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Comes close but doesn’t quite meet its potential.

After her sudden death at home, 19-year-old Marnie, now a ghost, learns to work with otherworldly beings in the Department of Spectral Affairs.

X’lakthul, or Xel, is the upbeat, optimistic case manager who tries to place Marnie in a “post-life assignment.” When Xel finds that Marnie isn’t particularly attached to any location from her home dimension, she isn’t sure where to place her, so she suggests an unconventional move: appointing Marnie DSA intern. As an intern, Marnie works with other case workers, office managers, and supervisors in the disorganized and barely functional office. She judges and speaks to them harshly, all the while assuming they will dump her somewhere when she’s too much trouble. But eventually Marnie comes to appreciate each of them, with all their faults, because they care about her. This comic uses humor to address serious questions of mental illness (particularly depression), acceptance, and belonging, an approach that will work for some readers but may rub others the wrong way. While the developments of relationships between characters are portrayed well, Marnie’s characterization is superficial, leaving the ending without the emotional power the story deserves. The colorful illustrations are clean and clear, making for a pleasant visual experience. The few scenes involving humans feature ethnically diverse groups of people.

Comes close but doesn’t quite meet its potential. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-52-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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An action-packed tale for those thirsty for more superhero stories.

Grammy Award–winning artist Keys co-authors a YA superhero graphic novel bearing the title of her hit song.

Smart, quiet 14-year-old Loretta “Lolo” Wright struggles to stand up for herself until, on what should be a routine trip to a convenience store, her 16-year-old brother, James, is mistakenly accused of stealing by the police. When the officer slams her brother to the ground, Lolo’s powers manifest for the first time. Meanwhile, Michael Warner, who lives in the same Brooklyn housing projects as the Wrights, is rejected from the football team for being too small. He develops exceptional fighting abilities and shortly afterward gets involved in working for a drug dealer named Skin. When Skin sees a video of Lolo levitating the cop who assaulted James, he wants to recruit her as well, and he tries to extort protection money from Lolo’s dad, who owns a moving business. Lolo must convince Michael to choose a different path; it’s only by working together that they can defeat Skin. Featuring dizzying shifts among multiple perspectives, this full-color graphic novel presents vibrant, expressive characters set against mostly simple, bright backgrounds, with extreme violence depicted in gory detail. The narrative briefly explores class issues and racial stereotypes, but while the setup is intriguing, the momentum fizzles and the pieces never quite come together. Most main characters are Black; Skin reads as White, and secondary characters appear racially diverse.

An action-packed tale for those thirsty for more superhero stories. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-302956-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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