Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Graphic Novels/Manga

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.
Black Butler, vol. 3
Toboso, Yana
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Black Butler is about a 13 year old boy who makes a deal to give his soul to a mysterious demon butler named Sebastion. Black Butler takes place in Victornian- Era London. The main protagonist Ciel is born into the wealthy Phantomhive family. He loses his family when his house is allegedly set on fire and he is kidnapped. When Ciel meets a demon named Sebastion, he agrees to make a deal to give Sebastion his soul when he dies, and in return, Sebastion will protect him. Ciel lives with Sebastion as his demon butler as a servant to protect him and one day have revenge for his family.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Sonic/Mega-Man: World's Collide
Sonic/Mega man scribes
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the first part of a twelve part series. It’s a story that combines two video game characters: Sonic and Megaman. It compares the similarities and differences between Sonic and Mega Man. The art style is detailed and nice. Each panel has a lot of detail and expression. It’s very consistent. It is interesting to see both Mega man and Sonic’s worlds put into one book. There is a lot of action and humor. This book would be good for audiences of all ages to read.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Naruto, Vol. 53, The Birth of Naruto
Kishimoto, Masashi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Volume 53 of Naruto stands out from a lot of other volumes. This book gives the reader a backstory of how the main protagonist Naruto, a strong ninja from the Hidden Leaf Village grew up, and where he came from. This book shows the reader details about Naruto’s past. This book has great and detailed illustrations that show the reader a lot of expressions. The art helps the reader understand how the characters feel and relate to them.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 Graphic Novel
Isayama, Hajime
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Attack On Titan is about how a boy’s life changes when he loses his family to titans. The main protagonist is a 15-year-old named Eren Yeager who lives with his sister and parents until one day, his village is destroyed by giants called titans. After Eren’s mother is eaten by a titan, Eren decides to avenge her death and become strong enough to kill titans. This book is awesome because of the illustrations and interesting stories.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Bleach, Vol 2
Kubo, Tite
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the second Bleach manga book Ichigo and Rukia search for Chad. They encounter a hollow that killed a boys parents and the boy was stuck in a parrots body and told that his mother could come back to life. Afterwards Rukia gives Ichigo a soul candy which allows him out of his body without Rukia having to be there. The soul candy goes rogue and steals Ichigo's body. They have to hunt down his body and they make friends with him and put him in a stuffed animal.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
Sidekicked
Anderson, John David
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Andrew Bean is a normal kid on the outside but on the inside he is the Sensationalist, a sidekick with super senses. Andrew joins a superhero organization called H.E.R.O this affiliation trains people with superpowers so they can be sidekicks for superheros and someday supers themselves. His hero, The Titan used to be the best (and coolest) superhero but after an unfortunate accident while fighting a notorious criminal called The Dealer he disappeared. This left the sensationalist with no hero to help him when he needs it most especially when the Dealer returns seeking revenge on The Titan. In the middle of this all he still has to be careful not to blow his cover, even to his parents.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
The Marvels
Selznick, Brian
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book begins on a ship at sea with a boy named Billy Marvel. He survives a terrible shipwreck and later finds work in a London theatre. There his family lives for generations as brilliant actors--some who are the best kind of people, some who are awful people. All of the family are actors and love the stage and spotlight until young Leontes Marvel. He hates acting, misses his cues, and can’t remember his lines. His parents are ashamed and banish him from the stage. He decides that his destiny lies somewhere else so he runs away.

A century later, Joseph Jervis, another runaway, finds a place to stay with an uncle in London. Grumpy Uncle Albert and his strange but beautiful house lure Joseph on a search for clues. He begins to think that he might be related to the Marvels and begins an incredible adventure to find out who he truly is.

I really enjoyed this book. During the mystery, I felt like I was right alongside Joseph as he found clues to his mysterious past. I am happy that I figured out the mystery before Joseph did. The story had a very sad ending, but overall stayed pretty bright. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Brian Selznik’s other books, mysteries, or heartfelt books.

Reviewer's Name: Ben C

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