By Noelle Stevenson and and others.
Illus. by Brooke Allen.
2015. 112p. Boom! Studios, paper, $14.99
(9781608867370). 741.5. Gr. 5–8.
Continuing their quest to uncover magic
and be best friends, Mal, Jo, Ripley, April, and
Molly earn their Lumberjanes merit badges
with aplomb. When a marauding pack of ve-lociraptors invades craft day, the Lumberjanes
leap into action, though the dinos only seem
to be after Jo, who secreted away one of the
golden disks that mark every monstrous critter that arrives at camp. When a creepy old
grandma suggests that Jo is really a mystical
being in disguise, it drives a wedge into the
Lumberjanes. Why would Jo keep secrets
from her best friends? But there are bigger
problems afoot: one of their camp mates, Diane, is not who she seems, and she’s using the
Lumberjanes for her own nefarious purposes.
Stevenson and Ellis’ rip-roaring plot is packed
with magic, mayhem, teamwork, and some
fantastic jokes, and it’s all riotously rendered
in Allen’s bold and brassy artwork, which
clearly depicts even the most pell-mell scenes
and perfectly complements the off-the-wall
story. The series opener received broad, enthusiastic acclaim, and this follow-up should
fare just as well. —Sarah Hunter
Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc.
By Tony Lee. Illus. by Sam Hart.
2015. 112p. Candlewick, $21.99 (9780763676131).
741.5. Gr. 6–9.
Writer Lee and illustrator Hart team up again
to recount the legend of Joan of Arc, the teenage girl who experienced visions and used them
to help the French army defeat the English and
crown the dauphin as king of France during
the Hundred Years’ War. Captured by her enemies and tried as a heretic, Joan was burned at
the stake and subsequently became a national
hero for France and a Roman Catholic saint.
Lee’s story shows how Joan had to overcome
everyone’s doubts and prejudice in her quest,
and manages to make her terrible death less
traumatic for readers by focusing on what may
have been her last vision. Hart’s full-color art
works well with Lee’s text to portray the unlikely military leader Joan became, thanks to her
charisma among the French soldiers. This book
reads like a heroic adventure and will appeal to
any middle- or high-school student who likes
historical fiction or military fiction, or anyone
eager to read about a heroic young woman who
truly made a difference. —Kat Kan
Rick and Morty.
By Zac Gorman. Illus. by C. J. Cannon
and Ryan Hill.
2015. 128p. Oni, paper, $19.99 (9781620102817). 741.5.
Rick and Morty, the unlikely pair at the
heart of the hit Adult Swim cartoon, happily
bring their signature blend of brainy sci-fi and
surreal, warped mayhem to print. When dis-
solute genius Rick builds a device to predict
the future of the stock market, he and his
bumbling teenage grandson, Morty, hit the big
time. But time cops catch on to their scheme,
and they’re sentenced to prison in a torturous
labyrinth. That’s a tidy metaphor for most Rick
and Morty plots, since Rick has his fingers in
just about every parallel universe, so moments
of sentimentality can easily turn on a dime
with an interdimensional leap (and a knowing
wink to the reader), hurtling hapless Morty
in myriad disorienting directions. Though
readers unfamiliar with the show might be
thrown off by the idiosyncratic speech style, it’s
a pitch-perfect replica of the voice actors’ per-
formances, and the artwork, full of exaggerated
cartoon shapes and grotesque creatures, expert-
ly mimics the animation. With intelligent plots
and lowbrow jokes aplenty, this is tailor-made
for older teens. —Sarah Hunter
Star Wars: Princess Leia.
By Mark Waid. Illus. by Terry Dodson
2015. 120p. Marvel, paper, $16.99 (9780785193173).
741.5. Gr. 7–11.
The Death Star has been destroyed, but not
before exacting a terrible cost through the
destruction of the planet Alderaan and all its
inhabitants. Princess Leia Organa, the only
surviving member of the Alderaan royal family, is determined to round up the remaining
Alderaanians, who are scattered across the galaxy, despite the bounty placed on her head by
the vengeful Empire. Waid and Dodson craft
a story that is light on plot; since this story
takes place between the first two original movies, much of the “will she survive?” drama is
sacrificed. However, fans of the wildly popular series will be pleased at how Leia and her
compatriots are portrayed as strong, capable,
resourceful, intelligent women. The art eschews cheesecake pinups in favor of realistic
action and emotional scenes, which are highlighted in vibrant colors that easily set the tone
for each locale. Readers need only know the
original movies to appreciate this tale, making
it perfect for both new fans and old and young
teen readers through adults. —Snow Wildsmith
Comics Squad: Lunch!
Ed. by Jennifer L. Holm and others.
Jan. 2016. 144p. illus. Random, paper, $7.99
(9780553512649). 741.5. Gr. 2–5.
Jennifer Holm, Matthew Holm, and Jarrett
J. Krosoczka have rallied a heaping serving of
comics greats for this collection of minicomics
about lunchtime. Cece Bell kicks off the vol-
ume with a funny story about a little girl whose
nut allergy might lead to true love. Fan-favorite
Babymouse channels Robin Hood in a battle
over a table in the lunchroom, but will her love
of cupcakes ruin her scheme? Nathan Hale re-
cruits characters from his acclaimed Nathan
Hale’s Hazardous Tales series to recount the
true story of WWII sailors who fought off a
Japanese sub with potatoes. Jason Shiga offers
a choose-your-own-adventure time-travel mys-
tery in an ingenious format. The other entries
are just as entertaining, and the cheery yellow
palette coloring each artist’s signature style
makes for a welcoming through line. With
so many familiar names, it will be a piece of
cake to get this collection into little hands, and
while they are perusing their favorites, they
might find some new ones. —Sarah Hunter
By Lee Nordling. Illus. by Meritxell
2015. 32p. Lerner/Graphic Universe, $25.26
(9781467745741); paper, $6.95 (9781467745789).
741.5. K–Gr. 3.
Alex and Drew are both eager to play in the
park. Alex is toting a stuffed rabbit, stuffed
Pegasus, and supplies for a tea party, and Drew
brings a pet dog. Alex’s imagined world is
light and breezy—the stuffed toys come to life
and enjoy the tea party while smiling clouds
look on. Meanwhile, Drew’s fantasy world is
darker—the dog becomes a dragon, and they
both fly around volcanoes and spooky trees.
This volume of the Three Story Books series
structures the wordless narratives so Alex’s
story runs horizontally in the top row, Drew’s
occupies the middle row, and the bottom row
shows what’s really going on in the park as the
two children play together. Readers can follow
each story individually or read all three gradually intertwining tales together and imagine
their own dialogue and narration. Bosch uses
a different color palette for the highly detailed,
cartoonish illustrations, while the clouds reveal
clever hints along the way. The book ends with
a neat twist on gender expectations that could
spark meaningful discussions. —Kat Kan
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron.
By Charles M. Schulz. Illus. by the
2015. 200p. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781606999066).
741.5. K–Gr. 3.
The latest of Fantagraphics’ gorgeous
Peanuts collections is guaranteed to fly off shelves
faster than usual, centering as it does on the
strip’s true star, Snoopy, battling his perennially unseen archenemy. Schulz’s characters are
indelibly etched in our cultural history, his
large-headed, emotive tykes among the most
beloved figures for all ages. Though Schulz’s
signature melancholy may, on the surface,
seem incongruous among Snoopy’s breathless flying ace battles, it remains absolutely
necessary to the emotionally rich experience
he offers young readers. Longing and humor
are, as always, elegantly alternated: one second
Snoopy is perfecting a heartfelt poem from the
WWI trenches, and the next Peppermint Patty
gets the old heave-ho when she calls the beagle’s
doghouse-biplane “a zamboni.” Peanuts aficionados will also delight in the opportunity to see
the strip’s artistic and philosophical evolution
play out in selections culled from 50 years of
strips. If any library ever needed another reason to acquire a Peanuts collection, the beloved
characters recently began a new life in movie
theaters. —Jesse Karp