“Rivers of London: Body Work” by Ben Aaronovich & Andrew Cartmel, illustrated by Lee Sullivan (Titan Comics, 2016)


With six books now available in the popular and bestselling urban fantasy Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovich, the author turns to a different medium to tell a story set in his invented world. While other authors tend to adapt their novels into graphic novel format, Aaronovich just wants to tell a whole new story in Rivers of London: Body Work.

PC Peter Grant finds himself involved in an unusual case once again. It begins with a possessed car running amok, trying to kill people. Peter eventually discovers it’s something to do with a car part that is “haunted” and that there are various car parts out there also suffering these paranormal effects. Soon enough Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale joins him and they are on the hunt for the Most Haunted Car in England.

The graphic novel brings to life the book series, as readers get to see what the various characters look like, presumably from the author’s mind. New readers might want to start with the first book in the series, however the graphic novel does give details on the characters to clue readers in on who is who. Body Work is a great story to suck new readers into this incredible world and its amazing characters.

Originally written on March 22, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Rivers of London: Body Work from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“EI8HT Volume 1: Outcast” by Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque (Dark Horse Books, 2015)


There’s a place where lost and abandoned things end up. Not just odd socks from your laundry and keys and other items you’ve misplaced, but bigger things too, even people. It’s known as the Meld. A place outside of time, an inhospitable dimension, where there are those in power subjugating and controlling those who are weaker, and most of reality has no clue this place exists.

Joshua is a chrononaut who has a job to do, which is to get to the Meld and assassinate a specific person. Using a time machine from the near future, he ends up in the Meld with damaged machinery and soon finds himself a captive. Before he knows it he finds himself face to face with the very person he needs to kill. There’s also the beautiful and unusual woman who he’s never seen before, but swears he was talking too just as he arrived in the Meld, as if he somehow knew her.

While the opening concept for Ei8ht seems interesting at first, the storyline quickly devolves into a predictable guns-firing slugging match between the goodies and the baddies that tends to bore the reader more than it does entertain.

Originally written on March 3, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Ei8ht Volume 1: Outcast from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“The Sandman: Overture” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by JH Williams (Vertigo, 2015)

Sandman Overture

Twenty-five years ago the world was introduced to one of the most important comic series ever created and it launched Neil Gaiman’s career. Gaiman put the series to bed some years ago, but now on the quarter-century anniversary he returns to tell a tale he’s had in his imagination since he began the series, as he says in his introduction. It is a story he has wanted to tell for a long time and now readers finally get the chance to enjoy it.

Fans who’ve read Sandman know of the Endless: Delirium, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Death . . . Dream. They know the events – eventual catastrophic ones – of the comic book series. But in The Sandman: Overture, readers get a prequel of sorts. At the beginning of the first Sandman volume, Preludes & Nocturnes, Morpheus is exhausted and has apparently been through a great ordeal and this is that story.

Dream travels to a place and time where he encounters the many manifestations of the sandman across the entire universe. Here a meeting will be conducted and decisions will be made. And then Dream will go on a journey with some unusual companions and meet some family members he didn’t expect to see anytime soon. Again, decisions and choices will need to be made that will affect the entire universe.

One might be hesitant about what to expect when a writer returns to the opus that made him so well known after a quarter century. Will it be a captivating original story or a quick thrown-together thing to milk an already successful series? Fortunately it is the former, and Gaiman shows he had a least one more important story to tell in the Sandman universe that has earned itself a spot next to the other volumes of this popular series.

Originally written on January 13, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Sandman: Overture from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables Volume 22: Farewell” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2015)

Fables 22 Farewell
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It’s been 13 long years, 22 trades, and 150 issues, but the end for the award-winning Fables is finally here. Usually, a final book or volume in a series needs to impress you and make you feel nostalgic for the whole story and make you want to start reading it all over again. Fables Vol. 22: Farewell does exactly this, and in fact would also serve as good “hooking” volume for new readers, as this trade gives a little insight into all the main characters and a large number of secondary and minor characters that makes you want to read the series from the beginning and get the complete story.

Fables began with some core characters, most notably Snow White, Bigby and Rose Red, and Willingham has skillfully steered the last couple of trades to come to a climax between Snow White and Rose Red, tied in with their family and history, which is how it should be. But because this is the last trade and the writer and artist know they have a lot to get through to wrap everything up, they take care of the main story fairly quickly and decently.

And then it is on to a succession “The last story of . . .” for many different characters readers and fans have come to know and love and hate and sometimes forget about over the 13 years of this great comic series. The main characters get all their endings of sorts, but because they are fables while it may not be an “and they lived happily ever after” situation, you know they’re at least satisfied with how things turned out for them and their own, at least for most of them, but so do all the small and seemingly insignificant fables readers have come to know, as well as having some interesting questions finally answered. Readers, whether they be new or veteran, will be delighted with this final chapter on Fables.

Originally written on August 28th, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Volume 22 Farewell from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2015)

Fables 21 Happily Ever After
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Things are coming to a head in this penultimate collected volume before the final showdown that will conclude the long-running, award-winning series. It is a case of good versus evil, as all great battles are, but the lines are severely blurred between who is good and who is evil.

Rose Red has been reborn as King Arthur, having formed the Knights of the Round Table at the Farm, though her prisoner is not as captive as she thinks. And now she must face her Morgan Le Fay, her villain, who turns out to be none other than Snow White, her sister, naturally. Readers get to see some important back story here with the sisters’ mother, who had her own large number of siblings and according to the way things were, these sisters had to kill each other to gain all the magic, and it is the story of Snow White’s and Rose Red’s mother who changed this.

Meanwhile, Bigby is sort of back. Having been turned to glass and then shattered, he was reassembled with a crucial piece still missing. A woman of immense power now possesses that glass shard and is able to control the big bad wolf, as he rampages around New York City, killing and eating like his fabled legend and being very unlike the kind, loving father we know him to be.

As the crescendo builds, Willingham – as he has done for the whole series – builds the tension and adventure and since this is the end, readers have no clue who is going to make it out alive, if anyone actually is.

Originally written on August 2nd, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Saga Vol. 4” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics, 2014)

Saga Volume 4
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In the fourth volume of the hugely popular Saga graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, fans can expect more of the same amazing and thrilling storytelling as the story continues to unfold in new and completely unpredictable ways.

The close-knit family – Alana, Marko and dear little Hazel – are enjoying some private time on a fringe planet called Gardenia, after being on the run from their respective governments for a long time. Alana is an actress in an underground entertainment outlet known as the Open Circuit, but there is a lot of stress and strain forcing her to take a drug to cope. Meanwhile Marko is raising Hazel and seeing very little of his wife, befriending another mother who begins hitting on him, and the overall stress is putting a strain on their relationship.

The secondary story focuses on the Robot Kingdom, where Prince Robot IV’s wife gives birth to his son. Then a plan is hatched by a disgruntled robot janitor, killing the woman and kidnapping the son. Then he travels to Gardenia to complete his nefarious plan, kidnapping Alana and Hazel. Prince Robot IV and Marko must then join forces to save their families.

The wild ride that is Saga continues in this addictive fourth volume which you won’t be able to put down. The art is great as always, filled with vibrant colors that bring these alien worlds and alien people to life. You won’t want it to end, but you also will want to find out what happens next.

Originally written on August 2nd, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Saga Volume 4 from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Saga Volume 1  Saga Volume 2  Saga Volume 3

“Hansel and Gretel” by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti (Toon Books, 2014)

Hansel & Gretel
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We’ve heard the story of the siblings Hansel and Gretel told numerous times throughout our childhood, often in slightly different versions, and often vastly different from that first version recorded by the Brothers Grimm long ago. And now bestselling author Neil Gaiman, of Neverwhere and American Gods, joins forces with talented artist Lorenzo Mattotti to provide a new telling for an old favorite fable.

You can tell from the opening lines that you’re reading another great Neil Gaiman story, as he does a great job of providing some back story to that of Hansel and Gretel , of the struggles their family has gone through and why their mother and father are looking to get rid of them. Eventually they end up lost deep in the woods and stumble upon a house made of gingerbread and candy. You know the rest of the story.

The artwork, which is on every other double page, is not your usual pretty fairytale scenes, but done in harsh black ink with sketchings and shadings that lend a tone that hasn’t really been seen with the story since the original Grimm telling. It is a powerful artwork that adds greatly to the story and keeps the reader fully engrossed. At the end of the book is a brief history of the story, enlightening the reader on its various changes and versions over time.

Originally written on January 1, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Hansel and Gretel from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.