Reviews by eknapp
A gorgeous art-only immigration story.
SPOILER: [A man leaves his wife and young daughter to sail off to a faraway land where he doesn't speak the language. He makes some friends, saves some money, and brings his family over for a joyful reunion.]

The Arrival is completely text-free and absolutely beautiful, entirely drawn in sepia-toned, I don't know, pencil sketches maybe. It's a bizarre blend of styles: the people all look 19th century Ellis Island; everybody has a familiar or pet inspired by Maurice Sendak (my wife says "Pokemon"), like the miniature whale-dog and the fish-bird; and the musical instruments and modes of transportation are right out of Dr. Seuss and Dr. Who respectively (I'm sure I saw a poggle horn, a zimbaphone, and possibly a three-nozzled bloozer). The writing on signs and immigration documents looks suspiciously like a supersecret transliteration code I devised when I was 7.

I like Tan's inventive text-free ways of communicating concepts like danger and the passage of time. The homeland that the unnamed man leaves behind is dark, with shadows of dragontails on all the city streets--in his new home he's startled once by a small apparently-harmless cat-thing with a similar tail. He shows time passing on his initial voyage with a sixty-panel (I counted) montage of clouds, and later with a 24-panel array of a transforming leaf-eye-dandelion. Neat.
Decent thriller, not as good as his later stuff.
An old-money New York architect witnesses a murder. An unusual group of Indian death-cult mobsters comes after him and his family to silence him, but no one--not his bosses, not the cops, not even his wife--believes him that the accumulating deaths are anything but unrelated accidents and random crimes. Like the star of an 80s action movie, he takes the fight to the Kali-worshipping gangsters.

Karma is one of Smith's early works, and he got a LOT better with Sacrifice and the Snowfall trilogy. The first half of the book simply bored me, it was hard to relate to a depressed, blue-blooded country club New Englander. I didn't really engage until the hero's extramarital affair was uncovered; he found himself in the interesting position of having to convince his wife that their daughter's life was in mortal danger from implausible bad guys immediately after having destroyed his credibility with her. THAT was juicy.
Meh. The Comedian's backstory was kind of interesting--his 60's association with the Kennedy clan and certain historical events was reasonably well put together. But it lacked the magic of Watchmen.

Rorschach's story was an embarrassment. His contempt for, well pretty much everyone, shone through but he spent the entire book getting his ass kicked repeatedly and tripping into lucky escapes. That's not Rorschach.
Beautiful but unsatisfying.
Wow. Lost Dogs is simply a chain of horrific injustices. A revenge tail where nobody gets--or even seeks--revenge. I guess it's also supposed to be the story of a man holding on to his humanity through all that the world can throw at him, but for me that paled against how badly I wanted to see the bad guys get what they deserved.
A strange mix of excitement and mediocrity
Dara faces off against the final elemental-god-sibling. Malia manipulates the easily fooled masses into believing that Dara is a psycho super-nutter and that she, Malia, is humanity's only hope. Dara has the entire population of Earth to contend with in addition to the power-mad air goddess.

The final volume is as simplistic as the rest. The characters are all about as canny as your average fourth grader, right down to the general in charge of keeping the superhumans under control. This would be a clear YA title if it weren't for the violence. The Luna brothers never met a compound fracture they didn't want to draw in close-up.

I did quite like the dark ending, and the mixed in flashbacks they used to tie it together.