GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS | intergenerational trauma, harley quinn & a space adventure

Hey everyone!

I read some more graphic novels so you know what this means…

mini-reviews ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ

๐Ÿ„ Graphic Novel Reviews | the first five
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the ouside circle

The Outside Circle by Patti Laboucane-Benson & Kelly Mellings

PREMISE: Two Aboriginal brothers — both gang members — surrounded by poverty and drug abuse, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

THOUGHTS: A meaningful story that focuses on intergenerational trauma among Native Americans with attention to detail and emphasis on emotional healing. This is definitely a powerful story and one I truly believe everyone will benefit from reading. It took 10 years to make, and you can tell. You see characters make bad decisions and, more importantly, come back from them. I loved how this story emphasised the importance of understanding why people make the choices they do and rehabilitation.

It also touched on the brother’s relationships, Indigenous history in particular residential schools in Canada, what their community means and the significance of forgiveness. I cannot detail enough how intricate and well-established this graphic novel was. It can be a hard read, but an important one.

ART STYLE: The art was had predominantly earthy/red tones and a very comic-esque style. Through the way the people and the text boxes were drawn. It was definitely a meaty graphic novel with lots of text and images that enhanced the story. Honestly, it was very well put together, and the level of details was a lot. You could scan the page for a while to soak every detail in. I loved how all the panels flowed together to show the big picture the novel was aiming for.

Would I recommend it? YES.

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Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

PREMISE: Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur patissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge.

THOUGHTS: This graphic novel wasn’t what I expected. The protagonist was unconventional in the best way and it felt younger than I predicted but not in a bad way, just more fun. The humour was by far the strength of this story. I loved the almost goofy college feel of it. Especially all the hockey talk and how it went outside the story to explain hockey terminology. It was wonderfully ‘extra’. Plus, all the baking jokes, A*!!

Sadly, I felt like the overall romance was lacking for me. It just didn’t feel overly believable in terms of development. Still, I appreciated moments of the relationship and enjoyed how much-lighthearted fun was included in the romance. I admired the positive and healthy relationship portrayed, even if I wasn’t personally invested in them. I would definitely suggest this comic if you are looking for a happy, heartwarming read. Whilst certain things fell short for me, the story itself was still easy to enjoy.

ART STYLE: I enjoyed the art style. It had a classic comic look through the speech bubbles and cartoon facial expressions, and I loved that aspect. Plus, it was so colourful. I couldn’t tell you the age of some of the characters, but nonetheless very cool. I also loved how it was set out… the use of empty spaces and the overall style of boxes. It made the content easy to engage with.

Would I recommend it? I would, but not in an overly enthusiastic way. However, I know others would love it more than me.

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Harleen by Stjepan ล ejiฤ‡

PREMISE: A young psychiatrist with a potential cure for the madness that haunts Gotham City, Dr Harleen Quinzel must prove her revolutionary theory to a sceptical establishment by delving into the disturbed minds of Arkham Asylum’s deadliest inmates.

THOUGHTS: I knew Harley Quinn from the DC movies. Often as the comic relief or extreme character. I liked the energy she added to the screen, but I still am pleased to say this provided a completely different side to Harley Quinn. It’s Dr Harleen Quinzel. Her origin story. It is a very emotional, complex journey.

Seeing the movies, I was familiar with her origin story so reading this graphic novel was about adding the right layers. It did it really well. It was not a linear journey. You see each step and reaction which takes Harleen to where she ends up. I am so glad it was full of emotion. It needed to be. Also, it wasn’t romanticised. I felt like it ensured the toxicity of her relationship with Joker was shown. Again this was full of complexities which made it feel real. It was everything I wanted from this story.

ART STYLE: I adored the art style so much. Literally, every panel felt like a piece of art you could frame. It was creative as well, which I loved. Using imagery, symbolism, and foreshadowing to create a beautiful, bold graphic novel. Honestly, it was incredibly stunning and detail-orientated.

Would I recommend it? Yeah, even if you didn’t like Harley Quinn in the movies.

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On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

PREMISE: A crew rebuilds beautiful and broken-down structures in deep space, painstakingly putting the past together. As new member Mia gets to know her team, the story flashes back to boarding school, where she fell in love with a mysterious student. Soon, though, Mia reveals her true purpose for joining their shipโ€”to track down her long-lost love.

THOUGHTS: A sci-fi graphic novel that was easy to access, with straightforward rules and a great creative side. This story follows Mia searching for her girlfriend throughout outer space. It includes two timelinesโ€ฆ (1) meeting each other at school and (2) starting her search for her girlfriend via a new crew. The first half of the novel was pretty much just building up this premise, but seeing as it was stated in the synopsis, I thought it was a bit of a long-winded approach. Thankfully the second half was different. It was full of adventure, flying through space, new worlds, relationship tension and more. Elliott, in particular, has a great story. They were my favourite character, and their backstory was interesting.

ART STYLE: Of course, let’s talk about the art. As you can hopefully see, there is a very distinct art style and aesthetic in this graphic novel. I loved the dark colours of space next to the bold, striking colours. It was genuinely stunning and memorable. Not only did I feel like the colour palette was used beautifully, but the absence of colour was actually done in powerful ways too. Artistically I think it was superb. It really transports you to this magical story.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

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Finding Home by Hari Connor

PREMISE: Having abandoned his wood nymph family and failing to fit in among humans, Chepi now travels alone until he ends up travelling with someone he canโ€™t seem to keep his distance from, Janek. Janek just wants to get home, but the closer they become, the more heโ€™s drawn to Chepi and discovers more about his nightmares, magic and troubling past.

THOUGHTS: I’m calling itโ€ฆ this graphic novel series is underrated. It focuses on mental health and a new slow-burn romance, doing both aspects well. Following two characters who have ended up travelling together, we watch as they slowly bond and begin to trust each other. Through effective flashbacks, we explored a past abusive relationship and how it affects new relationships.

This graphic novel series takes place in a fantasy land, but you don’t have to be a fantasy lover to enjoy it. It was easy to follow, well fleshed out and simply beautiful. There was magic and social systems in place that allowed an exploration of themes that reflect our own society. Plus, the fantasy aspect really made the comic distinctive.

For me, the blend of romance and fantasy worked well. Each aspect kept me intrigued. The focus leaned more towards the romance and the characters themselves. I found this a good thing as the characters were very endearing.

ART STYLE: I really liked the art and creativity of these graphic novels. Majorly because the aesthetic was gorgeous. Full of greenery, flowers, wilderness and even golden jewels. Plus, it was great seeing some plus-size representation. I enjoyed how the panels were drawn too. There were images layered (almost on top of each other) to create a flowing effect, different shaped boxes to break pages up, and unique expressions of internal thoughts.

Would I recommend it? YES.

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further notes on reading graphic novels…
  1. web comics are perfect… and free.
  2. discovering the tapas app was *chef’s kiss*
  3. text heavy ones, typically adult ones, definitely provide me with more connection.
  4. they must take authors and artists so long to work on, it is almost a shame how quick they are to read.
  5. graphic novels with action/fantasy themes work better with me.
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Here’s to the next 5 graphic novels… ๐Ÿฅ‚

๐Ÿ„ 30 Graphic Novels I Want To Read | a mega list

Have you read any of these graphic novels? What did you think to them?

Have you got any recommendations for graphic novels?


14 thoughts on “GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS | intergenerational trauma, harley quinn & a space adventure

    1. oops my computer glitchd, but I meant to say that I don’t read a lot of graphic novels so thank you for putitng this on my radar!! I can’t believe the amount of free webcomics there are and how much I’m missing out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My laptop does that as well! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ve only recently got in graphic novels but I really enjoy checking them out. Especially seeing all the different art styles! I know, there really are a lot of webcomics about and you can get lost in them frankly ๐Ÿ˜‚ Hope you enjoy any you pick up! Thank youuuu for reading! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

        Like

  1. These look so good! I’ll have to check some of these out! I don’t tend to read many graphic novels, but I do still love them. There’s nothing like getting a fun story AND gorgeous artwork at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, I hope you love any you check out Becky! ๐Ÿ’ž
      Graphic novels are great. They can just hit the spot when you are in the mood for them. I am a sucker for any form of gorgeous artwork ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
      Thank you for reading!! ๐Ÿ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your graphic novel reviews! ๐Ÿ’• I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Check Please, the premise and art style was fun, but the romance also lacked depth for me. Overall, I just wasn’t really hooked on this book ๐Ÿฅบ I also liked On a Sunbeam, the art is simply gorgeous! I hadn’t heard of Finding Home before, but it sounds great! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you soo much Caro ๐Ÿ’œ
      The romance in Check Please was definitely its downfall for me too… It just felt a bit flat really. Its a shame, but I’m glad I still enjoyed other aspects of it! ๐Ÿ˜Š
      On A Sunbeam was stunning. I’m excited to check out more from Tillie Walden ๐Ÿฅฐ
      Finding Home was really good and I wish more people would read them!! ๐Ÿ˜
      Thank you for reading! ๐Ÿ’ž

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved reading your thoughts on these Sophie, still haven’t read Tillie Walden’s books, but I hear nothing but rave reviews. I started some of Check Please recently and see what you mean, the development feels sort of lacking (i think?) but overall its pretty entertaining so far. I love webcomics too, there’s a few I started but never got to the latest updates yet, planning to do so more this year! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, thank you so much!! ๐Ÿฅฐ I have definitely been tempted to check out more from Tillie Walden after reading On A Sunbeam so I fully recommend!
      Yeah there was something about Check Please! that didn’t get me wrapped up into it… still there were fun moments and the webcomic was engaging enough. I hope you enjoy it more than I did in the end! ๐Ÿ˜
      Webcomics are sooo good! I hope to read some more too! Hope you get around to all the ones you want, thank you for reading! โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

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