A richly imagined high-octane thriller.

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE

MYSTERY OF THE GHOST SHIP

Purloined technology, time travelers, ghost ships, and deception converge in this graphic page-turner.

In a world not too unlike our own, most everyone is connected by Apparators, smartphonelike devices that can also project images, created by technology mogul Carlos Dahlberg. A member of the crew on the ghost ship Mary Alice, white time traveler John Blake is doomed to ride in and out of different time periods after an accident suffered during an experiment conducted by his scientist father. Young Blake knows Dahlberg’s darkest secret and has the evidence and desire to expose him. Serena Anderson, a white Australian teenager lost at sea, Danielle Quayle Reid, a black Harvard Law graduate, and Roger Blake, a white commander in the Royal Navy, all become caught up in Dahlberg and Blake’s tangled web. High-adrenaline chases, blazing explosions, and gunfights abound as they come to discover their shocking connections. Will they be able to stop Dahlberg before his nefarious plans come to fruition? Pullman has created an intricate blend of science fiction and adventure, skillfully weaving together many disparate elements into a cohesive and exciting tale. Fordham’s art, although realistic and spare, is cinematic in scope, imbuing this with all the momentum of a Hollywood blockbuster. Some of the finer plot details have a tendency to be quickly glossed over, but expect readers to be too caught up in this whirlwind ride to care.

A richly imagined high-octane thriller. (Science fiction/adventure. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-14912-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A fantastical journey worth taking.

MAMO

The Witch of Haresden is dead.

Orla O’Reilly, a practicing teen witch herself, is cleaning up the mess: The woman in question is Mamo, the grandmother who treated her cruelly. Her bones are buried around the perimeter of town, leaving Orla stuck with the responsibility for it. Strange natural events are wreaking havoc, and if she doesn’t give Mamo a proper burial, her worst nightmare could come true: being cursed to stay in Haresden forever. But when prickly Orla meets bold, determined Jo Manalo, who needs help to free her mother from a sleeping spell, things begin to change. Jo adores her family as much as Orla resents hers, and she insists on joining the friendless Orla as part of her own quest to save the town she loves and never wants to leave. While the characters are a bit thinly fleshed out, they’re charming to follow as they make their way through a gorgeously illustrated world. Intoxicating art, combining natural and fantastical elements and rich, glowing, perfectly chosen colors sweep readers up in magic that feels just this side of possible. Milledge’s attention to detail is especially present in her character designs that are expressively human and stylish. The lessons Orla learns about trauma, love, and legacy resonate and build to a satisfying ending. Jo and her family are cued as Filipino; Orla and Mamo read White. Both girls are queer.

A fantastical journey worth taking. (cover gallery, sketches) (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68415-817-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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Forget the capes and tights: this is an entirely accessible and richly imagined superhero tour de force.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WEST

From the Battling Boy series

A teenage superheroine vows to destroy the monster that killed her mother but discovers vengeance doesn’t come without dire consequences.

Following The Rise of Aurora West (2014), Aurora and her notorious superhero father are still haunted by the long-unsolved murder of her mother by a nefarious seven-fingered monster. Determined to solve the mystery herself, Aurora also yearns to break free from the shadow of her famous father. Venturing out alone, she stalks a fiendish syndicate of masked monsters that has been terrorizing her home, Arcopolis. Through her unrelenting search, she discovers a shocking truth—could she have played a role in her mother's murder? Now imbued with her newfound dangerous knowledge, Aurora must make a decision that could not only save her family, but the city at large. Rubín's frenetic black-and-white illustrations stylistically complement Pope and Petty's breakneck-paced plotting. True to the genre, the story explores notions of good and evil but provides no easy answers. Aurora is a powerful heroine who is refreshingly free of sexualized buxom stylings, instead relying on her intelligence and strength. This is a must-read for readers tired of traditional superheroes with endlessly shifting storylines and vast back stories. With their wholly original worldbuilding and cinematically explosive pace, Pope and Petty have created a strong female protagonist that should easily appeal to both genders.

Forget the capes and tights: this is an entirely accessible and richly imagined superhero tour de force. (Graphic adventure. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-010-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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