Fast-paced and entertaining.

GOTHAM HIGH

The high school beginnings of favorite Batman comic characters.

Seventeen-year-old Bruce Wayne just got kicked out of the fancy boarding school his Uncle Alfred sent him to when his parents died. Now he’s back in Gotham City, living in the family home and attending Gotham High. Bruce runs into his childhood neighbor Selina Garcia Kyle, who invites him to a party where he meets cardsharp Jack Napier, who becomes a new friend. One day, high school classmate Harvey Dent is kidnapped while trying on Bruce’s leather coat, and Bruce gets shot with a tranquilizer dart. Bruce, convinced he, not Harvey, was the real target, goes on a hunt to find the truth. As he uncovers more information, he discovers that his new friends aren’t what they seem. Narrated by Selina, the story puts Batman, the Joker, Catwoman, and other Batman favorites into a teenage setting, giving them more of a backstory. De la Cruz’s (The Queen's Assassin, 2020, etc.) graphic-novel debut is dark and alluring. The characters do what they need to survive, creating suspense. Pitilli’s (Archie, 2019, etc.) vivid and captivating illustrations are the highlight of this graphic novel, and the darker palette adds to the ominous feel. Bruce’s mother was Chinese from Hong Kong, and his father’s ethnicity is not specified; Selina is Latinx, and there is diversity in secondary characters.

Fast-paced and entertaining. (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8624-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future.

CRUMBS

A seer (with limitations) experiences first love as she tries to navigate her future.

Unlike traditional seers, Ray can only see a person’s present, not their future. Despite the frustrating limitations of her gift, Ray studies at the Council Academy, hoping to join the Grand Council of Sorcerers. As a weekly reprieve, she visits Marigold’s Bakery, where the pastries possess spells to help manifest desired emotions or outcomes; Ray always chooses “romance.” It is there she meets barista Laurie, the owner’s nephew and an aspiring musician. The pair grow closer after Laurie invites Ray to an open mic night with his friends. As Ray contemplates whether the future she’s been working toward is truly the right one for her, Laurie is learning how to overcome rejection after rejection in his musical career. Despite life’s curveballs, each learns to look inward for answers but also lean into the other. Stirling’s graphic novel, adapted from a webcomic, presents readers with an enthralling new world brimming with magic. The bright pastel palette makes it all the more inviting. Steady pacing allows the story to blossom as Ray and Laurie grow as a couple and navigate the disappointments that come with chasing dreams. Brown-skinned Ray is fat with wavy brown hair; racially ambiguous Laurie has straight black hair, black eyes, and light skin. The supporting cast is diverse in race, sexuality, and body type.

A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-46779-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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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