Graphic Novels from Fumino, Harris & Morazzo, Kirkman & Others, and Lewis & Sherman | Xpress Reviews

Week ending October 27, 2017

Fumino, Yuki. I Hear the Sunspot. Vol. 1. One Peace. Oct. 2017. 200p. tr. from Japanese. ISBN 9781944937300. pap. $12.95. YAOI/GAY & LESBIAN MANGA
[DEBUT] Fumino’s debut manga is a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking story about the chance meeting and budding romance between two awkward yet lovable male college students. Kohei has a hearing disability, and because of the friction this creates between himself and others, he is socially withdrawn. This changes when the boisterous Taichi literally falls into Kohei’s life and asks for a job as his note taker. Fumino’s endearing characters’ opposite personalities play off each other well. Taichi’s straightforward, genuine nature gently pulls Kohei toward a more socially integrated college life. He also slowly begins to understand his own privilege as a person without a hearing disability as he takes the time to get to know his new companion.
Verdict This manga does an excellent job of fostering empathy by illustrating the challenges Kohei faces on a day-to-day basis as well as depicting his more painful personal interactions. Older teens and up who enjoyed the anime series Yuri on Ice or Yoshitoki Oima’s A Silent Voice but with a shonen-ai twist will find lots to like here. [Fumino’s book has recently been adapted and released as a feature film in Japan.—Ed.] —Chuck Hodgin, Belmont Univ. Lib., Nashville

Harris, Joe (text) & Martín Morazzo (illus.). Snowfall. Vol. 1. Image. Aug. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9781534300583. pap. $19.99. Rated: Mature. SF
In the not too distant year of 2045, the climate on Earth has begun to change, and it no longer snows. The temperatures have become arid, and the corporate government is desperate to find a way save climatic conditions when scientist Dr. August Reasons engineers a way to create snowfall. But the price for this technology has come at the expense of his daughter, who was used as a lab rat to bring about the precipitation. The result is the creation of an uncontrollable force that resides inside them both. Reasons then becomes the White Wizard, an ecoterrorist, and his daughter, a veritable Sleeping Beauty, who must be kept sedated in order to keep her from creating an unending winter. When young student Anthony Farrow inadvertently sets the princess free, events quickly spiral into disaster. Harris (Ghost Projekt; The Great Pacific) sets up an ambitious plot alongside Morazzo’s (Nighthawk; The Electric Sublime) intriguing artist flair. Collects single Issues 1–9.
Verdict
The beginning of Snowfall will draw many readers in; however, once there, it is hard to discern what is driving the overall narrative. A flawed story line and unlikable characters make this a difficult and oftentimes confusing read.—Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY

Kirkman, Robert & others. The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan! Image. Oct. 2017. 72p. ISBN 9781534303270. $19.99. Rated: Mature. HORROR
Negan is a big-time jerk. Hyperaggressive, he bullies and dominates the kids he is entrusted with as a coach. He’s also cheating on his wife, who is dying of cancer. When she finally succumbs after her long battle, Negan is confronted with an unprecedented situation when she crawls off her death bed as a member of the living dead. In fact, a major zombie outbreak occurs simultaneously with her death, leaving him with no option but to fight his way out of the hospital against rampaging undead hordes. Negan discovers, however, that while the very self-centered and violent nature of his personality was problematic for navigating the rules of normal society, the very same qualities might just allow him to thrive amid the ruins of humanity’s few living survivors. The creative team of Kirkman (Invincible), Charlie Adlard (Codeflesh), Cliff Rathburn (Super Dinosaur), and Dave Stewart (Hellboy) supply fans of the venerable horror series with character development for the repugnant leader who has run roughshod over Rick Grimes, Michonne, and the other survivors in both the comics and TV series.
Verdict While it doesn’t contain many of the main characters fans know and love, this stand-alone volume does offer the oddly compelling origin story of the most hated man of any zombie apocalypse.—Douglas Rednour, Georgia State Univ. Libs., Atlanta

Lewis, Sean (text) & Hayden Sherman (illus.). The Few. Vol. 1. Image. Aug. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781534302358. pap. $19.99. Rated: Mature. DYSTOPIAN/ACTION & ADVENTURE
Pvt. Edan Hale serves the Palace, a corrupt government that rules splintered America in a dystopian future. After serving the Palace faithfully for years, Edan finds herself stuck in camps with the “terrorists” she has been fighting, known as the Few. Initially under deep cover to infiltrate the Few, she eventually comes to ally herself with them. Haunted by her former commander’s ghost and strapped with caring for a small infant who wears a gas mask, Edan spends much of the tale running from guns, shooting and bombing her pursuers, and forging uneasy partnerships with strangers. Multiple surprises await our protagonist, and the conclusion to this arc is powerfully satisfying. Lewis (Saints) crafts an emotionally charged tale, deftly illustrated by Sherman (John Carter: The End), whose jagged, sketchy style, reminiscent of Frank Miller’s Sin City or Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, perfectly fits the bleak forests and cityscapes that Edan encounters. Black, white, and red constitute the basic palette.
Verdict Recommended for mature readers who like their stories stark, dark, and intense. Strong adult content owing to graphic violence.—Jeffrey W. Hunter, Royal Oak, MI

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