Reviews by eknapp
A great second volume.
Volume 2 opens with Julie hiding out in the Nevada desert. She's being hunted by both a madman who also possesses some of the alloy and a relentless tracker working for the agency that got her into the mess in the first place. Sparks fly, and people explode.

Terrific follow-up to a terrific first volume. Moore is a master character-writer; everyone in the book just jumps off the page. Ivy's intuitive leaps, the homeless guy's madness, Julie's empathy, it's all totally believable.

Moore continues to do great things with black and white. And thank god he has abandoned the ridiculously cartoony surprise-expressions that ruined Strangers in Paradise for me. One shouldn't mix this much smarts and realism with Dagwood Bumstead art.
Hit-and-miss art; solid bare-bones story.
Trevor has never left the rural farm in the rural valley that he shares with his timid mother, domineering father, and freakish-giant younger brother Will. When a neighbor's pig is killed and Will's father subsequently decides to end his younger son's life, Trevor and Will escape and try to leave the valley. Before they get far, they uncover the grisly secret that the valley's families have hidden for years.

Freaks of the Heartland is a short book, a surprisingly quick read, with great big panels. The art is mostly gray and taupe, which is meant to evoke a kind of Great Depression era aesthetic, I think. It's beautiful at times--when setting the scene or showing panoramic views--but action shots and close-ups of people tend to look like big confusing smears.

The story, which is simultaneously heart warming and heart breaking, is where Freaks shines. It's minimalist, stripped down to the bare essentials; there's a lot more that could be told, but does it need to be? The ending is perfect and went a long way toward redeeming the confuzzling illustrations in my mind.
Weak start, strong finish. Fascinating series.
The first volume blended deadly seriousness with whimsy, the experience of a precocious child growing up in the midst of the Iranian revolution and subsequent war with Iraq. It was relatively heavy on Iranian history and politics. I loved it.

Persepolis 2 is more of a biography (and I don't much care for biographies) at least for the first half. But it does maintain much of the charm and disarming honesty of the first book.

It begins with Satrapi's teenage years spent bouncing around Austria, which I found to be dull, uninteresting. It read like standard depressing, formulaic memoir fare.

Things picked up between her humble return to Iran, her failed marriage, and her final move from Tehran to Paris. She delves once again into the stultifying political climate in Iran, the roots and causes of the suffocating repression, and the struggle of being a woman or a progressive in a fundamentalist land. A strong finish.
Excellent first volume. I hope the rest of the series lives up.
A woman wearing an experimental liquid-plutonium bodysuit is shot down by an off-the-books government agency over the California desert, and the suit rains down on an unsuspecting photographer (as well as a deranged homeless man). Now the agency is hunting the photographer, who wants nothing more than to fix her shattered marriage, help her sick sister, and play with her dog.

So far so awesome. Solid characters, gripping plot, plenty of tension, good dialogue. I admit to being a little disappointed at the unexpected hints of supernatural (a possibly prophetic sister, the murdered woman appearing to reside in the suit after she dies). Seems out of place. But it's early yet, I'm inclined to withhold judgment.

Moore is a genius with body language, the guy does amazing things with black lines and white paper. It's weird how, just, normal all the characters look. Realistic. I'm used to at least a few impossibly muscled steroid junkies in graphic novels.
Bad...but okay for a superhero story.
Cool idea. An alternate "history" in which Superman crashed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States and becomes a Marxist champion of the proletariat. The great American hero Lex Luthor is tasked with countering the new Soviet menace.

I like alternate history. I dislike mainstream superhero books. I'd hoped that the former aspect of Red Son would counter the latter. It didn't. It had the same simpleness, the same absurdly emphatic dialogue, the same something-I-can't-define that makes me roll my eyes at every other DC/Marvel superhero. It was just padded in this case with a lot of winking and nudging, references and in-jokes for the character's faithful. "See what we did there?? Batman's a Russian now? The Ice Fortress is now the Frozen Palace?? Clever right?!"

Red Son almost earned a second star by trying to explore a world in which Communism is successful, looking at the costs of that success. But this attempt at thoughtfulness was so feeble it might as well not have been there at all. Bleah.