Not the easiest to follow but a properly percussive climax.

HAMMER

FIGHT FOR THE OCEAN KINGDOM

From the Hammer series , Vol. 2

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. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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MOBY DICK

In this slender graphic adaptation of Melville’s magnum opus, Ishmael, Queequeg and the rest of the uniformly burly, steely-eyed whalers are strong presences in Singh’s art—at least until their pale, gargantuan nemesis shows up to scatter them and their ship as flotsam across the waves. Ahab, craggy features slashed by a broad scar, is properly oracular, too: “Toward you I roll, you all-destroying but unconquering whale. From hell’s heart I stab at you.” You can practically hear Gregory Peck’s voice. The small but clear lettering in dialogue balloons and infrequent captions is easy to read, much of the language echoes that of the original and, if the plot is reduced to a bare sketch, the art, at least, punches up the tale’s melodrama and psychological tensions. Though an also-ran next to the versions of comics legends Will Eisner (2001) and Bill Sienkiewicz (1990), it’s absorbing enough—and the biographical introduction and closing pages on whaling ships and sperm whales provide a nice veneer of historical context. (Graphic fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 13, 2010

ISBN: 978-93-80028-22-4

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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Despite occasional action sequences and all the skin, readers will be yawning.

IN DEFENSE OF THE REALM

From the Campfire Classics series

An info-comic wrapped in a sketchy, overloaded plotline, this historical tale chronicles a fictional clash between the ancient Indus Valley kingdoms and an invading army of Akkadians.

Pausing for frequent but largely speculative infodumps about a civilization that remains almost entirely unknown, the author, an archeologist, sends the modern-sounding prince (“Oh! I so wish I was down there”) of a besieged city and his pedantic mentor on a tour. They go to neighboring Mohenjo-Daro and then Harappa, both to gather an army of allies and to marvel at the “very efficient system of regulations,” the public hot baths (“Another miracle of systematic construction”) and civic organization (“I have heard it is divided into three parts—a citadel and two large population centers”). Sharma leaves plenty of skin exposed as the buff, shirtless prince battles a leering traitor and then, with help from a bangle-laden dancing girl (who happens to resemble the prince’s lissome but warlike betrothed), contrives to ambush the Akkadian general. Still, readers are unlikely to care much about the characters, the setting or the clumsily expressed theme that “tact can win kingdoms without much loss of blood.” A closing spread of information about the mysterious Indus Valley ancients veers off into a discussion of the Rosetta Stone.

Despite occasional action sequences and all the skin, readers will be yawning. (Graphic info-novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-64-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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