Monday, 3 July 2017

Hugo Graphic Story Discussion

I've written reviews in separate posts of the Hugo shortlisted graphic novels. I'm going to go through them in the order I read them and then give my overall impressions at the end of this post. Title links go to the reviews.

Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)

I read this about a year ago when it was first released. I have been following the Ms Marvel comics since Kamala became Ms Marvel (I also heart Carol Danvers but as Captain Marvel, since pants) and I have enjoyed them all. This was always going to rate highly for me.

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)

I actually got an ARC of Monstress close to its release date but sadly didn't get around to reading it until after the Hugo packet arrived (partly because the PDF is so big my old iPad 2 can't actually cope with it). I found this story a bit harder to find my footing in because it jumped into the story without much introduction. It did make more sense as I went along and I ended up more or less liking it. Not my favourite of the bunch but not my least favourite either.

Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)

Saga is another series I've followed from the start and have been invested in from the very start. There have been some issues that have felt a bit too much like a chapter in a bigger story (which they all are) and have made me think rereading the whole series when its complete will be the superior reading experience. When I was reading Monstress, I was put in mind of Saga. However, having actually revisited Saga after a long gap and read this shortlisted volume, I am not entirely sure why I saw similarities. In this volume of Saga, the story is kind of more gentle than it has been at times, which is in particularly stark contrast with Monstress.

The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

When I first saw the cover for Vision I was vaguely intrigued but not enough to go out of my way to read it without the prompting of the Hugo packet. I found it OK and a good series starting point (unlike Black Panther, see below). I probably won't bother reading the sequels but I am vaguely curious as to what happens (assuming no events interrupt the storyline).

Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)

This had been on my radar for a while and the Hugo shortlisting and voter packet finally gave me the impetus to read it. I am glad I did! This story is awesome and is definitely getting my top vote. The next time I go past the comic book shop I plan to stop in to pick up the next volume (and maybe the third, which is due out soon, I think). I highly recommend this comic to all spec fic fans who don't hate the comic format.

Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)

I had heard good things about Black Panther and this creative team... but I was mostly lost in a story that didn't feel like it started with the first issue in this collection (which, yes, is issue #1). I only really connected with some of the side characters and was a bit lost as to recent events the plot seemed to hinge on.

So out of that list Paper Girls is the easy winner for me, followed by Ms Marvel and Saga. It was pretty close between Monstress and Vision, but the depth of Monstress and the promise of the developing story edged out Vision. Unsurprisingly, Black Panther comes last, mainly because it doesn't seem like the right place to start reading his story.

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