PositiveBooklist\"Though the pace lags a bit toward the beginning, once Vasya finds her footing, Arden’s signature cinematic pacing and clearly choreographed action come to the fore. Visceral descriptions of battle, an atmospheric sense of place, and some truly heartbreaking moments of loss make this a gut-wrenching read, but there’s ample hope and satisfaction to be found as Vasya chooses her own unique path to triumph.\
Saladin Ahmed, Illustrated by Sami Kivelä
RaveBooklistKivelä beautifully renders the story in dynamic page layouts and compellingly fluid panel borders, filling the backgrounds with recognizable Detroit architecture, sharp and expressive characters, and grotesque body horror perfectly suited to the noir-tinged supernatural mystery. Jason Wordie’s electric colors, particularly the garish purple and curly black shadows emanating from anything otherworldly, give stunning depth to the art. And amid Abbott’s investigation into the paranormal occurrences, Ahmed weaves cutting commentary about racism, microaggressions, and gentrification, while snippets of Abbott’s articles scattered throughout the pages provide evocative context for the political, cultural, and economic realities of Detroit in the ’70s. Smart writing, gorgeous artwork, and a vibrant hero with captivating depth make this a series to watch.
RaveBooklist\"The sparking interplay between familiar and foreign is utterly mesmerizing, and the story carries that through as well: the sf components are inventive and compellingly strange, but the romance between Mia and Grace, not to mention the warm, teasing affection among Mia’s crewmates, grounds the story in a heartening, recognizable place. A remarkable, stunning comic.\
Anthony Del Col & Geoff Moore, Illustrated by Jeff McComsey
PositiveBooklist\"Del Col and Moore’s story is packed with classic espionage-thriller turns, such as coded messages hidden in baked goods (though the madeleines Pierre bakes look nothing like the shell-shaped classic in the artwork), double-crossing agents, bloody shootouts, blackmail, and a rookie operative with a hair trigger, who fouls up the plan. McComsey’s luminous monochromatic artwork makes great use of highlight and shadow on his realistic figures, which only adds to the noirish atmosphere. Pierre’s story drags a bit in the middle, but a twist toward the end sends the story careering toward the conclusion, which takes a hearty swipe at contemporary American politics.\
PositiveBooklistOrtberg infuses her stories with unsettling surrealism, sharp social commentary, a mordant sense of humor, and little in the way of true love ... There’s not much classic horror writing here; rather, Ortberg cultivates a deep sense of unease, both in her compellingly odd, archaic language and the gulf between characters’ words and actions ... Ortberg successfully pinpoints a kernel of real horror in each of the stories she recasts, and although her smart, weird writing might not be for everyone, it will bewitch macabre, literary-minded readers.
RaveBooklistIn every story, Tamaki’s artwork is a treat. Her confident line work alternates between bold, thick outlines and finer, jittery pen strokes, and she often expands scenes to fill whole pages ... In these marvelously odd, sf-tinged packages, Tamaki captures deep truths about the human experience. Even animal characters, as in the titular story, have the petty, hypocritical, overanalyzing tendencies of her human characters. And yet, nothing ever seems grim: despite the disappointments, there are moments of satisfaction in breaking free of the expectations that weigh down her characters. It’s a profoundly honest, bittersweet picture of human nature, made all the more haunting by her enchanting artwork.