BookBin2011: Raise the Roof

Bit of a nostalgia break this time, denizens. I read Coach Pat Summitt’s book, Raise the Roof, back around when it was first published. I was a student at the University of Maryland at the time, which meant that my transformation into the anti-sports crusader I am today was nearly complete (nothing will turn you against sports, especially college sports, quite like watching the free rides and preferential treatment the athletes receive from some colleges while you struggle to hold onto academic-based grants barely large enough to cover each semester’s book fees).

Still, there was something about Coach Summitt and her Lady Vols that kept me hanging on just a little while longer. I already knew Summitt’s style was anything but the “free ride” variety (one of the many reasons why I continue to respect her). She demands excellence from her players both on the court and in the classroom. You play for Summitt, you go to every class, you sit in the first three rows, you earn high grades, you graduate. Period. I’d seen the HBO documentary, A Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back, which followed the UT team through a record-setting low season that ended with them pulling out of their nose dive in time to clinch a second NCAA championship win in a row. Some might think a win is a win is a win. Not Coach Summitt. She refused to have that year’s 29-10 record engraved on their championship rings.

And then the 97-98 season began. Win. Win. Win. Win.

Win.

All the way to very last championship game.

Nothing. But. Win.

You bet your ass Coach Summitt had that record engraved on her team’s rings. Third NCAA championship win in a row, this time with a perfect 39-0 record, with the point differential between teams averaging 30 points in favor of UT. This was one of the finest seasons ever played by an NCAA team, all done with determination, strength, finesse, fire, and quite possibly one of the greatest line-up of players that has ever been brought together to play the game.

Raise the Roof is their story.

Summitt’s Lady Vols that season consisted of only one senior, Laurie Mulligan. The rest were juniors, sophomores, and four of the most audacious freshmen imaginable: Tamika Catchings, Kristen, “Ace” Clement, Teresa “Tree” Geter, and Semeka Randall. Not to be outdone by this foursome, Summitt also had in her pocket two powerhouse juniors: Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly.

Holdsclaw will go down in the history books as one of the greatest basketball players to ever run the boards. She is the fifth highest scoring player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball, a first-round pick for the Washington Mystics upon her graduation from UT, and an Olympic gold medalist.

Jolly (now Kellie Harper) spent a year with the Cleveland Rockers right after her graduation and is now the head coach of the N.C. State Lady Wolfpack, obviously a Loba-approved team.

In Raise the Roof, Summitt tells the story of this team’s season-long coalescence, which began even before practices did, during an impromptu pick-up game upon the freshmen’s arrival on campus. I don’t read a lot of sports-related books for obvious reasons, so I don’t have a frame of comparison for this book. I can tell you, however, that Summitt and sports writer Sally Jenkins came together to tell an amazing story. They showcase both the frenetic energy of this team as well as the poetry and passion of the games being described.

I’ve always thought that a top-notch squad of players can rival the beauty and choreography of a ballet when they’re out there on the floor. Summitt and Jenkins capture this essence perfectly, along with insightful character profiles for each of the players and the struggles and successes that brought them together for this perfect team and this perfect season.

Even if you aren’t a sports fan, there is something so inspiring about these hard-scrabble young women and the iron-willed coach who led them to record-breaking victory. Plus, Summitt and Jenkins combined their skills to tell a captivating and eloquent tale that even the sports-disinterested might find enjoyable. I remember loving this book the first time I read it, and I might have loved it even more this time. Don’t think this means I’m going to start watching sports. But even I can recognize that sometimes, some teams transcend the boundaries of all that is negative about sports and elevate themselves to a positive playing level all their own.

Final Verdict: I’m so glad that I’ve finally added this book to my library. I’m just sorry that it was Summitt’s recent upsetting health news that reminded me that it was still missing. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I also recently added Summitt’s book Reach for the Summit to my library as well. I thought that I had read this one, too, around the time I first read Raise the Roof. I was wrong. I’m currently rectifying that. You have been warned…

BookBin2011: SexyChix

I actually finished this comic anthology a little while ago. Is it a reflection of my opinion of this collection that it then completely fell off my reviewing radar?

Yes.

True, I did get a bit…excited by the arrival of my last BookBin entry and pretty much everything else fell off my radar. But, seriously, can you blame me? I thought not.

Anyway, it wasn’t until I saw SexyChix sitting atop a pile of books that were waiting for me to either find space for them on my shelves or to donate them that I remembered, hey! I read that! Can I remember anything else about it?

Kinda sorta. I do remember a few high points. I also remember a few WTF points. However, there is a desert of meh resting between those two summits of emotional response that is probably more damning than anything else.

It’s a shame, really. First, this was the other purchase I made from that really groovy used book store we found while in Toronto, so technically I could claim to have traveled a great distance for this collection. Second, I like being supportive of my gender, especially when I’m supporting the activities of said gender in a forum that is typically male-dominated (such as the comics industry).

That being said, “supporting my gender” cannot be the only thing going in favor of any product. I feel, however, that that’s really the only thing that’s even remotely consistent about this collection. It’s also the major thing making me feel slightly guilty about giving it such an unsupportive review.

Then again, I pride myself in being an equal opportunity whiny hater.

SexyChix is an unfocused mash-up of styles, stories, and skills, the end result of which is discordant and disappointing. Were these short stories only, perhaps the range of plots and topics wouldn’t be so jarring. However, the wildly divergent artistic approaches and talents create a constant visual reminder that this is not a cohesive collection at all. It’s the literary equivalent of a dogsled team in which there are a few very strong, very fast dogs pulling along several dead dogs.

Yeah, I went for the disturbing visual just then. Is it any wonder I hate the Iditarod?

As I said earlier, there were a few bright spots, whether they were for exemplary writing or entrancing artwork. Are these enough to convince me to hang on to this collection?

I want to say yes. I really, really do.

But I can’t.

Final Verdict: Be gone to disappoint someone else.

BookBin2011: Pleasure Thresholds

It’s quite befitting and not the least bit serendipitous that Patricia Tallman’s book, Pleasure Thresholds, begins with an introduction by J. Michael Straczynski, in which he explains how he first fell in love with Tallman through her performance in the 1990 remake of the Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. Why, you might ask? Because that’s precisely when I fell in love with Tallman, too.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating here: I love stuntwomen. Love them. They are fearless. They are tough as nails. They get out there and do stunts that are just as difficult if not more so than the ones the guys are doing…and they do them oftentimes in the bare minimum amount of clothing, which means bare minimum amount of padding and protection.

Tough. As. Nails.

And who started this obsession of mine? Patricia Tallman. Long before I knew the name Zoë Bell or Jeannie Epper, I knew Tallman. Not only was she this amazingly bad ass and ultimately unsettling character from a horror movie that I loved, she was also popping up on the biggest geek love of my adolescence: Star Trek.

Seriously, it was like my own strange version of “Where’s Waldo?” as I tried to spot Tallman’s random appearances, first on TNG and then on DS9. Every time I spotted her, I adored her that much more. When I later learned that she was the stunt double for three of my favorite characters from TNG and DS9, her awesomeness was pretty much set for life in my eyes. No surprise, then, that I jumped at the chance to buy her book as soon as I learned about it.

First things first: Yes, Pleasure Thresholds is a bit pricey. However, I believe there are acceptable reasons for this. In addition to getting this amazing 350+ page book (autographed by both Tallman and Straczynski) that’s packed with never-before-published photos from Tallman’s personal collection, you also get a CD-ROM of videos and MP3s made especially for this “multimedia memoir.” The MP3s feature Tallman and Straczynski dishing on Babylon 5 in unedited, uncensored ways. The videos are short but very enjoyable and may or may not feature props, lingerie, and chickens. But that’s all that I’m saying. Finally, this is being printed/produced through Café Press, which means it’s being printed in small batches as orders come in. Specialized print runs like this notoriously cost more (I’ve experienced this particular phenomenon many times in my Mirror Universe work life).

So there you go. Yes, Pleasure Thresholds is a bit costly. Is it worth its higher price? I give you an undeniable, unequivocal hells yes.

This book is the printed equivalent of getting a personal audience with Tallman as she shares her photos and stories with you, while at the same time revealing parts of herself in honest, hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking ways. She is both an engaging (and delightfully bawdy) storyteller and a passionate shutterbug. There are so many amazing photographs throughout this book—page after page of images spanning the impressive length of her career as both stuntwoman and actress. I have several favorites, including one of an airborne Tallman dressed in period costume and wielding a rapier. The expression on her face is one of such pure, unfettered joy that I can’t help but fall that much more in love with her every time I look at this photo.

Then there are the photos and stories from her time as the telepath Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5. This is the heart of the book, which makes sense. The title is from a B5 quote, and the subtitle is “Patricia Tallman’s Babylon 5 Memoir.”

[Loba Tangent: Okay, here’s the point where I reveal a dark secret regarding my standing as a geek: I’ve never watched Babylon 5. I know, I know! I was all set to watch after learning that Tallman was finally getting a shot at her own role on a sci-fi show, and then something happened and the first season started and…no Tallman. WTF? In protest, I never tuned in. And then, when she did finally reappear, I was off doing the college thing and not really even spending all that much time with my beloved Trek shows, so B5 never got the chance to resurface on my radar. After reading this book, I now understand what happened and why Tallman wasn’t there for the first season. I am properly appeased and B5 is now loaded up toward the top of my Netflix queue. See? Another reason why this book is awesome: It may yet convert me to a B5 fan.]

Aside from the pictures and anecdotes, Tallman provides a first-person peek behind the scenes of what it’s like to play the Hollywood game. There are certain assumptions that we all make regarding the life of an actor, and most of the time those assumptions are based on the lives led by the likes of the Clooneys, the Pitts, the Jolies. This is not the life led by all in the acting profession. Tallman shares aspects of her own personal journey, which I found both intriguing and enlightening (not to mention frustrating; it definitely takes a spirit of a particularly resilient fortitude to enter the acting arena).

So, there you go: My admittedly not completely objective but honest review of Pleasure Thresholds. If you are a fan of the genres from which Tallman has rightfully earned both ubiquity and respect, then this collection will undoubtedly have something to offer you. If anything, the story of “Lyta’s Lingerie” is worth the price of admission all on its own. But, again, that’s all I’m saying about that.

One final thing: Even if you don’t decide to buy your own copy of Pleasure Thresholds, why not swing over to Penny Lane, a California-based organization that provides an array of support services for abused children, and make a donation. Tallman has supported the efforts of this organization for years. It wouldn’t hurt to do the same; the karma points alone will make it worth it.

Final Verdict: When I’m finally finished thumbing through this many more times, Pleasure Thresholds shall find its new home among the myriad books of geek awesome that I already own.

BookBin2011: Seven of Nine

“Best laid plans” entry here. While perusing Trek books on Amazon.com a while ago, I discovered that there was a Voyager book, written by Christie Golden, all about Seven of Nine. It was called…Seven of Nine. Based on the creative title alone, who wouldn’t want to buy a copy of this book, right?

Yeah, okay, I’m being unduly snarky and I’m barely into this review. Bet you can tell how this is going to turn out, right?

Anyway, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Seven of Nine book on my shelf, right next to that novel all about Captain Janeway? Janeway and Seven, together again.

It would be nice. But it ain’t happening with this book.

I’m beginning to get a little bit frustrated with Trek novels in general. Minus the joy that the DS9 Season 8 books have brought me, I haven’t really loved any of the Trek books I’ve read in a long time. Even Mosaic was barely a notch above meh, which either means that my tolerance for Trek cheese is diminishing or the books are declining in quality (I suspect it’s a little bit of both, with possibly a smidgen more of the latter…I still loves me some cheese).

I’d say this particular novel is noteworthy only for the fact that it’s a discordant amalgamation of several different Trek plot lines, stuck together with duct tape, chewed gum, and kite string. Just off the top of my head, I’d say that this had aspects of “Violations,” “The Raven,” “Infinite Regress,” “Hard Time,” “Ex Post Facto,” “Phantasms,” and “The Survivors.” Plus, bits and bobs from pretty much every major Seven of Nine-specific Voyager episode made up to the point of this book’s writing.

Additionally, I’ve read so much Voyager fanfiction (there’s a confession for you all) that most of the time I was reading this book I was thinking: A) Most of the fanfic I’ve read was better written; and B) Why aren’t the characters in this story behaving the way they do in the fanfic I like? Because, honestly? I think most of the fanfic writers have a better understanding of the Voyager crew than Golden seems to have.

But maybe that’s just me.

Whatever the reasons, I simply didn’t like this book. Didn’t like the plot. Didn’t like the character depictions. Didn’t like. Period.

Final Verdict: Alas, poor Captain Janeway will have to remain by herself on my virtually Voyager-free bookshelf for a bit longer. This book shall not pass.

BookBin2011: CSI: Serial

So remember when I was in Toronto a few weeks ago and we met up with a bunch of my groovy ImagiFriendsTM to go to this used book store that specializes in geeky books?

Yeah, so while I was there, I stumbled upon their graphic novel section, which was kind of small but still decent. And what, dear denizens, should I find but a CSI graphic novel! After quickly perusing it, I realized that it wasn’t one of the collections that I’d seen before, which, to be brutally honest, had some of the most horrifying and amateurish artwork I think I’ve ever seen in a comic book. I need to figure out which collection that was, because I don’t want to have anything to do with it or the artist behind it.

CSI: Serial, however, was drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez, with flashback and “speculation” (think those moments on the show where the CSIs speculate about what they think might have happened based on evidence they’ve just collected or testimony they’ve just heard) artwork done by Ashley Wood. I have to say, this was one of my favorite aspects of the art in this collection: the delineation of styles, with the main story presented in more traditional comic line art and the flashbacks and speculation moments done in rough, abstract watercolors. I also liked how the lettering was done in the flashback sections, with the text captured in boxes that looked like little manila folders. The extra-nice touch? Each CSI had a different “tabbed manila folder” design for their dialogue during these abstract sections. For example, Grissom would have a folder with a green tab all the way to the left of the box, while Sara would have a folder with a red centered tab. Subtle, clever way to help us keep track of who was providing the exposition.

As for the main artwork, Rodriguez did a laudable job of bringing our favorite band of Vegas investigators into the two-dimensional comic book world. They were passable but not precise duplications; there was always something just a little off about each of the comic depictions. I think it might have been that all their heads were slightly too big for their bodies. Made them all look a bit like bobble heads. However, with the exception of his depiction of Greg (which looked nothing like Eric Szmanda), Rodriguez’s renderings were easily identifiable, including those of secondary and even tertiary CSI characters. Plus, I finally discovered the origin and meaning of this panel, which I found a while ago and has made me laugh every time I’ve looked at it:

Image courtesy of Jorja Fox: Online

Yes, I really am that juvenile. You have to admit, though, out of context? You know you laughed, too. Nice eyebrow arch, though, right? Right.

So what about the actual story behind CSI: Serial? Written by Max Allan Collins (who is probably best known for: A) his graphic novel The Road to Perdition; and B) looking like an Elton John clone), the primary case is all about a Jack the Ripper copycat killer, with a secondary case that’s not terribly difficult to figure out but was run by Sara and Nick, which is a pairing that we don’t see that often on the show anymore. It’s admittedly not the most original or creative storytelling for the very first CSI comic arc, but I will say this in this collection’s favor: A lot of times when production companies decide that they want to saturate the market with as much merchandise as they possibly can pertaining to their show, in an attempt to ride the coattails of popularity for as long as they can, what you often get is something rushed and inferior. With Serial, IDW Publishing gave CSI fans a solidly drawn comic with a story that, while not earth-shaking in originality, is thoughtfully crafted, well-written, and an enjoyable ride.

Final Verdict: Not only am I keeping this collection, I’ve done a little research and discovered that Collins, Rodriguez, and Wood teamed up for several other collections, which are supposedly superior in story and presentation to this one. I perhaps may have sought some of these out for further investigation. Analysis may soon be forthcoming.

BookBin2011: The Man Who Fell to Earth

I almost feel as though I need to apologize for having never read this science fiction classic before now. Tangentially, I also feel as though I should apologize for having never seen the David Bowie movie either, especially now after having read the book and realizing that of the few people who could plausibly play the eponymous character, “back in the day” skinny androgynous Bowie would be at the top of that list.

I do intend to rectify the movie issue soon, and I’m quite pleased that I have now rectified the literary side of this sci-fi faux pas of mine. Walter Tevis’s novel is, quite simply, marvelous. Rather than being all about the ‘splosions and space battles, The Man Who Fell to Earth is instead a quiet treatise on the more sociological/philosophical/political aspects of the genre. The story focuses on the arrival, survival, integration, and subsequent discovery of “Thomas Jerome Newton,” an Anthean sent to Earth as a savior for his nearly extinct people.

The story as it flows from Tevis’s imagination is provocative and introspective, composed of poetry and perfect prose. If you find traditional science fiction to be intimidating, you might want to give this story a try. This could very well be the gateway drug that will pull you into the genre.

Also, for a book originally published in 1963 (there have been minor updates to the text since then), this story never feels outdated. To the contrary, it almost completely transcends the shackles of age that so many “futuristic” novels cannot escape. Admittedly, there are some gadgets and gizmos that come across as charming and quaint. Some, however, are quite prescient.

Final Verdict: I do believe that The Man Who Fell to Earth will be falling into my collection at some point soon.

BookBin2011: Poe: A Life Cut Short (Ackroyd’s Brief Lives)

This one will be…brief. Heh.

I’ve already read one book this year that could be partially categorized as a biography of Edgar Allan Poe. However, when I saw Peter Ackroyd’s rather diminutive biography on one of my favorite authors, tucked away on a shelf at the library, I decided in that instant that I needed to read yet another one.

Admittedly, I didn’t really learn much from Ackroyd’s telling of Poe’s upsetting life and death. And it is upsetting. Just like so many of his macabre tales, his was a tortured soul. Some of it was external, but much of his torment sprang from demons of an internal sickness that raged within him until the very end.

If you’ve never read a biography on Mr. Poe, then I would highly recommend this one. It’s a bit more thorough than my previous Poe-related read this year (although that one is holistically more interesting) and it never does Poe the dishonor of sugar-coating any aspect of his life. However, if you have read anything on Poe, you, too, might find this to be simply an exercise in revisiting already known information in a well-researched and well-written way.

Final Verdict: It was an interesting refresher course on Poe’s life that I will now gladly return to the library.

BookBin2011: Eternals

So when you’re lucky enough to find not just one but two graphic novels written by Neil Gaiman at the local library, you take that as a sign. A sign that you’re meant to read both, even though one of them is for a comic book with which you are admittedly completely unfamiliar.

Best way to learn is to dive in, right?

Thus it was when I found Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? nestled on a shelf right next to another Gaiman story entitled Eternals. A quick perusal of the cover jacket let me know that this Marvel title belonged to a story originally begun by Jack Kirby back in 1976. However, additional reading has led me to believe that the origins of the Eternals crosses a bit more time…and another big name comic publisher.

Whatever convolutions of concept and creation existed for these Eternal guardians of humanity, I figured that if they’d been around as long as me, and Marvel felt they were important enough not only to revive but to task a writer as skilled as Neil Gaiman with breathing life back into their story…well, then they must be worth a bit of my time.

Plus, I was pleased to see John Romita, Jr., linked with this project, providing the artistic interpretations for Gaiman’s story. He’s perhaps best known for being the artist behind Kick-Ass. Here, he provides solid old-school comic artistry. Nothing exceptionally fancy, but a solid four-color world for our heroes to plunder and save in true comic form.

I wish I could rave about this novel the way I did about Gaiman’s Batman tales. However, there was something off about this series of comics that never captivated me the way Gaiman’s Dark Knight did. I don’t fault Gaiman for this. Sometimes, I simply don’t like a story or character concept. I think that was the case here. Nothing about the story of the Eternals captured me and made me either care about them or want to continue reading their story.

Really, I found myself simply finishing the book because Hurricane Irene was battering us left, right, and center, and I figured that was as good an excuse as any to read something. Unfortunately, I was about as apathetic about finishing Eternals as I am about writing about it now.

Final Verdict: Back to the library go the Eternals. Perhaps someone else will find their tale a bit more captivating than I did.

BookBin2011: Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

I’m in the process of reading another book, but I also picked up a small stack of graphic novels during my last trip to the library (I can’t not get books when I’m in a library, denizens…I’m just too weak), and they’ve been taunting me with their colorful goodness ever since.

Especially this particular collection. Anyone who has been following my reading exploits here at the lair knows that I do loves me some Neil Gaiman. Even when I’m less than impressed by one of his offerings, I still find something enjoyable to his skills as a writer.

So finding out that he had penned a two-part comic for Batman in the vein of Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel? was quite a delightful discovery. Even though I was less than enamored of Moore’s take on Superman’s fate, I liked the concept of giving an “end” to an unending character.

[Loba Tangent: Does that make sense? If you’re a comic book fan, I suppose it does. Because comic nerds and Trekkies both know: No one ever really dies in these universes. They just come back as blonde Romulans.]

Gaiman, however, has written an amazing two-part tale for the Caped Crusader, a beautiful take on the eternal recurrence of the Batman mythos. It’s so perfectly penned, this fever-induced dream scape in which Batman’s demise is retold in myriad ways from myriad sources, each one subjective and surprisingly sentimental. Alfred’s story is particularly poignant and gives a view of the Caped Crusader that is heart-rending and bittersweet. And the ending? Pitch perfect, IMHO.

This collection is rounded out with three other Gaiman-penned tales, including one that is a delightfully meta take on the comic book character existence being similar to that of actors on set filming scenes for a movie. The interaction between Batman and the Joker is delicious and the rather abstract artwork adds to the surrealism of the story. The final two tales focus on Poison Ivy and the Riddler and are relatively Batman-free minus flashback appearances. Both are yet more exceptional storytelling from Gaiman, presented from his rather unique perspective on the inhabitants of Batman’s beloved Gotham.

The artist for this collection was Andy Kubert, who has worked on major titles for both Marvel and DC, with inking by Scott Williams and coloring by Alex Sinclair. It’s difficult to truly judge Kubert’s artistic style here, because Gaiman asked him to base his drawings on the artistic styles of past Batman artists like Jerry Robinson, Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams, and Batman’s creator Bob Kane. As a mimic of these other styles, Kubert does an admirable job. However, I think that I was less than impressed by the overall impact because I am still reeling from the incomparable beauty of Blacksad.

I know, it’s not fair at all to compare these two graphic novels…but, seriously, denizens? Blacksad is GORGEOUS. Anything that follows it is going to be like being the kid who has to follow the honor roll student who built a working scale replica of the planets’ trajectories around the sun…and all you have is a papier-mâché volcano and some baking soda and vinegar.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Final Verdict: Even with my unfair comparison of this collection’s artwork to Blacksad, it’s still a well drawn collection. And Gaiman’s writing carries this book over the end zone for a solid spike and a groovy touchdown dance. Yet another one for the ole wish list.

BookBin2011: Blacksad

Palate-cleansing time, denizens. I needed something a little less dense to recuperate from the exhaustion of slogging through my last BookBin read. So while at our local library this past weekend (where I was ironically looking for The Girl Who Played With Fire), I strolled over to the graphic novel section.

[Loba Tangent: I’d like to point out that our library has set up a corner designed as though they knew one day I would walk through their doors: graphic novels, right next to science fiction, right next to horror. I could kiss those crazy, prescient librarians.]

I noticed a couple of new titles since my last visit, including an oversized book with a bizarre name and a gorgeous and confusing cover. Plus, the font choices and placement screamed homage to 40s-era noir film posters, which also intrigued me, especially when combined with the anthropomorphic punim glaring at me through the ciggie smoke.

Blacksad was a remarkable find, denizens, and one we can thank Dark Horse Comics for bringing to the U.S. market. It took a while for these comics to be translated from their original Spanish into English; in fact, the third offering in this collection had never appeared in translated form until this compendium. But I can assure you, it was worth the wait.

Author Juan Diaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido combined efforts to bring to the page a gloriously gritty send-up to classic noir tropes of a bygone era…with an animalistic twist. All of the characters, including P.I. John Blacksad, are animals: cats, dogs, polar bears, deer, magpies, horses…all drawn in ways that are eerily human. At times the quality of expression and movement is disconcerting, but the overall effect is stunningly satisfying.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s worth it to pick up a copy of Blacksad solely for Guarnido’s artwork, full of enough detail to ground it in the reality of its chosen time frame, but presented in these rich watercolor diasporas that give each tableau a hauntingly memorable quality.

Final Verdict: High-quality hard-cover collection of fast-paced, well-written stories presented through some of the most gorgeous, gritty illustrations I’ve ever seen in comic book form? Definitely at the top of my wish list for ASAP addition to my library.