Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison Illustrated by Frank Quitely and Phillip Tan

Batman is dead (well actually sent to Caveman Times, but no one knows that in the present), but Batman cannot be allowed to die. Enter Dick Grayson, the first Robin and later the crimefighter Nightwing, to take up the cap and cowl. With him is the new Robin: Damien Wayne, the secret son of Bruce Wayne raised by a league of assassins working for Ra’s Al Ghul, one of Batman’s worst enemies. Dick must find a way to become Batman and earn the trust and respect of Gotham and Damien before the city is swept up in the sickness of a dangerous new enemy. Especially since the second Robin wants Gotham too and has become The Red Hood, a murderous vigilante in order to rid Gotham of crime.

Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison are an amazing team and their work is always stellar. Check out All Star Superman (YP FIC MORRISON)for proof. They handle the first story and Phillip Tan handles the art for the Revenge of the Red Hood story. Phillip Tan is another great penciler, so this book has two great artists and one phenomenal author. Morrison always has weird and creepy storylines that draw from comic’s entire past. This keeps thing exciting for serious comic fans and new fans alike, because he always brings lots of spectacle and inventiveness to his stories. Morrison has had this long story arc about the breakdown, death, replacement, and eventual return of Bruce Wayne as Batman ongoing for years now starting with The Black Glove. This is a great volume of the saga that continues with Blackest Night and will conclude with The Return of Bruce Wayne. I think this volume stands alone really well, but casual fans may want to start with Black Glove to really get the whole story.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce YP FIC PEARCE

Scarlett and Rosie March have a deep bond forged in pain and sacrifice. Scarlett saved both their lives at the cost of her eye when a Fenris (werewolf) killed their grandmother and attempted to kill them. Ever since Scarlett has donned a red cloak and lured the Fenris to their deaths under her axe. Rosie has fought alongside her sister but is tired of death and killing. And when she finds herself falling for Scarlett’s fellow hunter, the woodsman Silas, she’ll find that any bond can be broken.

Modernized fairy tale retellings are pretty popular right now and Sisters Red really hits the mark better than most. It takes all the danger of Little Red Riding Hood and looks at its message of the dangers of romance in a totally new way. This is a great action packed read with a really strong romance. Silas and Rosie’s growing attraction then love is really well told and makes the book more than just an awesome werewolf killing story (which it also is). I think fans of Twilight and other supernatural romances will really enjoy this one, but Team Jacob fans may not like all the dead werewolves.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth YP FIC ELLSWORTH

16 year old Eagan and 14 year old Amelia couldn’t be much different. Eagan is a confident ice skating phenom that butts heads with her mother at any and all times and Amelia is meek and shy and physically too weak to do much of anything. However, one thing unites them: Amelia has just received Eagan’s heart. Told in alternating chapters from Eagan looking back through her life from BEYOND THE GRAVE and through Amelia trying to cope with the guilt of living through someone’s death, this book shows how much life can change in In a Heartbeat (couldn’t resist that, sorry.)

Another day, another Dead/Dying Teens (DDTs) book! I swear if you look at our shelves you’d swear that every kid out there had a terminal illness or was revisiting their life from BEYOND THE GRAVE or leaving reeeeeally long suicide notes. Well, the ones that weren’t angels, zombies, vampires, or living in a future devastated by War/Global Warming/Diseases. But I for one like the DODTs and In a Heartbeat is a pretty darn good one. It is interesting seeing Amelia adopt more mannerisms and behaviors of Eagan as the story progresses and both characters are likeable in different ways. I thought it wasn’t as impressive as Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (YP FIC OLIVER), but this is a simpler story that would be better for younger readers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell YP FIC POWELL

Ruth and Perry are step-siblings with a close bond. Their friendship is strengthened by their shared secrets of hallucinations. Ruth is a protector of all insect life and sees swarms of invisible insects everywhere. Perry is compelled to draw by a tiny wizard only he can see. As awesome as all that sounds, it means they are medicated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia respectively and travel through the world unsure of what is real and isn't and who they can turn to. Both find themselves pulling away from each other as they discover love and try different ways to reconcile reality in this strange and dark look at the magic and madness of adolescence.

FAIR WARNING: This is a Category Five Tearjerker. The title combined with loads of foreshadowing warns that the ending will not be a cheery one, but still doesn't lessen the impact of watching a young girl be consumed by madness. It may be one of the most genuinely creepy books I've read in a long time, because it's all based on what really can happen with mental illness. Everything about the art helps tell the story even the lettering which often forms into gibberish to show Ruth and Perry's inability to communicate with anyone besides each other. The hallucinations come in and out of nowhere so it's hard for the reader to get a handle on what is real or not. This makes it hard to read, so you have to pay close attention. This is one that may take several reads to really "get", but the art and writing is good enough that it’s worth the effort.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Teen Angst: a Celebration of Really Bad Poetry Edited by Sarah Bynoe 811.008 TEEN

The first collection of the best (meaning worst, but totally in a good way) of poems submitted to Poems fall under headings like "I will never love again" Poems, I am Alone--an no one understands my pain Poems, Life Sucks and I Want to Die Poems, and others. A collection of staggeringly bad poetry for every teen that angsts or the former sad, mad, head-over-heels-in love, or whatever other reason we have to write poems teen in all of us.

Right off the bat I want to add the disclaimer that I personally have NEVER written BAD POETRY and anybody claiming otherwise is clearly lying and their 'evidence' is obvious forgeries. That being said I love poetry and think absolutely everyone should read it and try to write it at least once, so this book is one of my favorites. It has some painfully bad poems that become painfully funny when read out loud and is in an odd way very encouraging. It shows that the pains and toils of adolescence are shared by many and that creativity can help us survive it. It also shows that no matter how bad your poems or bad your pain is one day you can look back and laugh at it. And any book that reminds us of that is pretty awesome. If you like poems and are looking for a laugh, this is a great read.