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SWAMP THING

TWIN BRANCHES

An unusual origin story for a lesser-known DC Universe hero.

Twin brothers try to understand each other as their lives take separate paths.

The Incredible Holland Bros may be identical twins, but their personalities couldn’t be more distinct. Walker is the outgoing, thrill-seeking protector while Alec is the reserved plant whisperer. The boys are shipped off to Rappahannock, Virginia, to spend their last summer before college in the country with their cousins after catching their father cheating. Walker’s easygoing disposition makes his transition smooth, but Alec’s research on capturing and transferring the thoughts and memories of plants is disrupted when his cousin’s dogs eat his specimen, which he’s named Boris. The brothers grow apart as Walker becomes part of the local scene and Alec spends time in the high school lab working on his project. The summer heats up when a legendary tree is destroyed at a party, leading Alec to become his brother’s protector and sinking him further into his experiment. There is a slow, choppy build to the story, with botanical information interspersed so readers understand the science behind Alec’s research. Colors are used effectively, with green and earth tones indicating Alec’s bond with nature while deep purples and blues show the effects of his experiments. The panels vary in shape and layout, maintaining visual interest. The twins appear White, but there is diversity among the cast.

An unusual origin story for a lesser-known DC Universe hero. (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9323-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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DPS ONLY!

A captivating read for teens, especially those who enjoy e-sports.

A talented gamer hides her identity and competes in an e-sports tournament.

Sixteen-year-old Vicky Tan lives in the shadow of her older brother, Virgil, an e-sports champion and her legal guardian. Virgil always speaks for her, believes she hates video games, and chooses food she doesn’t like, making it hard to communicate with him. Little does he know, Vicky has a secret: She not only loves playing Xenith Orion, the game he also plays, she’s extremely talented and dreams of one day playing on stage and winning a tournament. Between her brother’s unpredictability and the harassment and scrutiny women face in the male-dominated field, Vicky prefers playing as Aegis, her powerful alter ego. When the game developers announce an open tournament, Vicky and some new friends have the chance to realize their dreams. This is an emotion-filled story of family, friendship, growth, and identity based on a popular webcomic. Even readers unfamiliar with gaming will be able to enjoy it, as it includes enough explanation and background information. As the story develops, the misogynistic tendencies of the e-sports world are exposed, bringing awareness to the issue. Virgil and Vicky’s sibling relationship also portrays the fine line between being protective and overbearingly toxic. Vicky and Virgil are cued Chinese American; there is a diverse cast of secondary characters.

A captivating read for teens, especially those who enjoy e-sports. (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5248-7649-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THE ODYSSEY

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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