#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.

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#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 Batman:Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison

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I love comic books, but this one didn’t do it for me.

I didn’t like the art style, even if it was quite beautiful. For me, this style of comic didn’t do Batman justice. It seemed very messy to me, and it didn’t let me focus. I think this art style could work well with other characters, but not one where I want to pay attention to detail. It just felt to fuzzy.

There’s footnotes in this edition, which seems really weird to me. Why does a comic book need footnotes? Shouldn’t you be able to get the point across within the story?

At least there was a script at the end to understand what was going on. It just seemed really weird to me that I had no honest idea what was happening. It didn’t seem like a Batman comic, more like a parody of a Batman comic. Having to go back and forth between the comic and the script also left me incredibly frustrated. I don’t understand how this comic book was supposed to hit audiences.

The idea of having the inmates takes over Arkham Asylum seems awesome and this could make for the best story, but this art style didn’t do it justice. I could barely tell what characters were who, and I’m obsessed with Batman. I also didn’t understand the haunted part of the plot.

I get this book was supposed to be a psychological thriller/horror that was supposed to attract adult and mature audiences, but it just didn’t feel that way to me. The allusions and references went over my head, and I felt like there could have been so much more added to make it flow better.

Overall, this book was super frustrating for me. I wanted to love it (especially when I paid way to much to get my hands on this book) but I just couldn’t. I had high expectations and it came short.

Two out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another? #BookReview AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain

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Check out Grant Morrison on Goodreads! Grant Morrison on 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