Graphic Novels from Claveloux, Miller & Co., and Scott & Others | Xpress Reviews

Week ending August 18, 2017

starred review starClaveloux, Nicole with Edith Zha. The Green Hand and Other Stories. New York Review Comics. Nov. 2017. 100p. tr. from French by Donald Nicholson-Smith. ISBN 9781681371078. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681371085. GRAPHIC NOVELS
A woman tries her newly greened hand at growing a plant, but her depressive blue-feathered friend’s jealously poisons the leafy new life. During the ensuing argument with the bird, the lady is propelled sans clothing through the walls of her residence to other strange apartments. Waking from the bizarre trip, she leaves the building for a major resort, where the lockstep affluent vacationers remain self-obsessed, ignoring the majesty around them. Meanwhile, the melancholy avian attempts to recapture some lost personal vagary, which takes him on a journey of his own through the modern cityscape and a meeting with a sinister surveyor. Will the globe-trotting gentlewoman and the blue bird reunite? Other stories involve a most murderous family, a little root that dreams of becoming a glamorous panther, a woman waiting patiently for Prince Charming, a youth whose wild fantasies concerning her burgeoning sexuality annoy her family, and other hypnagogic phantasms.
Verdict Claveloux (Grabote) and Zha’s (coauthor, La Maison sur la digue) explicitly adult pop-art fantasia delivers emotional insight and imaginative visuals that take the driver’s seat away from the strong logic of the narrative and enjoyably amble readers toward the byways of the subconscious with hauntingly powerful designs and sagacious observation. [Previewed in “Comics Cross Over,” LJ 6/15/17.]—Douglas Rednour, Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta

starred review starMiller, Frank & others (text & illus.). Batman: The Dark Knight; Master Race. DC. Sept. 2017. 392p. ISBN 9781401265137. $29.99. SUPERHEROES
Batman has gotten old, literally. That won’t matter, though, when a group of Kryptonians, led by madman Quar, trick the Atom into releasing them and wreak havoc on Earth. Batman, along with sidekick Carrie Kelley, attempts to get help from Superman, who is reluctant to fight those from his home world. Batman then tries to get the old gang (Justice League) back together, receiving help from Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. Things become complicated for Superman and Wonder Woman as they discover their daughter Lara fighting for Quar. Intense battles and excellent dramatic scenes make for a fun yet character-driven read. Miller’s third chapter in his brilliant “Batman” series (after Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again) has his trademark pop culture, TV, and political references, beautiful artwork, styling, and coloring. Talented collaborators include Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets), Andy Kubert (Batman and Son), and Klaus Janson (Batman: Black and White).
Verdict Miller and company have brought their best work to a continuation of one of the most iconic, groundbreaking story lines in superhero history. With the upcoming release of the Justice League film, this will be a terrific purchase for all libraries.—Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

Scott, Cavan (text) & Adriana Melo & others (illus.). Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor. Vol. 3: Official Secrets. Titan Comics. Jul. 2017. 128p. ISBN 9781785861116. $22.99; pap. ISBN 9781785861123. $16.99. SF/TV TIE-IN
Titan Comics’ Doctor Who line has been notable for its quality, fidelity to lead characters’ personalities, and stories that capture the spirit of the TV show but would have been difficult to realize in that medium. This series, starring the first incarnation of the Doctor to be featured in the show’s 2005 revival, is no exception. Joined by companion Rose Tyler and interstellar bad boy–turned–hero Capt. Jack Harkness, the leather-jacketed, testy Ninth Doctor finds himself in the 1970s, aiding his old UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) allies (from the Third Doctor’s TV tenure), as they try to stop giant monsters rampaging through England. Then a clue to Harkness’s two years of missing memories takes them (with new UNIT agent Tara Mishra as a stowaway) to 17th-century Brazil, where “slavers” (Portuguese men collecting Brazilians to use as slaves) are mysteriously disappearing. Scott (Adventure Time) has ably picked up threads and themes from the Ninth Doctor’s TV adventures and worked them into his own fast-paced, enjoyable tales. Brazilian artists Melo (Star Wars: Empire) and Cris Bolson (The Shadow) render the story’s many alien creatures with impact and lavish detail.
Verdict While not as inventive as the series’ first volume, this will still certainly satisfy those who want more of the short-lived Ninth Doctor.—Steve Raiteri, Greene Cty. P.L., Xenia, OH

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