Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol. 1 by Philip K. Dick, Tony Parker

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: A graphic adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, the novel that served as an inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. However, I wouldn’t call it a graphic novel exactly; it feels more like an illustration in the style of a graphic novel. The difference is that there’s a lot more text that appears to be lifted exactly from the book (I didn’t check this, but it felt like everything was there, included the “He responded absently” after the dialog balloons). It’s a bit distracting.

This adaptation seems to be particularly directed at those who have seen and loved the movie but who aren’t aware of the original material. For me, having seen the movie and read the book, this adaptation didn’t bring anything new. The artwork is ok, but very straightforward – I was expecting something more experimental and daring. The cover gallery at the end, however, is gorgeous, and I fell in love with the Collector’s Paradise Exclusive by Scott Keating.

Overall, this is a nice read, but not unmissable if you’ve read the original novel.

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The Boys Vol.1: The Name of the Game by Garth Ennis

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: That was… Interesting, I suppose.

A story about a CIA-backed brigade of people who are supposed to keep superheroes in check, because apparently all superheroes are vicious, murderous rapists, and just all-around horrible human beings. And the only way to fight them is to get an equally vicious group of regular humans who hate them, give them a compound that effectively turns them into superheroes as well (the irony of the situation!), and unleash them upon the “supes” to remind them who’s boss.

I guess I just don’t see the appeal of extremely gratuitous revenge stories like this, where most of the characters end up acting like caricatures of themselves, with only a couple of them being believably human. I’ll still read the second volume to see if it gets any better, as some of the characters have potential… But I’m not keeping my hopes up.

American Vampire Vol.1 by Scott Snyder

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: “American Vampire” follows the appearance of a new breed of vampire, an “evolution” that happens when the vampires from Europe travel to America to further their wealth, and one of them accidentally turns a local criminal. This new breed is a little different – they can walk in the sun, are immune to wood, their strength wanes during the new moon… The story follows Skinner Sweet, the first American vampire, from the wild west to 1920s Los Angeles, where we also meet Pearl Jones, an aspiring young actress. It was written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque.

It’s strange to see all the blurbs and comments saying that this is an original portrayal of vampires. While it’s nice to get a break from all the stories where vampires are just bad boys with feelings, I wouldn’t consider this an entirely new approach, but instead a return to how things should be. These vampires are vicious, vengeful and violent, but still manage to be strangely charming.

The story is compelling and the artwork, gritty and rough, lends itself well to the book’s atmosphere. The dialogues sometimes felt flat to me, specially when it involved the Old World vampires, who seemed rather corny and cliche. Still, this was an enjoyable read and I’ll be looking forward to the next volume.

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by Mike Carey

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: Richard Mayhew is just your average person with an average job, who allows himself to be gently (and not so gently) pushed around by pretty much everyone and everything in his life. When he stops to help an injured young lady named Door, who comes from London Below, a sort of parallel city that exists beneath and connected to London, his life changes.

This is the graphic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel. I admit, after reading this I wish I had read the original novel first. I loved the story, and the settings were beautifully depicted, but I was left feeling like something was missing, and the story could have benefited from a slower pace.

Still, this is a lovely book and I recommend it, specially if you’re read the original novel before.

Cowboys & Aliens by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg

Rating: ** (2 out of 5)

Review: I hate to say this about any book, but this wasn’t good. Actually, it was much worse than I had expected. I saw the movie first, and while I didn’t love it, it was better than the book. What’s more, the stories are completely different, the only real connection is that, in both, there are cowboys and – wait for it –  aliens.

This wasn’t terrible, but the story is way too basic and nothing, not the characters, the setting or the events, gets explored in the slightest, which was a disappointment.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: I’m going to let you in on a secret, little friend. It’s easy to become anything you wish… So long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.

A beautifully drawn fable-like book about accepting who you are. Has a slower pace than a lot of other graphic novels, but it suits the story, and there are little moments of humor that keep everything interesting. Well worth the read.

Promethea Vol.1 by Alan Moore

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: Sophie Bangs is a college student in a present-day New York in an universe where the world is completely dominated by science. There are flying cars and high tech buildings, cutting edge medical treatments, and fiction and myth are things of the past, relegated to academical studies. Sophie is interested in a mysterious character named Promethea, who keeps appearing at different and seemingly unrelated times in history. Soon, her research gets her closer to the physical embodiment of Promethea, and she discovers that she is the next person to channel the power of Imagination.

This was recommended to me by a friend who is usually spot on about books that I will like. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. The exploration of imagination and dreams, communication and stories as the next stage in the evolution of the human beings, was extremely interesting. I loved the humor in his portrayal of modern society in all its absurdity. The artwork was fantastic as well, with the paneling artfully depicting the narrative and the “parallel” worlds.

Looking forward to the next installment of the series.