Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Duggan, Gerry & Brian Posehn (text) & Rick Remender & Hilary Barta (illus.). The Last Christmas. Image. 2013. 176p. ISBN 9781607068211. $24.99. HUMOR/ADVENTURE
Best known for their recent collaboration (Deadpool), writers Duggan and Posehn brought readers this tale of jolly old St. Nick’s postapocalyptic hunt for vengeance back in 2006. After the North Pole is raided by mutant marauders, a suicidal Santa and his group of foul-mouthed, heavily armed elves find themselves fighting to save the last child on Earth with any Christmas spirit. The pacing is tight, Remender’s (Fear Agent) and Barta’s (Elseworld’s Finest) illustrations have personality to spare, and the gags and violence are equally over-the-top. The final product feels oddly by-the-numbers, with nothing to make it stand out from the current glut of just add zombies–style parody fiction.
Verdict A thoroughly inessential reprint made more so by its deluxe binding. For Duggan/Posehn fanatics only.—Neil Derksen, Pierce Cty. Lib. Syst., Tacoma

Maier, Corinne (text) & Anne Simon (illus.). Freud: An Illustrated Biography. Nobrow. 2013. 56p. ISBN 9781907704734. $19.75. BIOG
Maier (Hello Laziness; No Kids), a well-known French author and psychoanalyst, tells the story of Sigmund Freud in his own voice in this graphic biography. Select details of Freud’s life are intermixed with distilled versions of his theories and fascinating case studies. From his birth in Freiberg, Moravia (today Príbor, Czech Republic) in 1856 to his death in London at the dawn of World War II in 1939, Freud struggles throughout to understand the human mind and apply his methods to help patients. Simon’s cartoon illustrations are steeped in symbolism and sexuality, contributing a subdued, dreamlike quality to the story in hues of brown, orange, yellow, and green.
Verdict Although at times a disjointed reading experience, the text delivers a good summary of Freud’s personality and what some of his ideas were, tying the different aspects of his life together to demonstrate clearly how he became known as the “founding father of psychoanalysis.” Recommended to readers who are interested in learning a little bit of everything about this important historical figure.—Heather Williams, Whatcom Community Coll., Bellingham, WA

Millar, Mark (text) & Frank Quitely & others (illus.). The Authority. Vol. 2. DC. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9781401242756. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401249205. SUPERHERO
authority011014The Authority is a superhero team composed of costumed heroes who don’t want to save the world. Instead, they focus on making the world worth saving, overthrowing dictators and defending countries against their aggressive neighbors. None of this makes them popular with governments, corporations, or the rest of the earth’s elite. Collecting issues 13–29 of the early 2000s run of this series, this hardcover edition finds Superman and Batman analogs, gay couple Apollo and Midnighter, nanotech-augmented The Engineer, Jack “The King of Cities” Hawksmoor, and the rest of the team fighting against government-sponsored superassassins, mother nature, and an alternate version of themselves.
Verdict Set apart from the traditional DC universe, The Authority is gleefully violent and refreshingly diverse, influencing modern titles like Garth Ennis’s The Boys and Mark Waid’s Irredeemable. Millar’s writing and Quitely’s art are fresh and relevant even more than a decade later. An excellent choice for mature readers.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI