A worthy addition to the expansive Batman corpus

BATMAN

NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A pre-Batman Bruce Wayne takes his first strides toward becoming the Caped Crusader.

In this graphic adaptation of the novel by the same name, 18-year-old newly minted billionaire Wayne wrestles with increasingly adult issues: how to control his newfound power in managing his deceased parents’ fortune, facing the unknown once high school ends, and an intense call to defend the city he loves. When a nefarious group known as the Nightwalkers descends upon Gotham City, reigning terror upon the rich, Bruce begins his first foray into vigilantism. Unimpressed by his attempts, he is reprimanded by the GCPD and sent to work at Arkham Asylum, where he befriends enigmatic inmate Madeleine, a Nightwalker with a dark past. Like most Batman tales, the lines between good and evil are nebulous, and as Bruce struggles with issues like economic inequality, he learns he must define those boundaries himself. With electric pacing and dynamic black-and-white illustrations punctuated with bright splashes of yellow, Moore’s (The Zodiac Legacy, 2017, etc.) adaptation of Lu’s (Wildcard, 2018, etc.) novel is a visual delight with all the cinematic panache one would expect from the superhero franchise. Focusing upon Wayne before he fully adopted his Batman persona, this makes for a fine jumping in point for both seasoned fans and newcomers alike. Wayne presents as white, but secondary characters are ethnically diverse.

A worthy addition to the expansive Batman corpus . (Graphic fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8004-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC Ink

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

From the Manga Classics series

Manga that brings to life Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy.

This third entry in Manga Classics’ adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays maintains their practice of reproducing the full text of the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow readers to easily follow the plot while also picking up on subtle themes that are significant to understanding the play. For example, the abundant imagery surrounding the moon is emphasized by the moon’s presence in the backgrounds of many panels throughout the book, drawing readers’ attention. Long dialogues are also explained visually, which allows young readers to grasp what is being discussed without the need for a glossary or translation into modern English. The nobility is portrayed in a typical manga fashion with large eyes, small noses, and well-defined ears—but with appropriate Grecian clothing—while the commoners are easily visually distinguishable from them in style. The guide to reading manga at the beginning unfortunately describes the right-to-left reading order as “backwards from the normal books you know,” a strangely judgment-laden description for a book using manga to broaden the cultural exposure of young readers. However, the creators’ notes at the end offer fascinating insights into the adaptation process and may inspire budding manga artists to attempt their own works.

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience. (cast, creators’ notes, character design sheet) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947808-10-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A biblio bias-cut whose shimmer is welcome despite its optimistic shortsightedness.

THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER

Once upon a time, there was a prince who felt fabulous only in exquisite gowns.

Prince Sebastian’s parents, like fleets of fairy-tale progenitors before, are myopically focused on getting their kid hitched. Rendezvous with potential brides rattle Sebastian, and not just because he’s only 16 and averse to icky matrimony. It’s because he dresses in couture gowns and is petrified of facing what a reveal would mean to his parents and potential wife. Weary of donning his mother’s duds, he hires Frances, a seamstress with an avant-garde flair. Their friendship quickly evolves as she harnesses her talent and he becomes empowered to make public appearances as his alter ego, Lady Crystallia. When Lady Crystallia becomes a fashion plate du jour—and secrecy verges on revelation—Sebastian and Frances are at a crossroads: can they remain true to themselves, each other, and the world? Wang’s linework has as much movement and play as Crystallia’s frocks, and her palette seamlessly wanders from petit-four brights to the moody darks of an ombre swatch. This is preindustrial Paris, so the cast is white, with the only otherness being class differentiation. Sebastian’s story shouldn’t be taken as a testament to how easy it is for one to reveal one’s true self to one’s parents, particularly if one is LGBTQIAP: Sebastian meets acceptance far too easily, particularly for such a public figure in such a conservative age. Sebastian’s summation of Frances’ aesthetic underscores the ultimate blueprint: fantasy and drama.

A biblio bias-cut whose shimmer is welcome despite its optimistic shortsightedness. (Historical graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-363-4

Page Count: 290

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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