Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, September 20, 2013

Week ending September 20, 2013

Asmus, James (text) & Clay Mann & Diogenes Neves (illus.). Gambit. Vol. 1: Once a Thief…. Marvel. (Now!). 2013. 152p. ISBN 9780785165477. pap. $18.99. SUPERHERO
Written by Asmus (X-Men; Deadpool: All in the Family), this volume is another attempt by Marvel to put one of its favorite characters out of his normal environment, and, it seems, here Gambit has slipped into a James Bond film as he is transported to the jungles of Guatemala in search of a lost temple. The writing of Gambit is spot on; his large ego is in place, as is the focus on his background as a (former) thief. Hinging purely on Gambit, the book doesn’t quite portray the character as a great solo hero as does the current “Hawkeye” series by Matt Fraction and David Aja. The art is serviceable but reminiscent of the flashy, gaudy fight scenes of the 1990s.
Verdict Reading as an X-Men comic of the 1990s golden era, only with the added Cajun, this collection is recommended for readers who enjoy Nineties-era comics, tales of spies and intrigue, or superheroes out of their element. It brings back the fun albeit shallow style of the comic stories of 20 years ago.—Ryan Claringbole, Chesapeake P.L., VA

Barlow, Jeremy & Peter M. Lenkov (text) & Tony Parker (illus.). R.I.P.D. Vol. 2: City of the Damned. Dark Horse. 2013. 96p. ISBN 9781616551131. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781621156864. FANTASY/ADVENTURE
The Rest in Peace Department (R.I.P.D.) recruits dead lawmen to fight supernatural evil on Earth. The first volume (and basis for this summer’s poorly received movie) paired Nick, a present-day Boston cop, with Roy, an Old West U.S. marshal. This collection adds to Roy’s backstory: a “Weird West” tale about a possessed town, a demonic train, and a fanatic set on bringing down the Almighty. Unfortunately, the comic reads like a rush job—uninspired and failing to put any original spin on these familiar themes.
Verdict Libraries would be better off purchasing the first collection rather than this forgettable volume. Not recommended.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

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"