Hi, lovelies! It 2021, and I’m determined to regularly read my graphic novels that I own and even (like I did in January) borrow some from the library. As you’ll see me mention in my mini-reviews, I bought the first book in a series and enjoyed it enough that I checked to see if my library had any of the sequels. They did! So, I finished the rest of the series (except the last one because it’s not published until later this year) via my library. It made me add another 2021 goal to my list, which is to read more graphic novels via the library too. So, here are the graphic novels I read in January 2021 and may thoughts on them!
The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Matt Rockefeller, Xianthe Bouma & Boya Sun
I picked this graphic novel up on a whim because i found it locally for like $5. I thought the cover looked cute and I wasn’t going to pass up that deal. Im really glad I did because I enjoyed this one. there are three main characters, Ooma, Jax, and An Tzu, and i loved all three of them. Ooma has no faith in herself or her mastery with sand magic but she is the chosen one. I liked that she listened (mostly) to those around her and took their advice. I loved Jax. He was a famous star ball player, but he has a big secret. His character has a fascinating story line coming. Then there’s An Tzu, who has a mysterious illness. He has a lot of growing up to do, but it’s clear that he has a good heart. I’m very interested to continue the series and have borrowed the rest from my library so you may see them reviewed here too.
The Cobalt Prince by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Matt Rockefeller, Xianthe Bouma & Boya Sun
This is the second installment in the 5 Worlds series and i’m really enjoying it. I like how much Ooma is growing and gaining confidence in herself. I really liked the bits of her reconnecting with her sister (and that we got a chapter from Jessa’s point of view). An Tzu is an interesting character. he’s young, so he’s still learning to get over his judgment of people different from him. He struggles with grouping all of the Tovi people together, treating them all badly because some of them did a bad thing. Then there’s Jax, I really missed him in this one and I’m excited to see where his story goes in the future books. I think the world building and the history of the world is so interesting. I want more of it. I wish there was more time to spend on each world and explore all the different peoples and their culture. I’m still not totally sure about the magic system. It seems that the sand magic is based on dance, but I don’t think I know all the rules yet. I have questions, but I’m hopeful that if I continue the series they will be answered.
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
This is a confusing as heck story and I loved every page. Four girls that deliver newspapers get swept up in some alien/time traveling nonsense and they basically just fly by the seat of their pants. I really enjoyed this one. The story is really fast paced and action packed. I loved the art style, it was a good reflection of the mood of the story, dark and tense. I said this was confusing and by that I mean that i really had no idea what was going on. We are in the dark just as much as the four main characters are. I liked that, which is unusual for me, but it worked really well for the story. I want to mention that there’s some homophobia, but it was mostly challenged by another character. I will definitely be continuing the series.
Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
Okay, this was just as confusing as the first volume except we are given answers that don’t actually answer anything. The four main characters have time traveled to 2016 (during the Trump v. Hillary election) and they are blown away by all the new technology and other changes. But one of their friends wasn’t there when they arrived. So, this one is all about finding their missing friends. Like the first volume, this story was really fast paced and I enjoyed that. But we still didn’t really get any answers, only more questions. I will definitely be continuing because now I’m invested in the date of these four newspaper delivery girls.
Paper Girls, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
Volume three was wild. The girls have time traveled again but somewhere incredibly interesting. I really enjoyed this one. We’re also starting to get actual pieces to the puzzle. We meet the person that invented time travel. Like the first two volumes, this one was action packed and super fast paced. The artwork was still stunning. I think it was even more interesting in this one because of the setting. I’m sort of really over the homophobia and other offensive shit though. One of the main characters is just not a nice person and I would have liked to see her grow a bit by now. I do appreciate the addition of one of the girls getting her period for the first time. I’m excited to hopefully get more answers in the next volume considering they time traveled again in the final pages of this one.
Paper Girls, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
While we did get more answers in this volume, my enjoyment of it was seriously dampened by all the homophobia. One of the girls thinks she might be a lesbian and she says so. But another girl can’t get her head out of her ass and literally asks if she’s an imposter, because it’s so far fetched that she might be gay. I probably would have given this volume five stars if not for all of that. It needs to go because homophobia is not a fun plot point. I feel like we’re at a point where we can write stories that take place in the past without there always being someone that’s incredibly offensive. Anyway, the girls have time traveled to another year, and in this year we get answers. The twist of Grand Father’s identity was excellent. But I’d like to know more about how he got to be where he is. So, once again the answers came with more questions. I don’t own the final two volumes but I just bought them. I’ll definitely read them soon because i really want to know how the rest of the story plays out. But I don’t know if I’ll read them in January.
The Red Maze by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Matt Rockefeller, Xianthe Bouma & Boya Sun
In the third book of the 5 Worlds series, our characters find themselves in yet another world. This time they’re on the home world of all the corporations. This planet has a democratic government but we get to see first hand some of the flaws in that system. I thought it was an interesting parallel to our own world and voting issues (though I don’t know that this was intentional). Once again, Jax is away from the crew for most of the book. I understand why, but I still didn’t like it. I want the three main characters to adventure together. Ooma learns valuable magic from Zelle (a rebellion leader) and the characters that ban together work toward thwarting the Mimic again. I liked this one and I am going to pick up the fourth volume right now.
The Amber Anthem by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Matt Rockefeller, Xianthe Bouma & Boya Sun
Ooma, An Tzu, and Jax are working on trying to light the fourth beacon. We learn quite a bit about An Tzu’s story in this one. He is learning more about himself and this mysterious illness. I think this was one of the most intriguing parts of the story, especially with how this graphic novel ended. The fifth and final volume comes out this year and I’m very excited to finish this series. I am still not totally clear about the rules for the sand magic, which only bothers me a little. I want to know more about it, but not knowing didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story. I also still feel like I would have liked to spend more time on each world. I want to mention how much Ooma has grown and I really admire her. She speaks up when she sees others being treated unfairly. She believes in herself and her friends. I’m definitely enjoying this series and would recommend it.
Paper Girls, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
So, in the last volume we left off with the girls arriving in the future. That’s where this one picks up. The girls just want to figure out how to get home. They manage to find some clues about the people in power, and shockingly, the girls know them. I think we finally got some solid answers in this book. Less about the actual time travel itself and more about the people in power. We learned who Grand Father was in a previous volume, but in this one we learn how he is in the time he is. I liked this volume. There’s still some homophobia which I didn’t like, especially since Mac calls KJ disgusting, but then kisses her toward the end of the volume. So, she’s homophobic but still kisses her friend. I just didn’t like the abrupt change of heart because I don’t think it was actually a change of heart. Overall, I liked this one. We finally got some solid answers, but the mystery is still there. There are still some things that haven’t been explained. I honestly sort of think they never will be seeing as there is only one volume left in the series, but it’s been a wild ride and I’m definitely interested to see how things end for these newspaper girls.
Paper Girls, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher
The finale of this series might be my favorite. We only sort of get answers to all of the questions that have built up over the series, but it was enough to satisfy me. We learn a bit more about the rules of time traveling and the things that others have tried to do to avoid the inevitable future. I thought the final showdown was really interesting and I have also finally learned all of the papergirls names. Erin is the new girl, her story was the weirdest in the most interesting way. Mac actually sort of grows out of her homophobia in this one, but it isn’t something we get to see the reasoning behind. We just see her making an actual effort to stop using homophobic slurs, which I appreciated. KJ is the character that I feel like I like the best. She really goes through the most with learning more about herself. She’s a lesbian and following her on that discovery was hard, but wonderful. Finally, Tiffany. I think she’s the hardest working member of this team. She fights for the paper girls to keep their memories because if they don’t it’s likely they’ll never remain friends, and she wants them to stay friends. So, overall, I’m happy with this ending. Though it was a little confusing at the end seeing things a year later because there wasn’t really a solid label saying they’d jumped forward in time, so I originally thought they were back at the beginning of the night they met. But, despite that minor thing, I loved that Tiffany made the effort to continue their friendship. I think this series was a wild ride. It was incredibly fast-paced and full of non-stop action. There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Even though everything wasn’t completely explained, I think enough was for me to be satisfied. I also have to say that the art for the whole series was stunning. The colors used for each of the different places in time were perfect. They matched the setting and changed as the girls time traveled which I thought was really interesting. This definitely won’t be a series that everyone loves. But my fellow science fiction nerds might enjoy this one.
These are all the graphic novels I read in January and my thoughts on them. Are there any here that you’ve read or want to read? Also, do you like how I review them in the order that I read them or would you prefer that I review them in series order? So, would it have been better if I’d kept all the 5 Worlds series reviewed together and then the Paper Girls together instead of how they are listed here in the order that I read them? Let me know in the comments so I can adjust for my future mini-review wrap ups!
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.