Vol 4: Seasons of Mist, illustrated by Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Craig Russell
We open up on the Garden of Destiny, who is visited by the Three Fates. He is unsettled by what they reveal, so he calls the rest of his family to a meeting: Despair, Desire, Delirium, Death, and Dream. The family chides Dream for his short temper, particularly in the case of his former lover, Nada, who he condemned to torment in Hell for not agreeing to become his queen. He eventually sees their side, and decides to re-enter Hell to free Nada. This might be the end of him, as Lucifer told him so on their last encounter. He says his goodbyes and readies his kingdom, but when he enters Hell, he finds it eerily empty. Lucifer meets up with him and tells him he’s let all the demons go, he’s released all the tortured, and the dead have gone back to wherever they came from. He gives the Key to Hell to Dream and peaces out, knowing the possession of the key is going to make Dream’s life miserable. Shortly thereafter, hosts of deities show up at Dream’s castle, all with a claim to the Key to Hell.
Illustrated by Robyn Smith
Nubia and her friends are hanging outside the local convenience store, sharing or bemoaning how they will spend their upcoming summer vacation. Oscar shows up, someone Nubia likes, and the other two make a quick retreat. Nubia psyches herself up to talk to her crush, but the store is held up by robbers at gunpoint. When Oscar is threatened by a gunman, Nubia does the only thing she can think of to save his life: throw an ATM at the perpetrators. But this breaks one of the cardinal rules of her moms: don’t use her superpowers, and definitely don’t do it in front of people and/or cameras. Amera and Danielle, Nubia’s moms, go into damage control to see if this is another situation where they need to up and move. Instead, they stick it out with the help from someone special from Prince Securities. This kicks off a series of decisions where Nubia acts against her moms’ rules, but usually only in order to protect someone she cares about. Nubia has to come to terms with her abilities and the responsibilities they bring, all while figuring out who she wants to be.
Illustrated by Álvaro Martínez Bueno, colored by Jordie Bellaire
A group loose associates find themselves in a large, extravagant house on a beautiful lake, seemingly without other people or houses around them. They all discover they know Walter - some grew up with him, some crossed paths with him only a few months ago - but he was always heavily invested in them, someone who was right there at the right time and maybe faded away since. Then, Walter appears in the house and explains his intentions. He reveals he is part of an alien race, and his people intend to destroy the Earth, but he was tasked with picking the best of humanity to be saved. They will all be safe from the coming apocalypse in this lake house, where they will also have all their needs provided for, but everyone else they know and love will be horrifically killed. And they’re supposed to be thankful. But not all of them can sit idly by and enjoy the bounty of their sanctuary. Some of them start exploring their idilic prison and discover what was probably meant to be hidden from them forever.
Illustrated by Steph C.
Jessica Cruz is a high school junior with lots of difficult decisions to make. She has to decide to renew her DACA status, something that will put a target on her back but might help keep her undocumented parents safe. She has to fill out college applications and hope her own undocumented status won’t jeopardize her goals. She helps her family around the house as much as she can, and she has landed a prestigious museum fellowship. All of this leaves little room for friends and hanging out. When her father is taken away by ICE agents, Jessica finds herself stuck between two warring Aztec gods - one says she should be a bridge for her family and friends and lean on them, the other tells her to take action against ICE and save her father by using her anger to fuel her.
Illustrated by Manuel Preitano
Willow loves her broken community of Down River in Gotham, and she often is found at protests trying to get City Hall’s attention. Her mom is a brilliant professor fighting brain cancer, so out of desperation, Willow gets mixed up coordinating an illegal gambling ring for her mom’s former friend, E. Nigma. Willow enjoys the work and the money that allows her to secure treatment for her mom, but her friends notice she’s slipping away and not as involved in saving the community anymore. One night, Killer Croc attacks Willow, telling her he’s protecting Down River from E. Nigma and warns her to stop helping him. The attack leaves Willow with special powers and the ability to talk to dogs. She discovers Poison Ivy has been working with E. Nigma to lower property values in Down River to make gentrification more attainable, but Willow draws the line when the next target is her favorite delicatessen.
Illustrated by Yoshi Yoshitani
Starfire’s daughter, Mandy, is trying to live a life outside of the shadow of her famous mother. Mandy has taken on a very dark persona, died her hair black, and wears lots of dark colors, trying desperately to stand out away from her bright, effervescent mother. When Mandy gets paired with the popular Clare for an English assignment, she discovers someone who maybe can be her friend, or even more than that, outside of people seeing her for her famous family and superhero friends. Starfire's past on her home planet catches up with her and makes like more complicated for Mandy, who really wants nothing to do with any of the super-powered politics of Tamaran. Mandy must believe in herself and her own strength to get through this newest challenge.
Vol 1: The Shadow Threat, illustrated by Eric Zawadzki
House of El is a story of Kryptonians before Superman is even born. There is an impending doom of the planet that the Tribunes refuse to admit is real, but citizens are starting to act out and investigate what's happening. A group of dissenters recruits Zohn, of the House of Re, who is part of the upper caste and destined to become one of Krypton's future leaders. Zohn knows that the earthquakes are getting worse and could be a sign that the planet is near to collapse. Elsewhere, Zohn's cousin, Lara, wife of Jor-El, is experimenting with rewriting the genetic code of Kryptonians in order to introduce missing elements left out from generations of genetic manipulation. Their chosen subject is Sera, an Ur, a lower caste, genetically engineered soldier bred to be completely loyal to Krypton. Urs are modified to live life without fear, without questioning orders, and without regard to their own lives. Lara hopes to create a better soldier with some semblance of self-preservation, believing that these omitted traits are essential for Kryptonians to fully serve their society.
Twins Alec and Walker spend their last summer before college at their cousin’s home in the Southern United States. But, Alec was in the middle of some really in-depth experiments on plants and memory, so he’s brought them with him. When the dogs get into the boxes, they slowly start to change into the plants Alec has been experimenting on. Walker is a socialite and tries to get introverted Alec to join the party scene, but Alec isn’t interested in being with people. Alec makes one friend, another student using the school science lab over summer, and she shares her research on an extremely old oak tree that has been in the town since its founding. A boneheaded prank destroys a prized plant, and Alec uses puts his experimental formula into action to save what he can.
Illustrated by DaNi
Octavia (Vee) and Eldora (El) are high school seniors in the town of Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania. Their coal-mining town is plagued with sinkholes full of fire that filled the coal mines ages ago, and the holes and soot claim many lives throughout the town. Nevertheless, people can't seem to leave Shudder-to-Think, guilty of leaving their dead behind in shoddily marked graves empty of inhabitants, swallowed by even more sinkholes. Aside from the soul-sink that is the town, something else strange is going on that seems to affect townspeople intermittently - they forget whole swaths of time, hours, days, or more, and can't account for their whereabouts nor their actions. Vee and El enlist the the help of the local witch, who knows more about all of these strange phenomenon that she lets on. The truth is horrifying, and each victim of the forgetting disorder is faced with a pivotal choice - to keep forgetting, or to face the horrible truth of the nature of their town.
Batman (2016), Vol 1: I am Gotham, illustrated by David Finch and Mikel Janin
Batman saves a little boy and his parents right before they’re killed in the same manner as his own parents, and, in turn, the little boy grows up wanting to be just like Batman. He and his sister become Gotham and Gotham girl and fight crime trying to save the city. Batman isn't sure if he can trust them, so he puts them through some training and tests to see if they're superhero material. Wouldn't it be nice to have Justice League - level superheroes right in Gotham, rather than having to call Superman and Wonder Woman all the time?
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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