Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Graphic Novels/Manga

Venom. Vol. 5, Venom Beyond
Cates, Donny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Venom Vol. 5: Venom Beyond, Eddie Brick meets a few foe, Virus!
This is the fifth volume of Venom by writer Donny Cates. After the events of
Absolute Carnage and Venom Island, Eddie Brock wants to find out more about
his son Dylan's powers, so he looks to The Maker, AKA Reed Richards from the
Ultimate Universe. But when the mysterious Virus shows up, Eddie and Dylan
fall through a portal into a new world! And on this world, there are new
enemies, such as Codex! I liked this volume, and thought the alternate world
version of Annie added some interesting ideas to the story. If you liked
Absolute Carnage and Venom Island, then there is a good chance that you might
like this volume! This collected edition collects issues #26-30 of Venom, and
the Venom story from FCBD 2020. This volume deepens the Venom lore and sets
the story up for King In Black.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
The Immortal Hulk. Vol. 5, Breaker of Worlds
Ewing, Al
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In this volume of The Immortal Hulk, the battle between the Hulk and General Forteen ends! Now that Rick Jones is back, he knows where to find Shadow Base Site B, so Jones, McGee, Red Harpy and the Hulk launch an attack! One of my favorite things about this comic was Joe Bennett's artwork. While this volume is a little creepy and violent, you'll probably enjoy this volume if you are a fan of The Immortal Hulk by All Ewing. This volume, collecting issues #21-25, concludes the first half of The Immortal Hulk.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
Snyder, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls, writer Scott Snyder crafts an interesting mystery for Batman to solve. And while Snyder's storytelling is great, so is Greg Capullo's artwork. I really enjoyed this comic, and I liked the mystery of the the Court of Owls. In the comic, Batman discovers that a mysterious organization has been ruling Gotham City from the shadows for years, and he has to take them down. This excellent Batman story introduces new characters, such as The Talon and Harper Row. One of favorite parts of this comic was that instead of just fighting criminals, Batman has to solve a mystery. The Snyder and Capullo Batman series is one of my favorites, and in my opinion, Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls is one of my favorite comics I have ever read. I think that this volume is a great start to Snyder and Capullo's run on Batman.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
Batman. Last Night On Earth
Snyder, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Batman: Last Knight on Earth is the stunning end to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic Batman run. This amazing comic ties in things from all over Snyder and Capullo's run, from The Court of Owls to Endgame to Bloom. In this story, set sometime in the future, Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham, to discover that the world has drastically changed from what he remembers. Earth is now basically an apocalyptic wasteland, and Gotham City is now being controlled by a mysterious villain called Omega... And so Bruce sets out on a journey to try to find out why the world is like this, and to take back Gotham from Omega. As a huge fan of Snyder and Capullo's run, I really enjoyed this comic. This story can function on its own, but really its the continuation, and the end, of the New 52 Batman series, and this story especially ties in things from Endgame and Superheavey. (Batman Vols. 7 &8.) Like the Court of Owls story, this comic was also a mystery story, because Batman has to gradually piece together the why the world is like this, and he also begins to discover who Omega is... Snyder and Capullo make an epic finish to their amazing run.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún, Volume 1
Nagame
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I started reading this book because I found the art style appealing. I continued reading because I found the storyline to be different and intriguing. The story features two main characters: Shiva and Teacher (Sensei). Teacher finds Shiva, a little girl, in the woods and cares for her as she waits for her auntie to return for her. The curse that Teacher suffers from is transmitted by skin contact, which prevents him from being able to touch Shiva and leads to interesting situations. Teacher must attempt to protect Shiva, both from the curse he bears and from outside forces that wish to bring her harm.

This book surprised me by creating a strong connection with the characters. It showed the reasoning behind the actions taken, but also revealed that unwise actions had negative consequences. Teacher's lies are intended to keep Shiva safe, but they endanger her more than he could have foreseen.

Teacher was relatable, to an extent, because it can seem appealing to conceal or lie about things in order to make people feel comfortable. However, when the truth gets out, it can damage relationships and endanger the person you were trying to protect.

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún Vol. 1 was one of the best books I've read all year. I would highly recommend reading it!

Reviewer's Name: Haven
Awards:
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 3
Gotouge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume 3 is a perfect introduction to the real world of the demon slayers. After Tanjiro faces off against two powerful demons, we meet Zenitsu, the second main protagonist. The lore of the demon race really starts to unfold in this volume, and seeing it be almost as fleshed out as that of the Demon Slayer Corps is very intriguing. As the exposition starts to pick up the pace towards the main plot, the action and drawing are beautiful. Again, I would recommend this volume to those continuing the series. This graphic novel is relatively light and easy to get invested in, so anyone could get into it!

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 2
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

While the first volume of this wonderful series was a straightforward backstory, volume 2 presents a glimpse at what makes Demon Slayer so entertaining. The sub-plots start being developed with Tanjiro joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Much of the main cast is introduced, and the real thrill and dangers of the series are introduced. The atmosphere of the series comes out in full force during these chapters, and as just the second volume, many events are set up perfectly. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel series to anyone continuing the series. If you are looking to get into this fantastic world, starting with the TV show or volume 1 is the way to go.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 1
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The first volume of Demon Slayer serves as a fantastic exposition to the main protagonist Kamado Tanjiro. It builds up his basic backstory and also sets the plot of the story. The art style and designs of the graphic novel are captivating and seeing some of the intricate foreshadowings during a reread is entertaining. As much as I love the series altogether, the introduction is rather basic and is not very innovative other than through its concept. Overall, I would recommend this volume to anyone looking for a new graphic novel or series to get invested in.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Middlewest, Book One
Young, Skottie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After Abel's mother left, he was forced to live alone with his toxic father. One night during a fight with his dad, Abel discovers that his father's anger issues correlate to a destructive power that he might have just inherited, so he runs away with his talking fox. The novel follows him as he travels through a dystopian land and meets many people, friends and foes, along the way. Although the story is fantastical, it explores very adult themes; Middlewest offers a raw coming of age story while diving into challenging family relations, as Abel attempts to find his own identity. This series addresses difficult problems that many people face through the lens of a magical world. Each aspect of the story is wonderfully done and cannot receive enough praise; the novel expertly tackles difficult human problems and inner turmoil. The art by Corona is also captivating and a fantastic visual of what Abel feels throughout the story. This graphic novel and the entire Middlewest series is genius and executed beautifully and should be at the top of everyone's must-read list. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Awards:
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
Paper Girls, Volume 1
Vaughan, Brian K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The first volume of Paper Girls introduces the four main characters, middle school girls in the 80s that deliver newspapers. The story begins with Erin, the new paper girl, and follows her as she meets the other three girls. After finding a mysterious capsule, they discover that the world seems to be ending when the sky changes and monsters appear in the sky. They cannot find any other person from their small town and eventually discover that many of the town's citizens simply vanished. The graphic novel follows the girls as they navigate this doomsday situation and their discourse over who they should trust. It begins in the 80s offering middle school characters reminiscent of many movies from the 80s, while setting up a mystery and the supernatural backdrop the rest of the story sets out to explore. Vaughan indicates that something large or even sinister might be behind the previous events, creating a compelling and unique mystery. Along with the incredible storytelling, the art in the novel is phenomenal, but the coloring really makes the book standout and is immensely pleasing to look at. Paper Girls is definitely one of my all time favorite series, and the first volume introduces the unique world of Paper Girls and its characters incredibly well. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
The Mighty Thor, Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins
Aaron, Jason
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mighty Thor Thunder in her Veins offers a wonderful introduction to Thor's self-titled series. The graphic novel follows Jane Foster as the all-new Thor as she battles cancer and every war in the ten realms. The novel provides a wonderful introduction to her character without succumbing to the cliché of retelling her origin story in the first issue; it successfully portrays her character to the audience while seemingly dropping them in the middle of her story. Although the story is not unique, it purposefully follows a version of a classic Thor story while being very self-aware of the connections and explicitly stating them in some instances. However, the story is now told from the point of view of Jane Foster as Thor, offering a refreshing take on the original story. The novel's magical art style and deliberate writing make it an incredible contribution to the world of Thor, and it leaves the reader invested in her compelling story. Reviewer grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
4 Kids Walk Into a Bank
Rosenberg, Matthew
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank follows a group of four middle school kids planning a bank robbery. Throughout the story the characters face the prospect that right and wrong may not be as binary as their games make them out to be. This graphic novel does the Goonies, Stand by Me, and Stranger Things middle school group trope beautifully well, with notes of comedy and friendship. Although the story maintains a dark tone, Rosenberg includes brilliant humorous moments that add levity to the story and highlight the friendship between each of the characters. The art by Tyler Boss is phenomenal, completely immersing the reader into the book and constantly leaving us in awe. Each page is a masterpiece perfectly encapsulating the tone of the book and adding to the brilliant pacing of the book. The timing of each word and picture are masterfully placed becoming almost Wes Anderson. This graphic novel has easily become my all time favorite stand alone graphic novel and gets better each time I read it.

Reviewer's Name: Julia
V for Vendetta
Moore, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

V for Vendetta follows V as he fights against an authoritarian government and trains a successor. The book questions the cost of losing art, literature, and beauty in an attempt to create complete control over society. The art adds another dimension to the story, and the colors used in V's house compared to the outside world emphasize the underlying message. V's character is captivating because he possesses such knowledge and culture yet brings destruction. This leads readers to consider the necessity of violence to preserve culture. V's mask holds similarities to Guy Fawkes', and certain actions between the two are also similar, adding historical parallels to the story. V's strong ideals and actions to back them up lead him to become the face of a revolution but at what cost?

Reviewer's Name: Mark T.
Awards:
Compass South
Larson, Hope
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Compass South is the thrilling story of Alexander (Alex) and Cleopatra (Cleo) Dodge, twins in 1850s America. With their single father missing, and no money left to live, the twins abandon their gang-ridden home in Manhattan. Cleo and Alex set out to impersonate missing boys who are heirs to a rich uncle in California. Along the way, they meet suspicious characters, new friends, and obstacles of every kind. This graphic novel is a thrilling adventure with lush artwork, a solid story, and lovable characters. Each chapter slowly unravels the journey of the Dodge twins and was good enough for me to read in a single sitting. Highly recommended to lovers of graphic novels, adventure/mystery, and Mark Twain-type stories.

Reviewer's Name: Lily
Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peter Parker is all grown up and is now a teacher. But his Spidey senses go haywire when siblings of one of his most dangerous enemy's are in town seeking revenge. The are part of a powerful race known as the Ancients. Peter is warned of an ambush by none other than the cat burglar turned good, Felicia Hardy - aka Black Cat. These beings are so powerful that Dr. Strange refuses to help him. This is the traditional Spider Man tale. Only the trial and tribulations of being a high-schooler are replaced by the trials and tribulations of adulthood.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
My Hero Academia, Vol. 1
Horikoshi, Kohei
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book takes place in a world of super-humans where people are born with unique abilities called quirks. The main protagonist in this story is Midorya Izuku, a teenage boy who looks up to a superhero named All Might. Midorya’s dream is to become a strong hero like All-Might, but he becomes discouraged when he is told it is impossible because he was born with no quirk.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
A teal background with a large yellow smiley face. the smile is filled with braces
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Smile is one of my favorite comic books. It goes through the author's struggle with her teeth after a traumatic accident while she has other struggles in her daily life such as friends, crushes, insecurities, and fake friends. Over time, she learns to accept herself and come into her own, and smile. She grew to be a confident, happy teenager. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone, and a book that I have and will read over and over again!

Reviewer's Name: Shieana H.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book Cover
Kinney, Jeff
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very relatable for pre-teens. It shows how a young boy (with a big ego) thinks he's stuck in school going nowhere. This book really focuses on all the characters. And shows how hard middle school can be. It also shows how were able to work through any of our problems. Overall it's a really great book for young minds.

Reviewer's Name: Vince D.
Book Review: Manga for the Beginner : Chibis
Hart, Christopher
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is good to start with for someone who is new at drawing anime. It gives simple step by step instructions on how to draw cute chibi characters. It helps the reader draw expressions and poses. There are also examples of how to draw chibi animals. There is also a chapter on how to draw furniture and objects. This book is easy enough for kids to follow. Chibi art is a good style for children to draw in. Kids might like this book because the characters are adorable.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.

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