bit hazy. Those turned off by insta-love may want to pass; Mera and Arthur’s relationship and its ensuing tension are easily foreseen. Nearly all main characters are white and straight, however secondary and background characters portray a sampling of different skin tones and orientations.

Though a bit convoluted, this mashup puts a fresh spin on a lesser-known superhero. (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8339-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: DC Ink

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

HAMLET

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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