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MYOPIA

A fun, socially conscious graphic novel that keeps both eyes on the near future.

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A future society taps into magnetic energy with disastrous results in debut author Dent’s graphic novel, illustrated by veteran artists Freire and Berkenkotter.

It’s the year 2222, and many people use special contact lenses to communicate and purchase things over a “psychic-ID” network, presided over by government agencies. Bill Glen, the creator of the tech and head of New York City–based Formula Media, was shot and killed two years ago by someone he knew. Now his best friend, Ledge Carver, runs the company, and Formula Media performs research for the International Department of Defense—something Bill never wanted. Ledge has also grown closer to Molly Glen, Bill’s widow, and her 10-year-old son, Matthew. Over dinner, Ledge asks Molly if she knows a man named James Chase, who’s applied to work at Formula and claims Bill as his mentor. Molly doesn’t know the man, who’s a dead ringer for Bill; even Jill, the lens wearers’ AI assistant, notes that James’ “psychic residue” is familiar. When Ledge is called to Washington, D.C., to speak with representatives of the Department of Defense, James visits Molly and Matthew at home. The boy has been emotionally distant since his father’s death, not quite believing that his dad is in heaven; James knows that Matthew sneaked into his father’s lab two years ago and stole special lenses that can cut through government security protocols. Meanwhile, Ledge learns that two mysterious domes have appeared near the Earth’s poles. Could they be connected to magnetic storms that are rendering the world uninhabitable?

Dent, Friere, and Berkenkotter create a future that’s reminiscent of the 1920s; buildings, trains, and hovering cars all feature art deco flourishes. Overall, the art is roughly photorealistic, ably merging elements of the past and future in a style that’s similar to Brent Anderson’s work on the comic book Astro City. Some characters seem modeled on celebrities, such as Jill, who looks like actor Kristen Stewart, and Ledge, who resembles rocker Lenny Kravitz. Colorists Andrade and Mohan’s work aids the story, too, as most everything is dark and earthy aside from the lenses’ blue glow. (When Matthew wears his father’s special contacts, they glow green, indicating the bypassing of government strictures.) The narrative’s main thrust is a pointed commentary on the distracted modern age, in which many people are glued to smartphone screens. Augmented reality via contact lenses, a real-life technology on the horizon, is shown to be ripe for abuse, as in one subway-station scene: As citizens go about their business, a lensless man is accosted by black-clad agents nicknamed “cockroaches,” who are literally invisible to those wearing lenses. Another major theme is humanity’s attempts to wean itself off fossil fuels; a government memo calls worry over solar storms “left-wing hysteria,” echoing cultural battles regarding climate change. The book’s overall structure—essentially a grave, twisty murder mystery—may also remind comic-book fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1980s classic Watchmen.

A fun, socially conscious graphic novel that keeps both eyes on the near future.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5241-1943-0

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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