The 4th book in the Locke & Key series finds Dodge aggressively pressing forward his agenda of getting the Locke children to hand over the Omega Key. The action is brutal, the art divine, and the story compelling. I particularly liked the occasional change in art styles to show a different point of view. This story has been one of my favorite graphic novels in the last couple of years, and it does not disappoint – nor does it give up its secrets easily.
2. Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, Serenity: Better Days, Illustrated by Will Conrad, 80 pages, Graphic Novel, Paperback, 2008.
The 2nd volume of Firefly comics find our beloved crew looking for ways to celebrate finally having a job go profitable. Too bad they attract the wrong kind of attention no matter the circumstances. I love the crew of Serenity, and I’m glad to visit them in whatever form. If I can’t get the TV show, I’ll take new stories in a graphic novel. The stories are still shiny.
3. Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead: A Continuing Story of Survival Horror, Book 5 (Issues #49-60), Illustrated by Charlie Adlard, 304 pages, Graphic Novel, Hardback, 2010.
Another of my favorite graphic novel series, The Walking Dead does not disappoint, always with the gut-wrenching twists of fate and the excellent art. After the events of the last book, Rick is in a fragile mental state, with Carl taking on more responsibility, trying to straddle the impossible, a child having to make the adult decisions. This book contains probably the single most surprising drawn page in the series, for me (it’s a major spoiler, so trust me – I spent the longest time sitting, looking at this page and trying to remember how to breathe). Also, there are some new people, and the concept of “zombie herd” comes into play.
4. Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead: A Continuing Story of Survival Horror, Book 6 (Issues #61-72), Illustrated by Charlie Adlard, 304 pages, Graphic Novel, Hardback, 2010.
As our survivors continue along, the children create some interesting moral conundrums as their understanding of the world has developed differently in the post-apocalyptic societal collapse. Some stay too child-like, others behave in shockingly adult ways – able to face the situations that their parents cannot wrap their heads around, much less take care of. Somehow, they still go on.
5. Joss Whedon & Zack Whedon, Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale, Illustrated by Chris Samnee, 56 pages, Graphic Novel, Paperback, 2010.
When Shepherd Book joined the Firefly crew, Kaylee had him pegged – it was the journey that mattered, not the destination. After the events of Serenity, I despaired of ever learning Book’s past – a past that was hinted at during the TV series as having Alliance involvement before his religious calling. The format of this graphic novel, being told almost in reverse, is jarring. But it is fitting for Shepherd Book’s back story. I am so glad to finally hear it.
6. Peter Johnson & Rebecca Dessertine, Supernatural: Rising Son, Illustrated by Diego Olmos, 144 pages, Graphic Novel, Paperback, 2009.
The 2nd prequel story for the TV show has Sam and Dean a bit older, and John having problems balancing what is good for the boys and his need for revenge on those who killed his wife years before. Seems that Sam is already getting the attention of the denizens of hell, and a moment of weakness gives them an edge in shaping the future. I’m not as fond of the art style, but the story is good enough to be part of the collection for a die-hard fan of the show.