Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, August 30, 2013

Week ending August 30, 2013

Bergting, Peter (text & illus.). Domovoi. Dark Horse. 2013. 136p. ISBN 9781616550905. pap. $19.99. FANTASY
Swedish author and illustrator Bergting (The Portent) tells a tale of Slavic folklore intruding on modern life. The witch Vasilisa has died, leaving behind Uncle Ivan, who is a domovoi or house spirit, to explain the responsibility that now falls to her granddaughter Jennie. Long ago, Vasilisa and Jennie’s long-lived cat Bulka traveled to the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom and escaped with the magic bones belonging to Bolshoi Korol. With Vasilisa’s death, her spell that keeps the bones in hiding has failed, and Korol’s agents, the poleviki, have come in search of them. Various beings, both human and spirit, advise Jennie, but in the end she makes her own decision to travel to the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom to confront Korol. The moody palette is all in shades of sunset, dusk, and night. Both the art and story are reminiscent of Dark Horse’s “B.P.R.D.” (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence) series, although Bergting’s story isn’t as dark or dense. Appropriately, the introduction is provided by veteran “B.P.R.D.” artist John Arcudi.
Verdict For fans of supernatural graphic novels who are in the mood for a light read.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

Lemire, Jeff (text & illus.). Sweet Tooth: Wild Game. Vertigo. (Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6). 2013. 200p. ISBN 9781401240295. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401245474. FANTASY
Writer and artist Lemire’s (The Underwater Welder) postapocalyptic series about humanity’s twilight and the rise of human/animal hybrids reaches its poignant conclusion in this sixth volume. Main characters Gus, a boy with antlers, and Jepperd, his human guardian, head to Alaska along with the rest of their human and hybrid party. There the secret to the hybrid plague waits in a remote research facility. However, it will also be the site of the final battle between them and the militia hunting them.
Verdict This emotionally riveting work is highly recommended for libraries with broader graphic novel collections and essential to those with selected earlier volumes. Lemire’s series also serves as a read-alike for both the “Y: The Last Man” and “The Walking Dead” series.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

starred review starWillingham, Bill (text) & Mark Buckingham & others (illus.). Fables: The Deluxe Edition. Bk. 7. Vertigo. Sept. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9781401240400. $29.99. FANTASY
War is a brewin’ between the Mundy world (as in the human realm) and Fabletown (the world of well-known and beloved storybook characters). It seems some of the powerful magistrates of Fabletown are mounting a first-strike scenario against the land of humans, even though some celebrated Fabletown folk find the notion insane. And the humans aren’t too crazy about it, either. How can a universe of aircraft, machine guns, and flesh hope to battle toe-to-toe with witches, wizards, magic, and even talking cookies and win? It’s a close run thing in this beautifully rendered and wickedly witty tale of tales. The “Fables” series has earned creator Willingham 14 Eisner Awards, among other prestigious honors, and this volume continues in the same proud and ambitious tradition.
Verdict This book is gorgeous throughout, with colorful stand-alone renderings; the most dynamic aspect, however, is the powerful writing and the wonderfully illustrated interpretation of the stories. Young adults will respond to the look, pace, and irreverence of the tales, and grown-ups will love the craftsmanship and intelligence of this latest edition, which is an entertaining blast!—Russell Miller, Prescott P.L., AZ

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"