An exuberant, historically charged tale that practically demands further installments.

Man Power


Nazis hide out in the Bermuda Triangle after World War II and groom supersoldiers for an eventual strike against the United States in O’Keefe’s (Man Power: Strikes Back, 2016, etc.) graphic novel.

A Nazi military branch called the Iron Cross is so secret that not even Adolf Hitler is aware of it. Still, the Allies manage to track down its base and launch an assault in 1943. Some Nazis escape in U-boats, however, along with their first generation of cloned (but still infant) supersoldiers. They set up a new base at a covert German compound off the Bermuda coast, where a lieutenant assumes command by shoving a dagger into another officer’s chest. One of the supersoldier babies, meanwhile, remains on a sub with its captain, who initially intends to go down with his ship to dispose of any evidence of clones. He opts instead to save the child and, with nowhere else to go, heads to Antarctica. The war ends, but as the years pass, the Iron Cross officers attack in various ways, including by mysteriously causing aircraft to disappear over the Bermuda Triangle. In America, a general attempts to shut down a similar cloning experiment, but a doctor tries to convince him to reconsider. In 2022, the Nazis finally initiate a full-scale assault, but the government of the United States, where superhumans have become commonplace, may be ready. O’Keefe aptly fuses his sci-fi tale with real-life events; in this version of history, Nazis had a hand in numerous incidents, such as London’s Great Smog of 1952. There’s no real protagonist and few named characters in the story, but this allows the plot to span decades and cover a broad range of countries. Some elements may be expanded upon in additional series (such as the fate of the clone in Antarctica), but the jump to the 21st century may make readers feel like something’s missing. O’Keefe’s illustrations resemble sketches and seem more like storyboards than polished artwork. He does, however, gleefully cram the panels with action, wasting no space in his visualization of his story.

An exuberant, historically charged tale that practically demands further installments.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-9171-9

Page Count: 124

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2016

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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