Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Faith: Dreamside by Jody Houser
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Faith Herbert is dealing with a massive problem; her superhero alter ego, Zepher, has wrongfully been accused of murder. Falling into her alias as Summer Smith, she hides at her newspaper job and tries to keep a low profile. Then Monica Jim (AKA Animalia) comes to Faith for help. She has ghosts not only haunting her but bound and determined to take her to the Deathside plane of existence. Once Monica is captured, Faith enlists the assistance of paranormal scientist Doctor Mirage to bring Monica back from the Deathside.
Readers of past Faith graphic novels will be pleasantly surprised by this volume’s surplus of teen appeal, with the main character alongside Faith, being a teenager herself. The story will also entertain those who enjoy creepy ghosts and darkish undertones. Think Poltergeist. The art in Faith is always well done and it’s no different in this volume. Best of all is a plus-size superhero series that gives no credence to issues about Faith’s size; the series never mentions it, making it a non-issue, and making superheroes of all sizes and shapes commonplace.
If you are interested in graphic novels with lesser-known but equally awesome female superheroes you should try Shuri by Nnedi Okorafor about the powerful and hyper-intelligent sister of Black Panther, and Spider-Gwen Ghost-Spider by Seanan McGuire, about the female version of Spider-man created through the multiverse.
Outpost Zero Volume 2: Follow It Down by Sean Kelly McKeever
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Outpost Zero is working hard to remove all of the ice pressing in on its structure after a devastating storm hit the colony. While Alea’s parents work on the discovery team to save the post, Alea is working with Ben to find out what Steven discovered before he left the outpost. Once the post is saved from the icy cave in, the discovery team is disbanded, making it more difficult for Alea to sneak around and look for answers. Alea decides to confide in Lyss, her and Steven’s friend that is also looking for answers. When Ben, Alea, and Lyss go beneath the surface of the Outpost they discover more mysteries buried there.
Outpost Zero continues to be excellent as a sci-fi story full of mysteries. When one mystery is revealed, two more pop up in its place. There is tension between the different characters, especially regarding the future of the outpost, which helps drive the story, as well as a need to solve more of the outpost’s secrets. The art style and coloring are dark and dramatic providing the story with the perfect tone. Each volume keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.
Readers who enjoy this series should try similar science-fiction graphic novels like Skyward by Joe Henderson, which blends mystery and sci-fi in this adventurous futuristic series, and On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, a sweeping space story combined with romance.
X-23 v. 1: Family Album by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Marcio Fiorito, and Georges Duarte
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Laura Kinney’s family history is complicated. Created by a geneticist to be invulnerable and raised as a lab experiment, she has no family except for the “sisters” cloned from her DNA. Most were killed in various battles, leaving Laura with just her teenage sister, Gabby, as her only remaining family. When Gabby is kidnapped by the Cuckoos, three sisters who are clones of Emma Frost, Laura will do whatever it takes to get her back, even if it means turning other sisters against each other.
In this first volume of a new X-23 series, Tamaki excellently portrays Laura’s emotional scars from her traumatic and loveless upbringing. Despite the horrors, she has lived through, having Gabby to care for gives her the humanity, love, and vulnerability she feels she otherwise lacks. A fun and compelling read for both readers new to X-23 and long-time fans, this new volume explores the lengths a person will go to for those they love and the dangers of science when innovation and power override morality and empathy. Cabal’s artwork perfectly captures the softer and more humorous moments of Laura and Gabby’s relationship as well as the horrors that result from unfettered scientific ambition.
Hand to readers who enjoy fun superhero stories of created families, such as Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan (and continued by Rainbow Rowell) and The Unstoppable Wasp by Jeremy Whitley.