#BookReview The Watchmen by Alan Moore

I bought this graphic novel a few years back as a birthday gift for myself. I had watched the Zack Snyder film and really wanted to jump into the comics. It’s safe to say I made a really smart decision, because I absolutely LOVED this graphic novel (and honestly, Zack did a good job changing the format and making it into a movie… but the comics were better, just saying).

There are superheroes and gods hidden among the everyday people of Earth. The original Watchmen are all older now and a new group of youngsters have been ushered in. Unfortunately, these superhuman, masked individuals are being killed off by someone… but why? This 12 book run dives deep into humanity and god-like powers.

This series starts out with The Comedian (Edward Blake), a former Watchman, being murdered. Rorschach (a name I have the hardest time spelling and pronouncing) decides to look into the murders and try to figure out what’s happening. Rorschach’s arc turns out to be one wild ride, and along the way we learn out a fair bit about The Comedian and his past. After Rorschach grabs a few more of the newer Watchmen, Laurie (Silk Spectre, who’s Mother was also Silk Spectre in her day) and Dan (Hawkman, but not Hawkman – he’s the NiteOwl) they decide to fight crime and try to determine what evil is affecting the world. Did I mention that Laurie goes out with both Dr. Manhattan (the naked blue man who has crazy super powers) and Dan?

These characters have lots of depth to them. The Comedian is a nasty man who rapes women and doesn’t care for children, yet he’s… funny? He felt like a Joker-esque man but almost worse. He’s more sane than the Joker… Yet he has such a strong back story that I still felt bad for him. That’s how you know this book is good. I felt bad for a man I should have hated.

Laurie and her Mother also have a very intriguing arc. The twist about Laurie’s family was easy to spot, but still hit hard.

Side note: The giant lynx was really cool – it really should have gotten some more scenes.

Dr. Manhattan, Jon, has some of the most intelligent and intriguing sets of dialogue that I’ve ever seen in graphic novels. I found his character to be very interesting and I’m curious how his story arc would have continued into the future. I am curious why he speaks so formally. Was that because of the crazy accident that turned him into a blue man? Why does he insist on being naked all of the time? He’s such a weird character but really interesting too.

This book is 100% an R-rated read, but it’s well worth it. The blood, the gore and the insanity of this comic series just feels right. I couldn’t see a story this honest and brutal be anything less than an R rating. There’s also sex scenes, a naked blue man and rape. It’s definitely a strong R but it felt like it fit the narrative. Although, Dan and Laurie’s sex scenes just felt… awkward?

To move onto the illustrations themselves – they’re classic. The story is colourful, felt like a real comic book and didn’t feel wasted. Yes, the series is a little bit older, but it still felt just as real as an updated comic book. Overall, it really packed it’s punch.

My final notes: I suggest reading the entire graphic novel. The comics don’t stand alone by themselves and it’d be a real waste to only read half. To get the full impact, read all twelve. It’s worth it! There are some slower comics in this mix, but all together they make for a really great story. The entire story is a real gem if you give it a chance. I have to say I did really enjoy it and I’d read it again in the future. The ending left it a little ambiguous yet it left me wanting to find out more about the characters who made it to the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel! It’s a shame I didn’t pick it up earlier because it was truly marvelous and one of the greats.

Five out of five stars.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Indigo

Here’s some other comics featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin
#BookReview Batman:Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison
#BookReview Gotham City Sirens: Book One by Paul Dini

 

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#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin

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Batman: A Death in the Family was an amazing collection of comics full of the nerdy Batman I always loved!

Every year on my birthday I splurge a little bit and buy myself a comic book. I bought this one year ago and totally slacked on reading it and posting my review. So now is my time to shine and finally reveal my thoughts on it!

So far, this is one of my favourite series of comics in the Batman universe. Is it the best ever? No. Is it a hit or miss set of comics? Yes. But I absolutely love the artwork featured within this book. The style alone of how it was written pulls me in to the story and made me want to continue reading it. Add in the bright colours and old style comics and you have me hooked! I love retro/old style Batman, it’s my aesthetic for comic books.

This set of comics was interesting because back in the day readers got to vote what happened to Robin. That little information alone makes me more interested in this book – can you imagine eagerly waiting for the next comic to know whether or not the general public agreed with you on Robin’s fate? That is so intriguing to me (and the results interested me even more). Clearly I need to read the earlier comics featuring Robin to see if I can understand why his fate was so tragic.

When you look at the big picture, this was something gigantic that the DC Comics line did. The writers depended on the readers to determine a character’s fate. This appears to be a strategic marketing campaign (as this comic and plot line is still famous to this day) but also very problematic. Some people like that the writers left the fate of Robin in the hands of the readers, but others are 100% against it. That sort of background to the story is what pulls me in – it’s dramatic and interesting.

I find this comic series to be a little more brutal (without spoiling how the death occurs, of course). I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers (teenagers and up are my suggested audience). There is also a little bit of politics in this book as well, which might not be understood by the younger audience if they choose to read it.

I do dislike the fact that the ending to this book is given away in the title. It’s a really good name, but it also ruins everything for the reader. We know what’s going to happen based on the title and the cover page. I’m not sure how they could change this because it is so attention grabbing.

My other issue with this book is the plot line – it seemed like the writers rushed into the plot line as a way to simply kill Robin off. Robin is going to find his mother, magically finds her and BAM he’s done for. I would have liked to see the Mother storyline expanded a little more and made it meaningful so the death did feel more powerful (especially if they are going to ruin the surprise by making the title “Death in the Family”).

On a side note, I always looked up to Batman as a child. Now that I’m an adult and reading this book, I think I’ve changed my mind. This Batman wasn’t the brightest or most helpful in the end. Alfred seemed to be so invested, but Bruce/Batman did not. I plan to pick up a few more comic books to see if this is a writer issue or simply how Bruce/Batman was meant to be in the long run.

Four out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/107032.Batman

If you enjoyed this review or book, check out another you might enjoy! Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

 

Give me a shoutout on Twitter to nerd out about Batman and other book and comic book related topics! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo via Goodreads.

#BookReview Elves & The Argo Adventure by Katja Vartiainen

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Elves & the Argo Adventure is yet another funny, satirical, comic about elves created by the fabulous Katja Vartiainen.

This time around, the elves are going on an adventure! It all starts out when the swallows tell/tweet to the elves THAT THERE IS NO COFFEE! It’s a real tragedy, just like it is for us adults in the real world. How can the elves expect to work their five hour work week without some form of caffeine?! The elves resort to alcohol, magical beings, Dolph Lundgrun, and a fishcorn, to name a few.

In regards to the artwork, I’d be lying if I said my favourite picture wasn’t the little lady bugs/lady birds! They are so simple to draw, and yet I always love seeing them! I also thought the eye-phone picture was seriously hilarious!

When you pick apart this book, there’s many themes within it. The entire point of this book seems to be making fun of the human experience – how we’re racist, how we need coffee to survive, how we’ll do anything to get what we want, etc. It’s a nice to be able to look at our worldly problems in a comedic sense – especially in the fantasy setting.

I did have some negatives about this book, and one of them was it was hard to understand some of the phrasing. Most of the jokes were easy to read, but there were a few that either the grammar was off, or the joke went over my head to make me not understand the sentence in general. My other “con” was seeing the link that appeared on every few pages suggesting the reader check out the elves’s real website. I can totally understand trying to market it that way, but it caused me to become unfocused and break away from the story.

Overall, I think this book is a silly read you can definitely manage in one sitting. It’s a great escape book full of colourful artwork.

Three out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book Elves & The Argo Adventure on:

Goodreads – Elves & AA – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves & AA – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves & AA – Amazon.ca

Check out Elves Get Organized? another book in this series on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

Or check out Katja’s drawing book Half Done Fun on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Half Done Fun

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Half Done Fun

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Half Done Fun

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @KatArtPics & @ReviewAlholic

 

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Elves Get Organized? by Katja Vartiainen

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Elves Get Organized by Katja Vartiainen is a cute, fun adventure!

Just the first page alone, with the super cute owl and squirrel, made me squirm with excitement! I love a colourful graphic novel, especially since I rarely get to read them!

This story is all about elves! This book starts off with a little riverdance festival, full of deep, rich colours and fun scenes of dancing elves, beavers, bats and other creatures! And, didn’t you know, these dances cause the crop circles!

Elves Get Organized has strong, central theme of taking care of the environment. The disgusting amount of plastic in the forest was a nice addition – because it’s so true. All around my neighborhood and in the wooded areas near my house there is plastic everywhere! I can’t go a day without seeing plastic littered everywhere. Who-mans definitely did NOT think about the consequences of using plastic that isn’t biodegradable in any form. Add in the effects of trees on the environment, the effects of relaxation and meditation, and loss of water like ponds and streams, and you’ve got one epic story!

I had a real chuckle that “who-man” was human. It took me a few pages to grasp that concept, and when I did I was giggling at the silliness. The worshipper of coffee was also hilarious! Eyephone versus the iPhone? And those are only three of many seriously funny scenes that had me rolling my eyes from the sarcastic nature of the comments. I don’t know how Katja thought up all of these jokes, but it’s hilarious!! Grade A humor!

There is some adult humor, including some “inappropriate” words that make this book a little darker. The style of the story made me think it would have been great for reading with my reading buddies back in grade school, but the darker tones had me wondering if this was better off for teen to adult readers.

I think this book is a great breakaway from society. If you want a fun, amusing read that whisks you away to a fantastical world (with a pinch of realism), then this book is for you! It has large amounts of satire about today’s society that will make you laugh along while questioning our world’s sanity.

There is one scene I did NOT like (because I am an animal lover), and it honestly changed my opinion of the book. If you read it, you’ll probably figure out the exact scene I’m thinking of. I don’t like having those types of scenes in books, violence towards animals is NEVER okay, even as a story line in a comedic book. There were many different ways that plot line could have happened – like having an “almost” moment instead of full out creating violence against animals. In turn, this book is NOT for you if you dislike violence towards animals.

Overall, this story was cute and fun but is definitely for adult readers. It spoofs today’s society and embraces ecological change. If you’re looking for a quick read, a graphic novel or a satirical novel – then this book is for you!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @KatArtPics & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below – what is your favourite graphic novel?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Gotham City Sirens: Book One by Paul Dini

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I have always been a big fan of Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Catwoman and the Riddler. So, lucky me, this book did not leave me disappointed! I am craving the next book in this series wildly – now I’ll just have to find it.

This ensemble works well together and are quite amusing. Yes, there are some aspects of this book that I didn’t like (*cough* their body types *cough*), but you get what you get with comic books. I don’t like that Harley isn’t very smart, but that seems to be her portrayal often in the media (before Suicide Squad, that is). She also doesn’t seem to be the main focus, which is kind of sad. Harley Quinn is just as important as the other three, and probably more well known at this point.

The plot and overall storylines are amusing and easy to follow. I like that each comic leave it open to continue, but also closes the story so if you wanted to stop you could.

I do have to say, this book has left me with a high expectation for DC comics. I’ve read other comics since and have been left disappointed because of this book. To me, it’s a high end, fun story arc that should be read by comic fans wanting a little fun in their life. It’s definitely not one of the darker DC arcs.

I like the art style of this book – it’s bright, it’s beautifully drawn and there’s lots of details in the background.

Overall – I loved this book! Five out of five stars! I want more!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

Check out Paul Dini on Goodreads! Paul Dini on Goodreads

Give me a shoutout on Twitter if you read this review!!! I always love some constructive feedback! @ReviewAlholic