Orphans, Vol. 1: The Beginning by Roberto Recchioni and Emiliano Mammucari
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
When an energy beam strikes the Earth, it kills a sixth of the world’s population. It was clearly an act of war by an alien planet. A scientist and a colonel gather together many of the surviving orphaned children to turn them into soldiers to invade the alien planet. The training is difficult and not everyone will survive, but after several years, they have created an elite force of soldiers. When they invade the planet they find a strange alien life form that has the ability to appear out of nowhere and kill without the use of weapons. The reader follows six orphans, all from Spain, as they figure out what they are dealing with and how to survive in this harsh environment, while protecting each other too. Each of the three chapters in this volume go back and forth between the original devastation of Earth, the training camp and the current invasion.
Although this graphic novel is only the beginning of the story, it will capture teens’ and adults’ attention right away. The full color artwork is crisp and clean with less dialogue than most other action comics. The military sci-fi story is reminiscent of the popular novel, Ender’s Game, mixed with video game influences. The characters are almost lovable even though most of them are killing machines. This volume definitely leaves you wanting more and very curious about what will happen next and who will survive to the end.
Fans of science fiction and/or post apocalyptic stories and movies will be hooked.
Black Panther: Long Live the King by Nnedi Okorafor
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
T’Challa is the superhero known as Black Panther, and he is also the King of Wakanda. When he isn’t saving the world with the Avengers, he must keep the peace in Wakanda, the world’s most technologically advanced nation. Sometimes that means solving mysteries and battling giant monsters. This volume picks up after a terrible flood and a failed coup to overthrow T’Challa’s family. T’Challa must figure out the cause of power outages in Wakanda and root out the giant monsters responsible. In the process he runs into old friends, but are they allies or enemies?
We see another side of T’Challa. In addition to the powerful superhero identity we also see a man struggling to be a good king and balance his people’s needs and wants. The artists give Wakanda a developed geography, filled with magic, mystery, secrets, and disagreement, using detailed backgrounds to help the reader see when T’Challa is at home and when he is traveling. This is an exciting adventure with action, a simple mystery, and a satisfying solution. Easy to pick up for fans of the Black Panther movie, who haven’t read the previous comics.
Royal City, Vol. 2: Sonic Youth by Jeff Lemire
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
In volume one, the story of the Pike family is set up with older brother Patrick Pike returning to his childhood home in the wake of his father’s stroke. Coming home stirs up memories of the drowning death of his younger brother Tommy, whose ghost still haunts the families’ lives. In this second installment of Royal City, the reader is taken back to the year 1993, where we follow the then-teenaged Pike siblings and see the the last week of Tommy Pike’s life. The past is brought to life through the memories of the remaining siblings; the music, the drugs and the pains of youth.
The awkwardness of being a teen is so achingly on display in this volume, and the use of a limited pallet and signature drawing style help to heighten the emotions.The inclusion of hand written diary pages, and the relationships among the siblings made me question if I was reading a work of fiction. The truth of Lemire’s writing really hits home, and makes this a very relateable read. Give to teens who are fans of Lemires other works such as Sweet Tooth and comics with a retro vibe like Paper Girls.