Spidey and his Amazing Friends: Team Spidey Does It All!

Peter Parker teams up with Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy for the Spidey and His Amazing Friends franchise, which features the trio having adventures together as Spidey, Miles, and Ghost-Spider. Based on the Disney Junior TV show, this comic is aimed at young children and features silly humor and childlike, prank-pulling versions of villains Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and Rhino. While it follows the show’s premise, this volume is made up of all-new stories.

This comic begins with an introduction to the heroes and villains, then a brief explanation of how to read comic panels. From there, it dives into a series of over a dozen short adventures, each ranging from two to eight pages long. These stories are fast-paced but gentle: no one gets hurt, including the villains, and there are often silly twists. Occasionally, we get cameos from other Marvel heroes, like Black Panther, the Hulk, and Ms. Marvel.

In some stories, the heroes face villain-free challenges like getting to a movie on time or making cookies for Aunt May. When villains do appear, they are up to mild or nonspecific mischief – Green Goblin tries to steal parade balloons, Rhino threatens to “smash the city” unless Spidey races him, Doc Ock tries to turn a park into a giant aquarium, and so on. These are often resolved with outcomes that leave even the villains satisfied: for instance, it turns out Green Goblin is playing pranks at the library because he is upset he can’t check out books, but he is happy to stop when the heroes help him get a library card.

Given the pace and length of these stories, there isn’t a lot of time for character development. It is clear, though, that the three heroes are friends, and they support and care about each other as well as others, like Aunt May and her cat Bootsie. Like good superheroes, they will drop what they are doing to help others.

The art is bright and dynamic. All of the heroes and villains except for Rhino and the Hulk are drawn child-sized and with childlike proportions, which is especially clear when they appear with an adult character like Aunt May. Backgrounds are colorful and detailed, but do not compete with the characters, in part because the characters tend to have thicker, bolder outlines than anything else in the panels. Most pages have three or four panels each, but the layout varies, adding visual interest.

A dozen words throughout the story have asterisks marking them as vocabulary words, which are defined at the end of the book. Many of these are terms specific to the Spider-Man universe, but the list also includes words like “trap” and “invisible.” The book specifies on its back cover that it is a “Level 1 title tailored for ages 5 to 7” and that its Lexile Level is 400L, all of which may be useful to potential readers and their parents and teachers.

Spider-Man has long been popular with children. Unlike a lot of superhero media, this comic offers action and humor but no scary danger or violence, making it a good fit for young fans.

Spidey and his Amazing Friends: Team Spidey Does It All!
By Steve Behling
Art by  Giovanni Rigano, Antonello Dalena, Ellen Willcox
Marvel, 2022
ISBN: 9781368076074

Publisher Age Rating: 5 to 7
Series ISBNs and Order
Related media:  TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)
Character Representation: Afro-Puerto-Rican, Assumed White,

The Expanse

For hardcore fans of the television and book series of the same name, The Expanse graphic novel adds little of substance to the space opera universe it is set within.

Set between seasons 4 and 5 of the TV show, this book focuses on an investigation, led by former Martian marine Bobbie Draper, into a smuggling ring run between Mars, Earth, the Belt, and possibly a new party. Aided by Chrisjen Avasarala, former Secretary-General of the UN based out of Earth’s Luna, the pair quickly get in over their heads.

For those who have not read the books or seen the show, the story is a thrilling science fiction space opera with a large cast of characters. Mars is its own independent military planet, with intelligence and strength praised above all else. Earth sees itself as the head of the galaxy, with political leaders constantly negotiating alliances and trying to unearth what Mars or the Belt is up to. Belters are those who belong to neither planet, instead normally residing amongst or beyond the asteroid belt or dwelling on other planets’ moons. 

Between all these is the limitless space, or the expanse, and many of our characters fly through it between these planets and various space stations. There’s ample source material here for an exciting story, which is why it was so disappointing to read a story that feels like filler material. Writer Corinna Bechko pens a plot that is given no resolution, as the story she begins finishes in the fifth season of the TV show. For fans of the show, this also takes the “impending doom” feeling so prevalent in the show’s most exciting moments and makes it essentially non-existent. We already know how this story ends, so the stakes are not even present. It would have been more exciting, for new readers and for fans, to get a story that fleshes out some unseen corner of the universe instead of time spent with well-known characters. Add to this some rather stilted dialogue for both Bobbie and Chrisjen, and the graphic novel is skippable for even the most die-hard fans.

All of this could have been saved if the art by Alejandro Aragon captured the commanding presence of Avasarala or the stern resoluteness of Bobbie. But it just doesn’t. Often the character’s faces are like blobs with lines, with little definition given to the expressions being conveyed in the text. Chrisjen is often the victim of this, with her face being drawn amorphous to the rest of the ways her character is depicted. Add to this the many, many panels given very dark colorations and we end up with a rather muddy representation of what The Expanse could be.

Age ratings for The Expanse seem to be mixed. The publisher suggests teen, but I could not find a lot of information about this series online. I would say teen is an ok rating though, as there is not any content within that would be too adult for that age range. However, the TV show itself probably appeals to the older teen and adult crowd, so I would place this title where they have easy access.

However, when it comes down to it, I would not recommend this graphic novel to a friend, let alone a library. If for some reason, the friend is as obsessed with the TV show as I am, I would feel it my duty to let them know they are wasting their time. For a library, there are many other graphic novels and comics worthy of your budget. If you have a big following of the show at your library, I’d ensure a constantly maintained collection of the prose series over this graphic novel.

The Expanse
By Corinna Bechko
Art by Alejandro Aragon
BOOM! Studios, 2021
ISBN: 9781684156917

Publisher Age Rating: 13+
Related media:  Book to Comic, TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)

Doctor Who: Missy: The Master Plan

They say that a hero is only as good as their villain. Would Sherlock Holmes be as impressive without a Professor Moriarty to test him? Would Superman be as super without a Lex Luthor? Absolutely not! This belief is what drives The Master, the twisted counterpart of The Doctor, who is driven to conquer everything The Doctor strives to protect.

The Master’s current incarnation and first female incarnation, who goes by the nickname Missy (short for Mistress) is neck-deep in another scheme, seeking a Time Lord artifact known as the Key to Time. And she is not working alone, having gone back in time to enlist the help of an unexpected ally—the first incarnation of The Master to battle The Doctor on Earth. There is, however, the slight complication that The Master is currently in an ultra-secure prison, leading Missy to pose as the newest incarnation of The Doctor, come to check up on her greatest enemy. Because Missy knows how untrustworthy her past self is and isn’t about to give away the game just yet by needlessly risking a paradox. Yet.

Doctor Who: Missy: The Master Plan is another brilliant Doctor Who story from Jody Houser, who has been wowing Doctor Who fans with her Thirteenth Doctor comics, as well as specials like Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious, for some time now. There are two reasons why Houser is rightly praised as a Doctor Who writer. First, Houser has a tremendous grasp of the characters, and fans of the show are sure to hear the velvet purr of Michelle Gomez and the distinctive voice of Roger Delgado as they read Missy and The Master’s dialogue. Second, despite showing a clear knowledge of the show’s history and the characters, Houser makes her stories accessible to newcomers, so fans of the current Doctor Who series, who might never have seen a classic Third Doctor story, will not need to worry about becoming lost in the narrative.

Roberta Ingranata once again proves herself the perfect partner in crime to Jody Houser. Best known for her work on Witchblade, Ingranata has established herself as one of the premiere Doctor Who artists ever since Titan Comics picked up the license several years ago. The likenesses of the actors from the show are captured perfectly, yet show none of the stiffness that is sometimes seen in comic book adaptations of a popular television show. The expressions of the characters are natural and the action flows smoothly from panel to panel in a way that is frankly gorgeous.

This volume is rated 12+ and I consider that to be a fair and accurate rating. There is nothing in this book that would be considered objectionable for teenage audiences, and I dare say some younger children could probably handle the language and the content. There is no sex, nudity, harsh language, or gory violence. There is a fair bit of action, however, with some daring sword fights, but nobody dies, and no bloodshed is depicted. I highly recommend this volume to all fans of Doctor Who and anyone who might be looking for an entry into the comics based on the show, if not the show itself.

Doctor Who: Missy: The Master Plan
By Jody Houser
Art by Roberta Ingranata
Titan, 2021
ISBN: 9781787736450

Publisher Age Rating: 12+
Related media:  TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Character Representation:  Ambiguous Mental Illness

Big Hero Six: The Series, vol. 1

Fans of the 2014 Disney film Big Hero 6, loosely based on the eponymous Marvel superhero team, will enjoy this manga adaptation of the spinoff Disney XD series Big Hero 6: The Series. The first volume includes three chapters, each of which has the same title as its corresponding episode of the series. In Chapter 1: Issue 188, Hiro’s thermodynamics professor pairs him up with an unfriendly girl named Karmi, whose place as the youngest student at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology was supplanted by 14-year-old Hiro. In a Big Hero 6 showdown against mother-daughter supervillain team High Voltage, Hiro saves Karmi’s life, leading Karmi to develop a huge crush on Big Hero 6 member Hiro—whom she doesn’t realize is the same person as her classmate. Big Hero 6 member and comic aficionado Fred tells the group about the infamous comic Captain Fancy Issue #188 and suggests they may glean useful information from the elusive comic. That is, if they can convince Fred’s archnemesis, 10-year-old comic collector Richardson Mole, to let them read it.

In Chapter 2: Failure Mode, Hiro is tasked with creating a miniature building that can withstand an earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 9.0. He procrastinates, and the building he ends up turning in instantly falls apart. When he finds out that all of his follow-up ideas for the building have already been tried, he becomes disheartened. Healthcare companion robot Baymax shows Hiro video footage of his late brother Tadashi considering giving up after his 58th attempt to create Baymax; obviously he persevered, since he successfully completed Baymax. Meanwhile, local villain Globby attempts to steal art from the local museum, and Big Hero 6 member Honey Lemon teaches Baymax about art. This subplot is very charming, with the logical robotic Baymax struggling to understand emotional concepts; it is reminiscent of and will appeal to fans of Data’s characterization in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Case in point, Baymax’s mechanical explanation for his desire to learn about art: “I am coded to expand my therapeutic capabilities. Perhaps I should increase my understanding of art.”

In Chapter 3: Baymax Returns Part 1, we see how Hiro recreated Baymax after the events of the Big Hero 6 film. Yama, a criminal whom Hiro defeated in bot fights in the film, steals Baymax’s exoskeleton and attempts to blackmail Hiro into stealing a mysterious sculpture from his professor’s office. This chapter occurs chronologically before either of the other chapters, so the choice to place it at the end of the first volume of this manga is strange. Since it’s a two-parter, it seems the decision was made solely so this volume would have a cliffhanger. But the cliffhanger’s tension is undermined by the knowledge that Hiro must succeed in retrieving Baymax, since Baymax appears in the other chapters unharmed.

The art differs between the film and series, and since this manga is based on the series, one would guess the art would mirror its 2D hand-drawn animation style. But by drawing the characters in kodomo anime-style art, Hong Gyun An evokes the rounded 3D animation of the original film. The illustrations are rendered in full color, though the colors are more muted than those of the film or the series. Unlike typical manga, this book is read from left to right. Consider purchasing this series where the Big Hero 6 franchise is popular, or where kodomo adventure manga like Pokemon Adventures circulates well.

Big Hero Six: The Series, vol. 1
By Hong Gyun An
Yen Press JY, 2021
ISBN: 9780316474641
Publisher Age Rating: 8 and up
Related media: Movie to Comic, TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)
Character Representation: Japanese-American

Mighty Morphin Volume 2

There’s a new Green Ranger in town, and he’s not playing by Zordon and the other rangers’ rules. 

Following the ending of both flagship Power Ranger comics, Boom! relaunches with Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers. The latter series focuses on the Omega Rangers: Trini, Zack, and Jason and their adventures in space, while this volume and its predecessor focuses on the second generation of the tv show team from the 90s. Tommy has become the White Ranger and leads the team of Kimberly, Billy, Aisha, Rocky, and Adam against Lord Zedd and his foes. However, someone has joined the rangers in the field in a redesigned version of Tommy’s old green suit. Who is this ranger, and why are they not working side-by-side with our team of heroes?

Writer Ryan Parrott has been penning the rangers for almost five years now and has taken over both of the Boom! titles in the new launch. Because of this, threads planted years ago in Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers pay off with a major character reveal at the end of volume one. Parrott also has justifications for character developments that happened in the show, such as Billy’s increased isolationism from the rest of the other rangers. Lastly, the voice for the Green Ranger is refreshing as they have a great insight on why the rangers need to be more open to the people of Angel Grove. Volume 2 delves into the Green Ranger’s motivations more closely, after the big identity reveal closing out the first volume.

Artist Marco Renna’s more futuristic depiction of Angel Grove and scenes in Zordon’s past give a science fiction bend to the title not seen since the rangers visited space early in the first run. It’s hard to take over a comic that has been running for four years, but Renna has taken the characters and made them his own. His Zordon, for example, emotes a lot more than previous iterations and can do so with a tilt of his head.

This new series pairs well with its sister title Power Rangers to make for a decent sized collection for libraries. As Higgins pens both titles, the series would be shelved next to each other in any library using author’s names for organization. To separate from the previous comics, BOOM! calls this the ‘Unlimited Power’ era of the rangers. 

Further, while there are ties to events in past comics, I feel they do a decent enough recap that you do not have to purchase the backlog if you can’t afford it. That being said, Parrott worked well with writer Kyle Higgins on the first generation of BOOM! Rangers, so if you have the budget look into some of their other works.

Mighty Morphin, vol. 2
By Ryan Parrott
Art by Marco Renna
BOOM! Studios, 2021
ISBN: 9781684157020

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Series ISBNs and Order: Volume 1 ISBN: 9781684156702
Related media: TV to Comic

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Rise of Drakkon

The Green with Evil plotline is one of the biggest changes in early Power Rangers history. Tommy is freed from Rita’s power, joining the team as the sixth member and eventual leader. But what if Tommy had decided to go back to Rita for more power, and gone full villain? 

Enter the world of the Coinless: an apocalyptic version of Angel Grove where the depowered surviving rangers are in hiding and Rita Repula is dead. This volume collects materials from both Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers to tell the origins of Lord Drakkon, the evil green ranger.

The writing team is split with Kyle Higgins largely on Mighty and Ryan Parrott on Saban. While the writers are both great at writing the rangers from the television show, it’s the writing for Drakkon and the Coinless that really brings in the reader. Tommy’s fall from grace in early issues, and his corruption by Rita’s power, causes the death of one of the rangers. Trini and Zack lead the group of people in hiding using whatever tech they can salvage from their time as rangers. And while this volume does contain a complete arc and story, it also sets up the next big event, Shattered Grid.

As this is a compendium, a number of artists are included, but three feature largely throughout. Hendry Prasetya’s work features Billy and Tommy stranded in the Drakkon timeline and his use of light and shadow throughout are on full display. The differences between Drakkon and Tommy have Tommy often looking up into the light, with Drakkon looking down into the shadows cast over him. Jonas Scharf takes over the series from Prasetya and the change in style is stark. Scharf’s ranger helmets look more bulky and cumbersome over Prasetya’s more sleek designs. Finally, Dan Mora’s peeks into the Shattered Grid event shows us the Drakkon version of Kimberly and his art feels as if it were in motion as he details the jumps and flips Kimberly does through the wreckage of Angel Grove High.

This volume is actually one of the best jumping on points for a library with little to no Power Rangers, unless you would prefer to start with the newest series Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers. If you were to purchase this volume, you could follow it up with the Shattered Grid volumes to have a substantial part of the series so far.

Boom! Studios did not provide an age rating, but this would fit in well with the teens 13 and up as well as nostalgic adults. The volume is just shy of 300 pages, and collects over 11 issues worth of material, so you get a lot of material for the price. If you’ve got a budget, you could easily skip the first 9 volumes of these series (Mighty’s first 6 and Saban’s first 3) and purchase this compendium instead.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Rise of Drakkon
By Kyle Higins
Art by  Hendry Prasetya, Jonas Scharf, Dan Mora,  Ritchie
BOOM! Studios, 2020
ISBN: 9781684156351

Related media:  TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)

Go Go Power Rangers, vol. 9

Go Go Power Rangers Volume 9The band always breaks up, and in this bittersweet finale to Go Go Power Rangers, we see just that as Jason, Trini, and Zack transfer their powers to Rocky, Aisha, and Adam. Replicating a scene from the show, the new rangers’ empowerment as the OG three leave for an International Peace Conference. In the TV show, that’s it for Jason, Trini, and Zack, but in the comic, it’s another story.

But first, a quick rundown of Go Go Power Rangers and its parent series Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Kicking off in 2016, MMPR told ‘current’ tales of the team after Green Ranger Tommy had joined. Go Go, instead, is the team in their formative years pre-Tommy and Lord Zedd. These series crossed over with an apocalyptic timeline in an event called Shattered Grid in which Power Rangers teams from every show and movie battle in Infinity Waresque style to save the multiverse. 

This brings us to the ending of both series in another event called Necessary Evil. This event features the change of Tommy from the Green to the White Ranger, as well as the introduction of the three replacement rangers. It also re-introduces the Blue Emissary, a near-omnipotent genderless being who has a connection to the Morphing Grid. At volume open, they have recruited Jason, Trini, and Zack for an undercover space mission.

The story in this volume has a lot of payoffs for long readers of the series, but they try to remind you of enough that new readers can pick up the main story too. Ryan Parrott, who has written the title since it began, is joined by Sina Grace, and their rangers all read like you’d expect if you grew up watching the show. Deciding to make the original three keep such a big secret from their friends draws a wedge between the group, but also allows for a twist on such a monumental storyline from Power Rangers history. Instead of leaving for a peace conference as stated, it turns out the trio left to become the Omega Rangers, traversing space for interstellar threats. In fact, by the end of the volume, we are left with two Power Rangers teams that Parrott spins-out to the ongoing Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers.

The multi-colored team of rangers have fantastic art from Francesco Mortarino with an almost anime-meets-Disney style when it comes to the characters’ faces. Also of note are these great character beats showing just Tommy in his suit and helmet as he faces new dilemmas as team leader. I felt like I could almost see Tommy’s gears turning as he plans his course of action, as Mortarino somehow found a way to have Tommy emote through a completely expressionless mask. The final splash page showcasing all ten(!) rangers is beautiful, and I honestly wouldn’t mind a print for my office.

Would I recommend purchasing all nine volumes of Go Go and all fourteen of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Not in every case. They are both great series, but unless you know that you’ll get the checkouts, twenty-three volumes is a bit of a money sink. For libraries new to collecting Power Rangers titles I would either start with the Necessary Evil crossover volumes (Go Go 7-9 & Mighty Morphin 11-14) to test the waters, or just start with the newly launched 2020 series. However, if you know it will circulate, I’d pick up the entire series in the cheaper omnibus editions. Both series garnered widespread acclaim, and launched newfound interest in the franchise after the unsuccessful feature film. I actually own the first 25 issues of Mighty Morphin myself, bought the series for my libraries, and recommend it to patrons so I am a big fan of the comic!

BOOM! includes this among their teen titles for ages 13 and up, which I agree with for collection placement, but also get this for nostalgic adults who grew up watching the show. This volume collects issues 29-32 of the Go Go Power Rangers series.

Go Go Power Rangers, vol. 9
By Ryan Parrott, Sina Grace
Art by Francesco Mortarino
BOOM! Studios, 2021
ISBN: 9781684157686
Publisher Age Rating: 13+

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Legacy Edition Book Two

Return to Sunnydale with Buffy and the Scoobies in this second volume of Boom’s re-published Legacy material. Selke, the vampire introduced in issue 2, is back and forming a master plan while Buffy deals with her normal “monster-of-the-week” problems. While it is not essential to have read Legacy Book One going in, this volume builds off of characters introduced in said volume.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an adaptation of the TV show of the same name, which pits Buffy and her friends (nicknamed the Scooby Gang) against various vampires, monsters, and demons. Much like Supernatural, Buffy normally has a Big Bad and overarching season plot while the characters face-off against different (weaker) foes every week. The workings of Selke bookending the other events in the issues replicates this series formula in book format.

Joining returning writers Christopher Golden and Andi Watson is show writer Doug Petrie, and their three writing styles seem to really gel. While I still have some story focus problems (i.e. an entire issue on Xander and the toxic masculinity), as a Buffy fan I think the characters sound consistently true to themselves. The volume benefits from Doug Petrie as he really nails not only character voices, but the overall pacing and feel of an episode of the show. They continue to deal with issues teens face: over-sexualization of women, parental expectations, and even addiction with the hooligans. This volume differs from the first, however, as the use of Selke allows for there to be a Big Bad through line even during some of the weaker issues.

Gone is any of the over-sexualization I felt in volume one, with a more consistent art style by Cliff Richards and Joe Bennett. However, guest artist Ryan Sook’s art for the story Bad Dog stood out as it had similar linework to Moonshine or The Dark Knight Returns. The use of blue, purple, and red in this story strengthens that comparison and makes for a stark contrast to Richards and Bennett’s more detailed faces and different colors. The art in the remainder of the book feels tonally the same, with the switch between artists harder to notice.

I’d recommend this volume to any library which has a strong Buffy following. If you decided to skip out on volume one, I would not start by purchasing book two even though it is stronger than its predecessor. Again, the publisher did not provide an age rating but I would go with older teens and nostalgic adults.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Legacy Edition Book Two
By Andi Watson, Christopher Golden, Doug Petrie
Art by Cliff Richards, Hector Gomez
BOOM! Studios, 2020
ISBN: 9781684155330

Related media:  TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)

Angel Season Eleven, Library Edition

I should be the target audience for Angel Season Eleven, and as a matter of fact, for a long time I was. I am a long-time fan of both television series, and a long-time comics reader. I’ve read and collected past comics of both Buffy and Angel, two shows whose runs have been extended by additional “seasons” of comics. I have even have gotten collections signed at comics conventions. As an added bonus, Joss Whedon had nothing to do with the creation of this book, so I can breathe a sigh of relief at not enabling him in light of recent accusations. All of this is to say, believe me when I tell you that this latest season… was not very good.

It’s not bad, mind you. The dialog can get a little stilted and exposition heavy, but is largely agreeable. The art is workmanlike, missing a lot of dynamism in the action or layouts, but perfectly easy to follow. Likenesses are fairly accurate, when appropriate. There’s nothing particularly offensive in the construction or the story of this comic. But it’s just so boring

Even the plot, which as a time travel caper in a series largely about fate and prophecy should be new and exciting, turns out to be a bit of a bottle episode. The broad plot is a time travel paradox visiting Illyria’s origins, Angel’s origins, and a pirate ship. It would honestly be a perfectly fine Doctor Who story, but doesn’t seem to fit with previous Angel tales.

Normally, I would explain more about the characters or the setting in this review, but the book isn’t particularly interested in that, so why should I be? This is strictly for fans of the show and previous comics. There isn’t much attention given to who the characters are or what they can do, or establishing much in the way of personality. The main characters are Angel and Fred/Illyria. There are some interesting wrinkles to Fred’s situation as she shares a physical form with an ancient demon, where previously on the television show it was explained to be just the demon, but things change. Even coming from a fandom background I found myself lost at times. Perhaps I missed a season? Angel’s the same as he ever was at any rate. The rest of his supporting cast is absent, and the book takes place in Dublin rather than California. 

The publisher does not provide a suggested age range for readers, but I would recommend older teens or adults. The time travel plot and paradox have hints of Doctor Who and it can be shelved very similarly. The content is about on par with the show, meaning there is horror and violence, but neither is taken to any extreme. 

If your library already has the previous season collections of Angel this could be a good addition. Perhaps it makes more sense in company with comics Seasons Nine and Ten. It has been a while since I read those, and my memory is foggy. I would not recommend it as a standalone volume, however. It is unlikely to attract new readers to the series based on the art or writing merits, and will not make very much sense. If you’re just starting, I would recommend finding earlier seasons or the current reboot by Hill and Menikov.

Angel Season Eleven, Library Edition
By Corinna Bechko
Art by Geraldo Borges, Zé Carlos
BOOM! Studios, 2020
ISBN: 9781684155286

Related media:  TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)

Power Rangers: Sins of the Future

Justice League, Avengers, Power Rangers. As a child of the 90s, those were the big three superhero teams I grew up with, and Power Rangers: Sins of the Future capitalizes on that by being a direct sequel to one of the most popular entries of the series, Time Force. As a standalone released by BOOM!, it holds up well compared to other OGNs in the series and even the ongoing comic.

Time Force, for those unsavvy to the show’s history, follows Pink Ranger Jen Scotts as she travels back in time from the year 3000. Her mission? Stop the evil mutant Ransik, who murdered Red Ranger Alex, and traveled to the year 2001 to change history. Bringing her team of rangers, Jen is shocked to discover Wes Collins in 2001, a direct ancestor of the dead Alex. Becoming the team’s new Red Ranger thanks to some DNA morphing science, Wes joins these rangers in protecting his city.

In the series finale, Wes and Jen profess their love for each other, but to prevent the future from changing, Jen returns back to her time. While the Power Rangers base is destroyed in the fight, Wes keeps his powers and continues to protect his city. Sins of the Future picks up some time shortly after, with Jen coming back in time to fight leftover armies of the show’s big bad, and for a rendezvous with Wes. The two rangers have been seeing each other during Jen’s missions to the past, but the strain of potentially affecting the future as well as ignoring her duties is affecting the relationship.

When Jen goes back to her time, she is shocked to receive an order to terminate her relationship with Wes. To further complicate things, Jen arrives back in 2001 to see that the Power Rangers base has magically reappeared. Something, or someone, is messing with the past and Jen barely discovers this before being attacked by a Black Time Force Ranger. Writer Matthew Erman does a fantastic job of weaving the plot together, and Jen and Wes feel as authentic as I remember from the show. Jen still worries about walking the line between love and duty, and is every bit the strong leader she has always been.

The art by Giueseppe Cafaro, with colors by Francesco Segala, makes great use of light and shadow, but is not as pop art with the colors as Dan Mora’s Power Rangers. This works for the story well, as it is more of an emotional piece focusing on Jen and Wes, but it does mean that the Power Ranger suits aren’t as bright as they were in the show. Nod to cover artists Diego Galindo, for nailing the look of Jen and Wes in both the faces and personalities with Jen warrior posing in the front and Wes supporting her.

As it is a standalone novel, I would recommend it for any library collection that has a Power Rangers fan base or a collection of OGNs featuring strong-willed and driven women. While I could not locate the age rating through the publisher’s site or the pre-published copy, I would recommend it for older teens and young adults, as there is a nostalgia factor at play here.

Power Rangers: Sins of the Future
By Matthew Erman
Art by Giuseppe Cafaro
BOOM! Studios, 2020
ISBN: 9781684156191
Related media: TV to Comic

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)