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March 25, 2018

3 New Graphic Novels From Lion Forge

by MK French

Graphic novels are a great way to interest visual people in reading. The following newly published graphic novels would be a great selection to start with if you haven't read graphic novels before.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Dream of the Butterfly Vol. 1: Rabbits on the Moon by Richard Marazano (writer) and Luo Yin (artist)

Dream of teh Butterfy
January 2018; Lion Forge; 978-1941302392
print (112 pages); children 
Tutu is a little girl that was lost from a class trip due to a blizzard. She was swept into a town of talking animals and charged with the crime of being a little girl. In addition, she is expected to know rules without being told what they are and work in the factory to earn her keep. The Emperor can possibly send her home, but only in exchange for the only butterfly that lives in the valley of eternal winter.

Luo Yin's art style in this graphic novel is adorable and full of detail in every panel. Tutu is doing her best to deal with the odd characters she meets but is also easily frustrated by them. There seems to be a few different factions in the town, from the factory workers, the Emperor's rabbit spies, the Flying Bandit and the other human children of the valley. Because no one really explains anything to Tutu, we don't know what these factions are really after. The volume ends on a cliffhanger, just when the robotic form of the Emperor asks Tutu to guess why the butterfly is so important.

This book was nominated for the Angoulême Festival Youth Prize. It's an annual festival in Europe where prizes are awarded in various categories based on age, writing, art, and lifetime achievements in the field. I can see why this story was nominated for the Youth prize, given that Tutu seems to be nine or ten years old in the comic, and the art is so pretty. This volume raises far more questions than it answers, which might be the hook for young readers to continue with the series.

Buy The Dream of the Butterfly Vol 1: Rabbits on the Moon at Amazon

Voltron: Legendary Defender Vol. 2 by Tim Hendrick & Mitch Iverson

 VOlron Legendary Defender 2
February 2018; Lion Forge; 978-1941302354
print (136 pages); science fiction
The Voltron paladins respond to a distress call and find the Davdabhau, a group of alien settlers being attacked by the Galra on a mining planet. They are a warrior race in search of their ancestral hunting grounds and had been tricked into coming to that planet. The paladins agree to accompany them on the dangerous journey to their hunting grounds, fighting a number of dangerous opponents along the way.

I had loved the original Voltron cartoon as a child (lions, not cars!) and the passage of time has really blurred out a lot of my memories of the show. I don't have Netflix, so I haven't seen more than occasional pictures of the new show. Getting a chance to read the comic version was a great introduction and way to see how the characters interact in the new show. The authors write for the Netflix show, so this is definitely in keeping with the new version of the characters. I don't know if this plot line was actually on the show, but it's very straightforward and contained within this volume, so you don't actually need to know too much about the background in order to understand the story.

The art splashes are pretty and very well done, with color coding speech bubbles when all of the lions join to form Voltron. It's a neat trick to visually let you know who is speaking and to keep track of the story as it goes along. Some of the situations are likely very new because I really don't remember characters vying to marry Hunk in the children's cartoon, but it does lead to some comic relief and character bonding moments. This was a fun story overall, and one that I enjoyed with my daughter, who had never seen Voltron before.

Buy Voltron: Legendary Defender Vol. 2 at Amazon

Incidentals Vol. 1: Powers, Lies, and Secrets by Joe Casey, art by Larry Stroman and Rob Stroll

Incidental Volume 1
February 2018; Lion Forge; 978-1941302644
print (152 pages); science fiction
"The Event" gave a number of people superpowers, including the millionaire Bo Vincent Chen. He gathered a team of operatives with powers and is trying to save a girl named Seven from a team of agents that are heavily armed and prepared to take in people with powers.

The art is very dynamically drawn, and the story dives in right away. Maybe because of that, I didn't really feel any particular draw to the characters until about chapter three. There were flashes back to what happened during "The Event" and some of the fallout for the characters, as well as conflicts between Alex and his ex-girlfriend. Bo's team is fairly seamless and there's banter, but with so much emphasis on the action and vague hints at a larger threat, there really wasn't much chance of getting to know them. Maybe that's something for future volumes.

The conclusion of this book has a series of things that led up to "The Event," which ends on a very chilling note. It makes me wonder if this is part of what Bo is worried about for the future. If so, it's definitely something that will have a lot of ramifications for later volumes of this comic.

Buy Incidentals Vol. 1: Powers, Lies, and Secrets at Amazon 

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. Oops! You have the photo for Voltron Volume 1 up there. But OH MY GOSH! I didn't know Volume 2 came out!!! I just ordered my copy! :)

    1. On Goodreads (where I get the cover urls) the covers for vol 1 and 2 are the same, with the addtional of the 2 in the corner for vol 2. I see at Amazon it is a different cover.