by Vincent Ferrante ‧ RELEASE DATE: N/A
A spirited cast propels a wonderfully entertaining comic-book series.
Awards & Accolades
In Ferrante’s debut graphic novel, a 17th-century man uses magical powers and weapons to battle evil witches and creatures in the modern day.
In 1692, Jon Redmont’s mother, knowing her Coven of Light will burn at the stake, casts a spell to preserve her son’s soul in a crystal. Three hundred years later, Jon awakens imbued with the coven’s combined power. He’s essentially a superhero, complete with enchanted cloak, mask, and weaponry. Jon vows to combat the Scarlet Circle, a fiendish group of witches and other creatures, such as dark elves, threatening the contemporary world. He first retrieves a stolen witch watch—a device that allows him to open portals to “almost anywhere”—and after settling in “New Yorke City,” he offers his services to the general public in a magic-infused advertisement. His rescue of a kidnapped girl ultimately dredges up someone with a connection to the Scarlet Circle: Elesar Monmorte, who sets his sights, and minions, on Jon. Elesar was the mastermind of the Coven of Light’s massacre and now wants the man who somehow escaped death all those years ago. Ferrante’s graphic novel, which collects four comic-book issues, features a bevy of vibrant characters. For example, Jon’s mysterious aide, Kitty Allen, dons Venetian masks that allow her to see others’ “true nature,” and Elesar gets a lengthy, absorbing origin story. But although that villain and an assortment of henchmen provide a sense of menace, Ferrante keeps the tone light with one-liners, visual gags, and even a mock ad for Scarlet Circle Cookies. Some of the violence, too, is played for laughs; in one memorable scene, Jon chops and shoots his way through countless monsters—and one of them, post-beheading, asks to see a doctor. Although several different artists provided illustrations, the artwork is consistent, particularly when portraying Jon’s bright purple costume and perpetual smirk.A spirited cast propels a wonderfully entertaining comic-book series.
Pub Date: N/A
Page Count: 145
Publisher: Monarch Comics, LLC
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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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
Page Count: 240
Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020
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A visually and narratively appealing work of coming-of-age fiction.
In this adult debut from the Eisner Award–winning Tamaki cousins, a spring break trip to New York City gets messy for three young Canadian women.
In 2009, first-year university students Zee, Dani, and Fiona meet up at Newark Airport to commence a five-day adventure. Zee and Dani are childhood friends who grew up in North York; Fiona is a newer friend and classmate of Dani’s from the fine arts program at Concordia, while Zee is studying life science at Queen’s University in Ontario. Zee and Dani are thrilled to reunite and explore the city, while Fiona is self-assured to the point of being standoffish, decrying anything touristy such as Times Square and quick to offer forceful opinions (she skewers the Metropolitan Museum of Art as “a real monument to Western imperialism”). An attraction blossoms between feminine Fiona and androgynous Zee, beginning with subtle touches and stolen kisses while their trio is out sightseeing before culminating in more. Zee and Fiona’s budding closeness, though fraught in its own ways, leaves Dani feeling hurt and alienated, and the splintered dynamics threaten to compromise not only their trip, but also friendships old and new. This graphic novel presents a tightly focused story about the difficulty of competing loyalties and the anxieties of entering young adulthood and facing the possibility of growing apart from people you care about. Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations, rendered in peach, gray, light blue, and black, vividly capture the characters’ emotions and the wondrous clutter of the city landscape; double-page spreads meld reality with visual embellishment to depict especially potent experiences, from witnessing the scale of the giant blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History to the exhilaration of exploring queer crushes. Readers looking to indulge nostalgia about being a tourist in New York, from staying in a hostel to comparing the merits of different slices of pizza, will find much to enjoy; so will readers of stories about coming into one’s own in adulthood, with all of the myriad joys and stumbles that entails.A visually and narratively appealing work of coming-of-age fiction.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 444
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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