THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE is an uninspired graphic novel from Audrey Niffenegger in which a book-loving woman encounters a mysterious bookmobile that contains every book she’s ever read, and nothing else. And years later, she finds it again … Niffenegger clearly things she has Things To Say about reading, but I wasn’t impressed by this enough to try figuring out what they are. As I didn’t care for the author’s Her Fearful Symmetry either, I wonder if Time-Traveler’s Wife is the only thing of hers that’s going to click with me.
I didn’t care at all for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim so perhaps it’s not surprising I don’t care for the author’s SNOTGIRL: Green Hair Don’t Care (art by Leslie Hung). The story of a struggling fashion blogger whose a hyper-allergic mess in real life felt like an overly cute version of pretty much every recent TV sitcom about struggling twentysomethings. That isn’t a good thing.
GREEN ARROW: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen by Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt ties into DC Rebirth not by bringing back the pre-Flashpoint Green Arrow but by soft-rebooting the bland Flashpoint Ollie (art on his first cover by Dave Wilkins, all rights remain with current holder) into the radical activist version. Which is a great idea, as is bringing back the romance with Black Canary, but story is a flop. I can’t see why Dinah is so down on Ollie using his money for philanthropy (which she implies makes him a hypocrite as he’s rich but helping the poor — no, it doesn’t make any sense). The money laundering underworld bankers are adequate villains, except the story treats “bankers who arrange financing for criminal and terrorist activities” as if it were some breathtakingly new idea. To say nothing of the uninspired nomenclature (a problem for other writers too) — seriously, the bankers fire-burned killers are called The Burned?
For a good story about corrupt bankers, we have John Le Carré’s SINGLE AND SINGLE the story of Oliver Single, former lawyer for his father’s extremely dirty bank. Years ago he walked out on Dad and blew the whistle on him to the British government. Now, though, “Tiger” Single is on the run from very angry Russian mobsters over the loss of their money, so Oliver’s back in to try and save Dad and bring the mobsters down. This comes off as Le Carré reworking the father-son issues of A Perfect Spy for a happier ending; good, although the plot largely vanishes midway through the book.
MALORY: The Knight Who Became King Arthur’s Chronicler by Christina Hardyment appealed to me as I love Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, but lost me early on. Apparently there’s not much definite material about Thomas Malory for Hardyment to work with, so what we get is a constant stream if “it’s quite possible Malory did this” or “Malory might have done that,” which is something I’ll accept in small doses, but here Hardyment’s pulling Malory’s entire life out of the air. Equally annoying, she tries to reverse-engineer his life from his work — Malory wrote about pure romantic love, so obviously he couldn’t possibly have accepted an arranged match. Very unimpressive.