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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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.

Madame Xanadu vol.1: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: Lovely artwork from Amy Reeder Hadley. The story was interesting, but Madame Xanadu, as a character, fell a little short of my expectations. I felt that she had the potential to be a lot more interesting, not to mention likable. The Phantom Stranger was simply annoying and had a serious lack of communication skills, but then again, I’ve never been a fan of these brooding, mysterious character types. Still, the story was good and I enjoyed reading about how the story of Madame Xanadu (or Nimue) entangled with the stories of other DC characters, as well as with historical events such as the French revolution.

P.S. In the Marie Antoinette chapter, I was a little irked by the errors in the French sentences. “Le Madame”? “Les belle dames”? Hmm.

The Walking Dead Book One by Robert Kirkman

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: After all the hype surrounding this series, I came to it with my expectations maybe a bit too high. Post-apocalyptic stories about zombies have been done before, so I wasn’t expecting an incredibly original story, but I was hoping for some good character development and a solid storyline.

Did this book have it? Yes, though not as much as it could. The story starts a bit too suddenly and I had trouble getting into it at first. Also, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. The women were mostly pitiful and weak and the men all seemed to go crazy (there were a few exceptions, mostly with secondary characters though). I hate to think that in a disaster we’d all default to that – though to be fair I can’t say for sure we wouldn’t, at least for some people.

As a survival story, this is pretty accurate in that most of the time is spent looking for basic needs, like food and shelter. The story is fairly interesting, and it gets better in the second chapter, but I still think it has room to get better. I’ll be checking out the rest of the series, but I sincerely hope the characters grow up a little.