Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, April 25 Edition

Fence, vol. 2 by C.S. Pacat
Boom! Box
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
ISBN: 978-1684152971

In the second volume of Fence, Nicholas Cox and Seiji Katamaya continue to be rivals in their quest to become members of the King’s Row fencing team. If Nicholas fails to earn a spot of the team, he will lose his scholarship and have to leave the prestigious boys school. Nicholas is against tough odds to make the team, and Seiji is just as cold and fierce as ever, quietly dominating his competition. Volume two takes us deeper into the tournament as we see how each fencer fares.

Not only does Fence teach the reader all about fencing the sport, but is compelling in its characterization and art. The art rendered by Johanna the Mad is beautiful, realistic and modernly colored. While there are several fencers and students found in this series, it’s not difficult to tell them apart, since they all have vibrant and markedly different personalities. Fence is also well known for the diversity found within its cast including characters with dissimilar backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities.

Readers who enjoy this story may like Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Check, Please! by Ugazu Ngozi, The Backstagers by James Tynion and That Blue Sky Feeling by Okura, which all feature gay characters and engaging storylines. Can’t wait for Volume 3!

—Erin Durrett


Black Hammer, vol. 3: Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dean Ormston
Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
ISBN: 978-1506703893

When we left our aging superheros in volume 2, they had mixed feelings about their circumstances but were eager to hear what Lucy was about to reveal to them before she disappeared. Oddly enough, after Lucy’s disappearance things on the farm going are really well. It’s clear that Colonel Weird and Dragonfly are somehow involved and able to control what happens on the farm and in town. Meanwhile, Lucy seems trapped in an alternate universe and is trying to figure out how to escape it. As she makes her way back to the farm and the others, the truth of their strange circumstances is slowly revealed.

Age of Doom Part One is yet another great volume in a great series. While the first two volumes gave the reader backstory on the characters, volume 3 finally gives an explanation for the mysterious farm setting. Lemire is a master at building the strange world that our superheros inhabit. He expertly mixes classic superhero stories with science fiction and pulp comics in this series. Both the story and artwork are stellar and will leave readers anxious to find out what happens next.

Recommended for fans of the strange and wonderfully creative minds of Jeff Lemire, Tom King, and Brian K. Vaughan.

—Loren Spector

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.