A fun, socially conscious graphic novel that keeps both eyes on the near future.

MYOPIA

A future society taps into magnetic energy with disastrous results in debut author Dent’s graphic novel, illustrated by veteran artists Freire and Berkenkotter.

It’s the year 2222, and many people use special contact lenses to communicate and purchase things over a “psychic-ID” network, presided over by government agencies. Bill Glen, the creator of the tech and head of New York City–based Formula Media, was shot and killed two years ago by someone he knew. Now his best friend, Ledge Carver, runs the company, and Formula Media performs research for the International Department of Defense—something Bill never wanted. Ledge has also grown closer to Molly Glen, Bill’s widow, and her 10-year-old son, Matthew. Over dinner, Ledge asks Molly if she knows a man named James Chase, who’s applied to work at Formula and claims Bill as his mentor. Molly doesn’t know the man, who’s a dead ringer for Bill; even Jill, the lens wearers’ AI assistant, notes that James’ “psychic residue” is familiar. When Ledge is called to Washington, D.C., to speak with representatives of the Department of Defense, James visits Molly and Matthew at home. The boy has been emotionally distant since his father’s death, not quite believing that his dad is in heaven; James knows that Matthew sneaked into his father’s lab two years ago and stole special lenses that can cut through government security protocols. Meanwhile, Ledge learns that two mysterious domes have appeared near the Earth’s poles. Could they be connected to magnetic storms that are rendering the world uninhabitable?

Dent, Friere, and Berkenkotter create a future that’s reminiscent of the 1920s; buildings, trains, and hovering cars all feature art deco flourishes. Overall, the art is roughly photorealistic, ably merging elements of the past and future in a style that’s similar to Brent Anderson’s work on the comic book Astro City. Some characters seem modeled on celebrities, such as Jill, who looks like actor Kristen Stewart, and Ledge, who resembles rocker Lenny Kravitz. Colorists Andrade and Mohan’s work aids the story, too, as most everything is dark and earthy aside from the lenses’ blue glow. (When Matthew wears his father’s special contacts, they glow green, indicating the bypassing of government strictures.) The narrative’s main thrust is a pointed commentary on the distracted modern age, in which many people are glued to smartphone screens. Augmented reality via contact lenses, a real-life technology on the horizon, is shown to be ripe for abuse, as in one subway-station scene: As citizens go about their business, a lensless man is accosted by black-clad agents nicknamed “cockroaches,” who are literally invisible to those wearing lenses. Another major theme is humanity’s attempts to wean itself off fossil fuels; a government memo calls worry over solar storms “left-wing hysteria,” echoing cultural battles regarding climate change. The book’s overall structure—essentially a grave, twisty murder mystery—may also remind comic-book fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1980s classic Watchmen.

A fun, socially conscious graphic novel that keeps both eyes on the near future.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5241-1943-0

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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