"When I saw the solicit for this book: "When down-and-out Eddie stumbles upon the body of a murdered teenage runaway, he vows to bring her killers to justice. His investigation brings him into the darkest truths of his beachside town, where he finds he may be the only one who cares enough to solve this murder.", I thought "This is either going to be amazing or absolutely terrible."
I am happy to say, it's the former. This is a very human story about the non-battle between Corporate America and the homeless and disenfranchised. As well as a murder...not mystery...more of a...murder reveal. While both these elements are cool, and make for a fun read, the highlights are Ponticello's art, and the perspective point of the unreliable narrator.
This is both an incredible story that you will want to fly through, and a beautiful art book where you'll want to spend several minutes looking at every panel.
Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory, is one of my all-time favorite comics to recommend to people. It's an unusual story that's told well, and is spectacular to look at. And while I've enjoyed some of Layman's work since, I've always felt there was something lacking.
It turns out while I do like Layman's work, Guillory is why I loved Chew. He uses the same framing devices that Chew uses: a really cool plot point in the beginning, and then backing up and explaining how the story arrived there. He also packs each page with humorous background images.
This story about family and medical technology has been a blast so far. The only thing it's missing is Poyo, but since chogs have sort of shown up , it is clearly only a matter of time before the world's coolest rooster is, at least, mentioned.
Once I use the phrase "humorous slice of life comics about a family of Death Metal musicians written by a Finnish creator", what else do you need to know before you buy it?
I'll wait here for your answer.
Do I need to mention this book is not going to be The Feel Good Book Of The Year? This is a recounting of what happened to the youngest prisoner at the United States's highly illegal, highly traumatizing, completely in violation of The Geneva Convention and simple human decency, prisons at Guantanamo Bay.
This is a fast read, given the heavy nature of the story, and might be the only way to absorb this experience without plunging into despair. Tubiana and Franc present El-Harani's story with such nuance, that you feel the excessive time El-Gharani spent wrongfully imprisoned, even though they are forced to speed through a lot of time to tell the story in just 150ish pages.
You may not yet realize that you need to read an all-ages book about microaggressions and fitting into a culture that Others you, but you do.
This is a perfect Show Don't Tell story of being Other in a community that isn't trying to be prejudiced against you, but doesn't have the language or experience to treat you the way it treats other people.
While there are some Not Great actions in the book, there really aren't any villains, just people fucking up, including the protagonist, because everybody has someone they see as Other.
This book isn't just Important, though. It's also funny, well-crafted, and an absolute joy to read.
A few years ago, while working on the now defunct VeXed-Men website, I did a series of The X-Men in ten seasons, where I did some exhaustive reading, some skimming, some Wikipedia-ing, and some trips to the used book store that carries comics, and put together an exhaustive timeline of how to read the X-Men using pretty much all of the trade paperbacks that were then available.
Don't do that to yourself.
In the last few months, I've read nearly 150 X-Men and X-Men adjacent books including spin-off titles such as Cable, X-Factor, X-Force, X-Man, Generation X, Rogue, Wolverine, Wolverine & Gambit...if it has been collected into trade in the last fifteen years or so, I've read it and reviewed it on Goodreads, and it made me question why I ever even liked the X-Men.
It has taken a long time to figure out a season four. I read so many books in the last couple of months that raged from terrible to absolute masochism. Part of the problem is the art direction for this time period in Marvel is atrocious. Everything is dark and muddy. In some books, particularly the X-Force run, which I've excluded completely, you often can't make out which character is which because it's SO DARK. Eventually, though I found some great stories, particularly the Peter David X-Factor run. Most of this season will center around Hope, the first baby born after the Decimation, and how her existence changes everything for the mutant future.