Two recent releases, in particular, have greatly impressed me: a steampunk adventure by Jared Axelrod and Steve Walker entitled The Battle of Blood and Ink, and an offbeat science fiction thriller written by Will Pfeifer and illustrated by Germán Torres entitled The Advance Team.
But when the self-proclaimed “seeker of truth” gets too close to the reality of things, the Provost decides to eliminate her. With an assassin hot on her trail, Ash must stay alive long enough to put an end to the evil that powers the city. A spunky heroine, a breathtaking backdrop, and an innovative take on more than a few steampunk tropes made this a highly enjoyable read. In a word: unputdownable.
There are no particularly deep themes or intricate plot twists in this graphic novel, it’s meant to be a briskly paced, action-packed and fun read – and that’s exactly what it is. The illustrations are fantastic, are bizarre blend of MAD Magazine sensibilities with the thematic undertone of The Twilight Zone. And the character of Zack is undeniably endearing – what’s not to love about a scrawny, myopic pizza delivery guy who ends up saving the world? And he does it all in 30 minutes or less!
Bottom line: If you’ve never read a graphic novel before or if you have only experienced a few, I think it’s high time that you take a step outside of your comfort zone – I’m so glad that I did all those years ago – and now is the perfect time, 2012 is turning out to be a banner year for graphic novels…
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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