Review: The Walking Dead: Compendium One

You think that we hide behind walls to protect us from the walking dead? Don’t you get it? We are the walking dead!

I think it was 2014 or 2015 when I caught up with The Walking Dead TV show. I was obsessed and I’m not even joking when I say that. I was sharing Daryl Dixon pictures on my Facebook page, I bought the Telltale game (which I have yet to play fully) and you can guess the rest. Then the show tanked, it got so bad and the only good things left were Michonne and Negan. It’s taken me until now to read the comics. Surprise surprise, they are far better.

In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living. With The Walking Dead #1-48, this compendium features more than one thousand pages chronicling the start of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-winning story of zombie horror, from Rick Grimes waking up alone in a hospital, his band of survivors seeking refuge on an isolated farm and the controversial introduction of Woodbury despot, The Governor.

*****Trigger Warnings for body horror, gore, mutilation, death of a parent, rape, physical and sexual assault, suicide, self-harm and domestic abuse******

So lets get this out of the way first, this is a complete tome that is over 1000 pages and I was reading this for a while. However, something I really enjoyed was once I sat down and opened this sheer brick of a collection, it was very easy to be sucked in to the story. So if the sheer length of it scared you, it is very easy to sail through it.

This is a sad and bitter world with people reduced to relying on survival instincts. Trusting your fellow man isn’t an option and there are no laws or government. Nothing of our old world remains and there is this constant unknowing if there is a government still there and if society will return if at all. I really liked the bleak reality of it and it was done far better in the comics. I think this has a lot to do with the pacing (more on that shortly) but there is less exposition on when things will be fixed which I do prefer and more ‘we need to survive this, let’s get moving.’ to the world as a whole.

This is mostly told from Rick Grime’s perspective and the creators have advised before that this is his story. Rick is the main focus of the plot driving the whole story as he begins in this compendium as the small town cop who is looking for his family and how he becomes the ruthless leader of a group of survivors. Rick has always interested me since he can be very realistic, and he is by no means an always good man. He has genuinely frightening moments that make him just as much of a problematic character as the people he is trying to defend himself from. Kirkman made a really good point about Rick in an interview where he described him as much more of an every-man who is very gentle, making him the perfect one to challenge in this world where the zombies don’t disappear after the credits roll. This series is what happens after that.

Obviously the “zombies” aren’t the main threat, more of an annoyance and a challenge for these people. If you like genuinely scary villains with messed up agendas and stories that really go there, you will probably love this. In terms of story arc, this book covers Rick and his awakening from his coma to the end of The Governor story line. The Governor wasn’t as compelling to me in the show the further it went on but the comics go there. He is frightening right from the start , he does everything the vilest human being you can think of could do and he takes it that step further. There is also the best damn revenge plot for him I will add. If it spoils sorry, but you might need to know.

Some smaller things stopped me from giving this a full 5 stars. One of them being that there are a few characters that are a bit too weird for me, not helping that I am comparing them to their TV counterparts. The other small thing I did have an issue with was the lack of emotional connection I had with any of the characters with how fast the plot moved. But that is to be expected so that’s just me.

The art is standout in this book. It’s black and white, totally scaled back and it really works to keep you consistently engaged in the story. This was a choice on behalf of the creators for both budget and the level of gore they wanted to go for. But even besides the fact it hides the very large amounts of blood, it really fits the mood of the story. You’re not going to care if this was done in any colour scheme once you get sucked into this story. Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard after him really managed a feat here with defining characters with limited options which does not take away from defining each character from each other. Yuo can easilt tell who is who and their feelings, it’s literally perfect.

This is the first 48 issues of the series and the culmination of the story cut through me. I honestly can’t wait to start the next compendium (thank you to my friend who lended these to me and who is super patient with me reading these slowly) Again, the size of these shouldn’t put you off. These are perfect for starting off while also being easy to get into. Do let me know if you are a fan! Happy reading all!

★★★★/5

Review: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

Now it has been a WHILE since I covered comics on the blog. It has also been a while since I read a Teen Titans story. This book also was one of the graphic novels I couldn’t wait for last year since I have been following Gabriel Picolo and his amazing art for years. So naturally, I only read it last week.

When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom–and Raven’s memory–she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school. Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before. But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past…and the darkness building inside her.

Re-imagining characters in a new way is a hard thing to pull off, especially in comics. People always come to a comic with the idea in their heads of how they experienced a character for the first time and how the new version compares. Like many, my first time meeting Raven was the Teen Titans cartoon on Cartoon Network and the subsequent DC animated works after. This vision of Raven measures up to everything and more that i was hoping for.

For a start, Garcia is the perfect choice for writing this. Choosing a YA writer to write a teenage character is generally always a good choice but here I think it works best of all with Raven being a character who is accessible now to younger readers. I think this is also a great jumping on point for adults too actually, especially if you never read a Teen Titans book.

Something that I find can be done very poorly in classic comics being brought into the current day is new characters that have never existed before. Both Garcia and Picolo together have created Max, Raven’s foster sister and new friend. I wish characters like Max had existed when I started reading comics, she is such a realistic teenager but she is also one of the few teens I have seen in comics who has a good relationship with her mother. Also as is revealed later on, Max has enough of her own shit going on and she handles it like a champ. Note, if you are a long time DC fan, you will spot a well known character connected with the titans here too!

Now to my favourite part. The art. Noone draws the Teen Titans like Gabriel Picolo. I will die on that hill. There are other amazing artists like Jen Bartel who draw the Teen Titans regularly but their appearance does tend to be based on Picolo’s vision. He draws them like teens would be dressed, in the style of Snapchats and just doing normal teen things. This was al before Raven was announced and I imagine that I wasn’t the only one that cheered.

There is a very particular palette as well in the story that keeps with Raven and her aesthetic and I honestly hope this becomes more common across other comics and graphic novels. There are generally two palettes I see in DC, and named them in my head. We have ‘the muddy’ for the edgier stories that are more along the kine of the Black Label and then ‘the bold’ for all the others. Some have both (looking at you Suicide Squad). This was a blessing to see.

I can’t not talk about the clothes. Holy shit if anyone can do fashion besides Kevin Wada, it is Gabriel Picolo. The way Raven dresses makes me long for that wardrobe in my own life. I think some of my favourites are her raven hoodie/jacket and her ‘Black is my happy colour’ shirt. Those shoes too, talk about goals.

There is thankfully a sequel being published this year (hopefully, looking at you Rona) that follows Beast Boy and I think I am safe to assume Raven will make another appearance there. But more importantly, I can’t wait to see what else this team has to offer.

I think I made the best decision to read this now of all times and get me back to reading. Again this is definitely a good place to start if you are reading either graphic novels and comics or to the Teen Titans. Stay safe everyone and happy reading to you all!

★★★★★/5

Sunday Shorts: 3 Mini Reviews (09.02.20)

Welcome back to Sunday Shorts! This is my first write up of shorter works in 2020 so far. Just in case anyone wasn’t aware, I changed job over the holiday period so most of January has been a settling in period for me. And being a typical Hedwig, I had four blog tours. No matter, lets talk about the shorter pieces I have read so far this year.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth

Title: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries)
Author: Martha Wells
Genre: Science Fiction

I’m not gonna lie, I read this between jobs in work. I couldn’t put it down! I don’t think I have ever related to a character as much as I did Murderbot. I too want nothing more than hours of books, TV shows and movies while avoiding all humans. This is a very touching story with really great characters. Its also definitely also one of the the most quotable scifi books I read in a while. It’s also an incredible start to a series. I’m definitely aiming to catch up for the new novel in May.

★★★★★/5

Coffee, New Orleans & Zombies.

Title: Bitter Grounds
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Dark/Contemporary Fantasy

This was an interesting one. I read this one afternoon while nosing through tor.com and remembered vaguely from one of the short story collections. I read it in about a half hour but it gave me such strange feelings. The summary of the story is minimal for reason, to interpret this story is to spoil it. All I will say is, from judging online, everyone has a similar and different explanation for it. Fantastic structure, memorable imagery and a very lasting mood.

★★★★/5

Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. Until he is found, his realm’s residents must protect its broken borders alone. But the most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon. Only Dora, the monstrous, finds opportunity in madness, stealing dreams for the highest bidder. But she has no idea how deep the danger lies. Meanwhile, in Daniel’s gallery, something new is growing…

Title: The Dreaming Vol. 1: Pathways and Emanations
Authors: Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely (Illustrator), Neil Gaiman
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy, horror

Okay, if for some daft reason you are not after reading The Sandman series, you are wandering into MASSIVE SPOILER TERRITORY. This is your final warning.

I am trying to catch up with all my comics recently and this is one of my main series I have on my pull list. This was a wonderful reread but again, I feel so many complicated things towards this continuation. Daniel being absent, Lucien literally falling apart and to be honest that ending too? I am very stiff to accept it but I’m in no way dis encouraged to keep reading and get up to date. I did like seeing more of the nightmares and the art by Everly is AMAZING.

★★★★/5

That’s all I have this week for Sunday Shorts! I do have a plan to do a series comparing the new Sandman Universe to the original series but that won’t be for another while. Also, is it really a Sunday Short if I don’t discuss one Neil Gaiman work?

Have you read any of these? (Please say Sandman) Do tell me in the comments! Happy reading everyone!

Locke and Key: Volumes 1&2 by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez Review

Joe Hill is one of my favourite authors of all time and his work in comics is no different to the wonderful writing of his novels. I was lucky enough to meet him at World Con this year and I felt it high time I read Locke and Key again.

Locke and Key takes place across 6 main volumes whole following the Locke family living in Keyhouse. After the sudden death of their father, the Locke family find themselves moving to the town of Lovecraft. What should be the fresh start they need is replaced with some mysterious keys, a monster in a well and a

Both the first and second volume of this series set up the town of Lovecraft and Keyhouse for us. Lovecraft is your typical small town with an undisclosed past that we are currently only given glimpses of through various characters. Keyhouse however is very present on the page with it’s many unraveling mysteries. First off the house has a well house, that’s your first red flag. Among other things there’s a door that with the right key you can become a ghost when you unlock it.

The keys are the true highlight alongside the 3 Locke children; Bode, Kinsey and Tyler. By the end of Volume 2:Head Games we know that names and functions of 5 keys, with the mention of another. I intend to review 2 volumes at a time with this series so I will expand on them all once I finish the series. As mentioned the real standout is the Locke family themselves. I do think that the keys are tied to young people somehow since there are flashbacks of the previous lives of the parents of the Locke children and their peers but I will have to wait and see.

Dodge however is my favourite character so far. Dodge is the villian of the series so far. Introduced as a woman who lives in the wellhouse (I did warn you) who only talks to Bode, the youngest Locke child, then later is freed and changes both gender and identity and befriends Tyler, the eldest. Dodge has a few identities and changes gender with one of the keys to suit his/her agenda. Dodge also comes back to settle some kind of score with the previous generation of Lovecraft and I can’t wait to see what he/she has in store.

Hill and Rodriguez have a unique pairing that I have only seen once or twice in comics, where the art is made real by the writing and the writing is useless without the art. Hill is a fantastic novelist with a gift for pacing and the horrific but honestly this wouldn’t work without the unique way it is brought to life by Rodriguez and his unique style.

Thank you for reading, have you read Locke and Key? Have you read the whole series? Tell me below as I continue to unravel the mystery of Keyhouse.

  • Locke and Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft -★★★★/5
  • Locke and Key Vol 2: Head Games – ★★★★.5/5

Welcome to Hedwig’s World

Good Evening! My name is Kayleigh, but you can call me Hedwig. Welcome to my blog!

I’m delighted to finally have a blog up and running at last. I’ve wanted to set one up for a while now and it is here at last. First of all, I love books. I adore reading and living between the pages of another world is my ultimate love. That is why I have created this blog primarily, to write reviews, share my opinions and just meet more bookish folk who understand my love of reading.

I’m also a big fan of comics, conventions, Dungeons&Dragons and horror movies. I’m a massive nerd basically. I aim to discuss these things on this blog too if they interest you! In terms of book genre, I mostly read fantasy, sci fi and horror but read a lot of graphic novels/comics, non fiction and literary fiction too. Variety is important to me and so is learning new things.

I’m an artist also, but I’m currently working in administration to take a break from 4+ years in art education/work. Feel free to find me on Twitter and Instagram if you want to talk more but overall, thank you for reading and I can’t wait to get started here! (Yes that is Spike. I am am big Buffy nerd).

Stay spooky!