The Dandy Medium

The Dandy Medium

The Dandy Medium is a gaslight-era adventure novel mixing good old-fashioned detective work with the supernatural and paranormal. And does a great job of it too!

Author Dez Schwartz takes the best elements from the genres he mixes, including a detective duo that can easily measure up to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, but also more contemporary teams, such as Castle and Beckett, with excellent chemistry. Super powered characters that easily could have messed with the story, but don’t, because it’s so masterfully told.

I could go on for quite a while, but this is simple a great book. The story is well written, the pace is excellent, it twists and surprises, it has just the right volume of character and setting background to give you all the information you need and the characters just… work.

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The Sightless City

The Sightless City

Politics, science, intrigue, the supernatural and a murder mystery that seems to be at the heart of it. It sounds like an excellent combo and, yes, at first glance The Sightless City seems to have it all. But while the concept is good, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s the same old story: warring states, races that don’t get along and an evil mega corporation with an evil mastermind who has been the big bad all along. A Moriarty this guy is not, because that would have made him a better villain. The lead character, Marcel Talwar, a former soldier, could be more like Sherlock Holmes, for he is a detective, but the comparison ends there.

The story does have a few very interesting characters, Talwar being one, feral want-to-be-engineer Sylvaine being another. A bunch of side-characters contribute to the story, but their background, like the setting’s, is sparse, jumbled and chaotic. There is enough to keep the story going, but the lack of depth and detail is disappointing. The Sightless City feels like a grand saga that is missing many of the pieces that would make it grand. In the end, it falls flat.

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Space Sweepers

Space Sweepers

Space Sweepers is an action-packed science-fiction adventure that combines elements from other beloved spacefaring franchises, such as Star Wars, Firefly and Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the not too distant future, Earth is dying, humanity under the influence of an evil mastermind and UTS company CEO (never a good idea to let big tech get too much power!) James Sullivan has moved to Mars. The tiny percentage of people who have been allowed to join him live in a new Eden. The rest are left to rot and live in squalor and permanent debt on Earth or in non-citizen space towns.

Enter the motley crew of the salvage ship Victory, each with their own pasts and reasons to hate UTS, and one special little girl who holds the key to literal salvation.

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Adventureman

AdventureMan

Adventureman is the graphic novel pulp-loving readers were waiting for.

It has grand adventures (obviously), dashing heroes, ghosts, magic, science and interesting villains. It’s a perfect combination of a forgotten past and a remembering present, and never have I ever seen a title “The End and Everything After” that was both so self-explanatory and giving away nothing at the same time.

At least, not until you start reading and the story unfolds.

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Lady Mechanika, Volume 6: Sangre

Lady Mechanika, Volume 6

Lady Mechanika‘s sixth volume (chronologically the seventh), Sangre, disappoints and delights.

As always, the storyline is fantastic. The supernatural theme from Volume 5 (review here) is continued, but with a whole other manner of creature on the opposing side. You don’t need to have read the previous volume to understand the events of Sangre, although I recommend reading the chronologically first story of the series, La Dama de La Muerte (review here).

This edition switches between prologue events taking place 500 years before the story of Sangre, drawn by Joe Benitez and Martin Montiel, and the main storyline, drawn by Brian Ching.

Ching is by no means a bad artist. Its just that he’s not in the same league as Benitez and Montiel. And it shows. You see some of the story’s antagonists in the prologue, and they are much cooler; Lady Mechanika is so much more stunning. Their art is just better.

It’s disappointing, after six volumes of a beloved comic starring a much beloved character, to see the world and its inhabitants portrayed in a different manner that isn’t as pleasing as the original. But that is my only gripe.

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Lady Mechanika, Volume 5: La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Lady Mechanika, Volume 5: La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Lady Mechanika returns for a search into her mysterious past. This time, she finally has a few resounding clues thanks to the help of her close friends and allies, Archibald Lewis and Inspector Singh. As was to be expected, the search is difficult at best and perilous at worst. To top it all off, Mr Lewis finds himself in a spot of mortal trouble.

The chronological sixth volume in the series does not disappoint. The art, which has always been stunning, gets even more beautiful in this one. The new villains are splendid, as are the recurring characters. The story is magnificent and I personally can’t wait to see where it goes next.

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The Alienist, Season 2

The Alienist, Season 2

Dr Lazlo Kreisler and his friends (most of them anyway) return to search for a sinister killer of infants in turn-of-the-century New York.

Much like Season 1 (our review here), sordid affairs hidden by members of the upper class and the — often corrupt and incompetent — police are a big part of the setting and storyline. Unlike Season 1, this does not meet expectations, which, after a strong start, were incredibly high.

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Warhol: The American Dream Factory

Andy Warhol, the King of Pop Art, is one of the best-known artists of the twentieth century: an advertisement mogul, creator extraordinaire and mentor to equally famed and fabled artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Even if you’re not familiar with Warhol’s art, you will likely have heard of him and recognize his fabled soup can illustration.

The La Boverie museum in Liège, Belgium has delved deeper than soup cans and portraits of Marilyn Monroe and set up a marvelous expo covering all decades of Warhol’s life and the work he produced in those times. Making Warhol: The American Dream Factory a must-visit (in as far as possible) for fans of modern and midcentury art.

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Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents

Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents

This story takes place in Hammersmythe, where the rich are rich and those that aren’t struggle to make their way in life. One of the latter is John Sinister, down on his luck and sleeping on his sister’s couch.

Until he is asked by a wealthy family, whose children he used to be friends with, to look into the death of their eldest son. Determined to get to the truth about his friend’s death, John sets out on a chase involving murder, espionage, mechanical marvels and… a talking cat!

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