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An often entertaining and offbeat, if occasionally overwrought, mystery tale.

An investigative journalist and editor, who happens to look like a deer, becomes entangled in a shadowy local mystery in Lindsay’s noir-tinged graphic novel.

The story starts with human carjacker John Doe (the first of several deer-related puns) dying amid suspicious circumstances. The protagonist, an anthropomorphic deer named Bucky who has the personality of a 1950s movie detective, quickly learns that the dead man had connections to the mayor’s press secretary, Rachel Meadows. After Bucky finds her murdered, he chases down a car that’s fleeing the crime scene and rams his antlers through the window, but the perpetrators escape. The second chapter shifts focus to Bucky’s human sub-editor, Dan, as he tries to infiltrate the corrupt mayor’s inner circle. When he learns causes the story to take a detour into the supernatural, and Bucky reappears to help; the plot thickens in the following chapter. Throughout, the story captivates with its blend of hardboiled language and noir aesthetics, though it occasionally veers into clichéd territory. Women seem to exist in the story mainly to be killed, and readers may Bucky’s inner monologues are ceaselessly edgy to a fault: “Most mouthbreathers on the street think calling us a hack is an insult. There’s a reason hack is a homonym with what you do with a firm blade in a rough fashion.” With his lethal antlers, Bucky bears a striking resemblance to the X-Men character Wolverine (even, at one point, calling someone “Bub”), and the story never explores the reasons why he’s accepted as a deer in a world entirely populated by humans. Still, some of the overheated language and storytelling is saved by Kivelä’s striking two-tone artwork, which features cinematically staged fight sequences, menacing shadows, and the ever-present threat of Bucky’s antlers.

An often entertaining and offbeat, if occasionally overwrought, mystery tale.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781960578679

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Mad Cave Studios

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2024

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A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth.

Superman confronts racism and learns to accept himself with the help of new friends.

In this graphic-novel adaptation of the 1940s storyline entitled “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” from The Adventures of Superman radio show, readers are reintroduced to the hero who regularly saves the day but is unsure of himself and his origins. The story also focuses on Roberta Lee, a young Chinese girl. She and her family have just moved from Chinatown to Metropolis proper, and mixed feelings abound. Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane’s colleague from the Daily Planet, takes a larger role here, befriending his new neighbors, the Lees. An altercation following racial slurs directed at Roberta’s brother after he joins the local baseball team escalates into an act of terrorism by the Klan of the Fiery Kross. What starts off as a run-of-the-mill superhero story then becomes a nuanced and personal exploration of the immigrant experience and blatant and internalized racism. Other main characters are White, but Black police inspector William Henderson fights his own battles against prejudice. Clean lines, less-saturated coloring, and character designs reminiscent of vintage comics help set the tone of this period piece while the varied panel cuts and action scenes give it a more modern sensibility. Cantonese dialogue is indicated through red speech bubbles; alien speech is in green.

A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth. (author’s note, bibliography) (Graphic fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77950-421-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A Rand primer with pictures.

A graphic novel for devotees of Ayn Rand.

With its men who have become gods through rugged individualism, the fiction of Ayn Rand has consistently had something of a comic strip spirit to it. So the mating of Rand and graphic narrative would seem to be long overdue, with her 1938 novella better suited to a quick read than later, more popular work such as The Fountainhead (1943) and the epic Atlas Shrugged (1957). As Anthem shows, well before the Cold War (or even World War II), Rand was railing against the evils of any sort of collectivism and the stifling of individualism, warning that this represented a return to the Dark Ages. Here, her allegory hammers the point home. It takes place in the indeterminate future, a period after “the Great Rebirth” marked an end of “the Unmentionable Times.” Now people have numbers as names and speak of themselves as “we,” with no concept of “I.” The hero, drawn to stereotypical, flowing-maned effect by illustrator Staton, knows himself as Equality 7-2521 and knows that “it is evil to be superior.” A street sweeper, he stumbles upon the entrance to a tunnel, where he discovers evidence of scientific advancement, from a time when “men knew secrets that we have lost.” He inevitably finds a nubile mate. He calls her “the Golden One.” She calls him “the Unconquered.” Their love, of course, is forbidden, and not just because she is 17. After his attempt to play Prometheus, bringing light to a society that prefers the dark, the two escape to the “uncharted forest,” where they are Adam and Eve. “I have my mind. I shall live my own truth,” he proclaims, having belatedly discovered the first-person singular. The straightforward script penned by Santino betrays no hint of tongue-in-cheek irony.

A Rand primer with pictures.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23217-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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