From the Hammer series , Vol. 2

Not the easiest to follow but a properly percussive climax.

DOOM-studded battles continue in this all-action, manga-style sequel.

DO-OM! Compiling seven more segments originally published as webcomics, the ongoing adventures of Stud, a light-skinned, black-haired human lad, or Swirl, who comes with the ability to turn his extremities into enormous hammers, reach the end of an underwater story arc in which he helps dark-skinned merfolk allies bring a terrifying lawbreaker to bay. Though each chapter opens with a color tableau, the art then switches to small panels crammed with dizzying monochrome scribbles of lines around mighty blasts, grimacing faces, and thunderous noises crowding, or often drawn as bursting beyond, the page borders. The bad guy, Steele—a sort of monstrous shark-squid—in particular, seems too big to be visible all at once. But after his menacing minions are reduced to sushi and despite sporting giant, writhing tentacles and seemingly invulnerable ink armor, even he falls at last with a mighty DONG to his diminutive nemesis’s ultimate weapon, the awesome HAMMER HEADBUTT! Of course, hints of an even more powerful foe in Stud’s future drop (cue a final, melodramatic DOOM) in the last panel. The work is cluttered and confusing at times, but this volume may appeal to fans of the series.

Not the easiest to follow but a properly percussive climax. (Adventure comic. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7603-7692-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Rockport Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022


From the Time Museum series , Vol. 2

More excitement in the time stream—but always with time to party in between.

A mission back to 18th-century France traps Delia Bean and her Epoch Squad in a time loop from which they have to be rescued by their later selves.

Hidden agendas and wheels within wheels begin to emerge in this follow-up to the 2017 opener as the newly fledged squad is trained by genial time traveler Richard Nixon (“They always guess JFK!” he booms) in various seemingly random skills that turn out to be oddly useful later on. They are then sent to a ball in 1778, where their mysterious nemesis, the Grey Earl, first traps them, then secretly allows them to escape as part of some larger scheme. Meanwhile, nascent romances bloom and wilt, troubling revelations about the Time Museum’s origins come to light, and the squad shows its mettle in first battling a plant monster and later an outsized armored warrior. Though his panels tend to be small and tightly packed, Loux shows rare talent for depicting thrillingly dangerous-looking adversaries and cranking up both action and comedy with close-ups of wide-eyed, wide-mouthed faces. Nixon, who often looks more like Bob Hope (and behaves more like Robin Williams), is a scene stealer, but Delia and her team are lively enough to keep the plot moving along briskly. Except for new addition Pauline, a dark-skinned British rock guitarist with a thing for Delia, diversity markers are present but barely visible in the cast.

More excitement in the time stream—but always with time to party in between. (Graphic science fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-850-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019


From the Cottons series , Vol. 2

A muddled middle for a lagomorphic trilogy mired in gloom and doom.

Artist/magician Bridgebelle makes a dangerous bargain in hopes of saving her rabbit community from scheming foxes and supernatural threats.

Having set up a complex backstory and elaborately detailed animal societies in the opener, Secret of the Wind (2018), summarized here in a prose lead-in, the author more or less marks time in this follow-up with a fragmentary, disconnected set of events. When her first megathokcha, a magical talisman made from carrot extract, is stolen, Bridgebelle promises to make another for vengeful fox Hollow even as the religious authorities, or Windist Curatus, in her own settlement drive her away with a decree that all thokchas should be destroyed. Meanwhile, her friend Glee’s attempt to transport another megathokcha known as the Black Sun to the isolated Vale of the Clouds for safety falls afoul of trickster fox Sylvan’s nihilist scheme to summon the malign Broken Feather King from the land of the dead. If the many quick cuts, flashbacks, and scene shifts don’t leave readers bewildered, the cast of lookalike rabbits and foxes should do the trick—Arnhold’s efforts to individualize her naturalistically drawn and colored creatures with occasional accessories and subtle variations in facial features notwithstanding. In the end Bridgebelle is left holding a legendary white carrot that may free either her or her furry folk but not both. Stay tuned.

A muddled middle for a lagomorphic trilogy mired in gloom and doom. (Graphic fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-061-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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