LJ Best Books 2017

It's time again for LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry and literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.   SEE WHO MADE THE LIST

Graphic Novels from Fletcher, Wu, & Co.; Morrison, Burnham, & others; and Sejic | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 13, 2016

starred review starFletcher, Brenden (text) & Annie Wu & others (illus.). Black Canary. Vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming. Image. Mar. 2016. 232p. ISBN 9781401261177. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401266776. SUPERHERO
blackcanary051316Dinah Lance is out of the vigilante business. Wailing with her sonic scream as the lead singer in the all-woman rock band Black Canary, Dinah is using her former ass-kicking moves to electrify audiences and knock the occasional head or two. Touring gets difficult when the music begins to take a backseat to creatures trying to capture the group’s youngest member. Rival bands, ninjas, alien invaders, ghosts from Dinah’s old life, and the band’s penchant for destroying the location of their gigs make life on the road more than what the musicians bargained for. Reminiscent of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” series, with gorgeous use of color and over-the-top antagonists crawling out of the woodwork to bedevil a band, this work from Fletcher (Batgirl), Wu (Hawkeye), Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man), and colorist Lee Loughridge (Batman Adventures) breathes new life into Black Canary as a hard-living punk rocker.
Verdict Recommended for teens and adults seeking an exciting entry into the long history of this character in the DC universe.—Mary E. Butler, Marion Cty. P.L. Syst., Ocala, FL

Morrison, Grant (text) & Chris Burnham & others (illus.). Nameless. Image. Mar. 2016. 192p. ISBN 9781632155276. $24.99. Rated: M. HORROR
Asteroid Xibalba, named after the Mayan underworld, is on a collision course with Earth. When a massive carved glyph is spotted on the rock, occult specialist Nameless is recruited for a daring space mission to intercept and deflect the object—saving the earth while exploring the last remnant of a mythical lost planet. But how is this asteroid connected to a séance Nameless conducted at a haunted house years before? And who is the veiled lady chasing him in his dreams? Morrison (Doom Patrol) crafts an intricate and disturbing story meshing standard horror tropes with Mayan and Polynesian mythology and occult scholarship resulting in a nested nightmare. Burnham (Batman Incorporated) fills the pages with grisly detail often using panels to fracture the page. Combined, they present a unique and complicated experience, ultimately, as with the reworked tarot presented within, open to the reader’s interpretation.
Verdict Nameless has enough grotesque imagery to please most horror fans but requires a serious reading (and rereading) to unravel all the mysteries within—a chapter guide in the back only begins to explain some of the ideas. Mature fans of the genre looking for something deeper will appreciate this most.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

Sejic, Linda. Blood Stain. Vol. 1. Top Cow: Image. Apr. 2016. 128p. ISBN 9781632155443. pap. $14.99. Rated: M. HUMOR
Originally published as a webcomic, this series began as a kind of coping mechanism for creator Sejic (Tales of Honor) during a low time in her life. It introduces Elliot “Elly” Torres, a twentysomething college graduate struggling to find and maintain a career or at the very least any job at all. Her family could benefit from Elly’s landing a steady position and bringing in some money, but nothing seems to work out. She stumbles upon an interesting announcement for an assistant in a science institute, yet her first conversation with the creepy voice on the other end of the phone places doubts in her mind that this company is where she belongs. When Elly spontaneously takes the mysterious assignment and leaves her family and boyfriend behind, we only get a glimpse of a shadowed Dr. Vlad Stein, a wild-haired scientist in a blood-stained lab coat. Will Elly find a career to be proud of? The art is beautiful, and even the blood stains are soft. Volume 2 is scheduled for release in September.
Verdict Sejic has much to prove in her first print series, but she seems well equipped with talent and skills to become a lasting success. Sf/humor fans will enjoy this quick read.—Teresa Potter-Reyes, Helen Hall Lib., League City, TX

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