Wayward Sisters – An Anthology of Monstrous Women (Ed. by Allison O’Toole)

Wayward Sisters is a comic anthology edited by Allison O’Toole.
Finished on: 31.3.2018
[I got a review copy of this anthology. You can get it here.]

After the beautiful cover by Alise Gluškova and a nice, short foreword by Faith Erin Hicks, Wayward Sisters gives us a collection of wonderful short comics, created exclusively by female and gender non-conforming artists and featuring almost exclusively female monsters. As usual with anthologies, not every story will hit you hard, but I found that Wayward Sisters was one of the most consistently strong anthologies I’ve ever read. It features stories as different in tone as in art style and there should be something there for everyone. For me, there were several somethings that hit me in various sweet spots.

After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.

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Bitch Planet Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro)

Bitch Planet is a comic series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Valentine de Landro. Volume 1 collects the first five issues.
Finished on: 9.6.2017

In the future, non-compliant women are sent to prison. A prison that takes up an entire planet and is colloquially referred to as Bitch Planet. Non-compliance encompasses many things – from violent crime to not being considered attractive enough, maybe because, like Penny, you’re fat and have shaved your head – and you don’t give a fuck about what anybody thinks. But when you put women like this together, even under the worst circumstances, they aren’t likely to take things lying down.

Bitch Planet is a damn amazing comic, a feminist take on prison exploitation (movies) with emotional impact and a great sense of humor within all the politics. I loved it.

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The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words is the sixth book (issues 31-35.5) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross, with cover art by Yuko Shimizu.
[Here are my Unwritten reviews so far.]
Finished on: 5.8.2016

Tommy knows he has to confront the cabal and Pullman head-on. But that is easier said than done especially as he’s still learning about how exactly the world and his powers work. At the same time, Wilson’s diaries manage to fill in the history of the cabal, Pullman and Anna Rausch in more detail.

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words starts by filling in some blanks in the backstory of the world, but it also works to a first really big climax of the story so far, one that definitely left me excited for what’s coming next.

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The Unwritten: On to Genesis (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

On to Genesis is the fifth book (issues 25-30) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross, with additional art by Vince Locke and cover art by Yuko Shimizu.
[Here are my Unwritten reviews so far.]
Finished on: 26.7.2015

After Wilson’s Death his belongings are set to be auctioned off. Tommy is certain that some of those things will help to shed light on Wilson’s plans. But when he gets involved into the auction things don’t go quite as planned, but at least Tommy manages to get his father’s journals and finds himself seeing the world through his father’s eyes in the 40s. Literally.

The Unwritten continues to be an extraordinary series, even though with the issues collected here, it hit a bit of a snag and doesn’t feel quite as strong as the previous book. But that doesn’t meant that I didn’t enjoy it a lot.

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The Unwritten: Leviathan (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

Leviathan is the fourth book (issues 19-24) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross, with additional art by Al Davison and Vince Locke and cover art by Yuko Shimizu. [Here are my Unwritten reviews so far.]
Finished on: 19.6.2015

Wilson’s sudden reappearance didn’t take any heat off of Tom, Rich and Lizzie, quite to the contrary. The Cabal is looking for new ways to destroy them, while Tommy hatches the plan that he has to find the source of his powers. That search leads him into the belly of the beast, quite literally: by way of Moby Dick, he ends up in a whale – but he’s not alone there.

The Unwritten really is an amazing series. So far they not only managed to keep the high quality consistent over all books, but they also manage to come up with a new concept every time – a concept that will perfectly fit the world created, be completely logical and that you would have never thought of yourself. Amazing.

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The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

Dead Man’s Knock is the third book (issues 13-18) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross and cover art by Yuko Shimizu. [Here are my Unwritten reviews so far.]
Finished on: 27.4.2015

The world is in uproar as a new Tommy Taylor book is announced by the long missing author Wilson Taylor who remains out of sight. But rumors are floating around that he will put in a personal appearance at the book’s launch. Even Tom, Wilson’s son and the inspiration for Tommy, starts to believe those rumors and is dead set on finally being able to confront his father about all the shit that has been going on around him. But it is the cabal who has written the book to try to coax Wilson out of hiding. And if they manage to get Tommy, Savoy and Lizzie in the process, it will be even better.

The Unwritten continues to be a smart examination of fiction and storytelling, and it continues to be an engaging, entertaining comic with great art. There is practically no fault at all that I can find with it.

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The Secret Service (Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons)

The Secret Service is a comic, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.
Finished on 07.03.2015.

Jack London works for the MI6, a very special division. They have recently started to investigate the kidnapping of several celebreties, but their last rescue mission (of Mark Hamill) was a catastrophic failure. And then Jack gets a call from his sister-in-law: her son Gary was arrested and could Jack please help. Jack agrees reluctantly and actually finds that Gary has potential – so he starts to train him for entering the Secret Service, all the while trying to figure out the plans of cellphone tycoon James Arnold.

I’m not much into spy stories, so I’m afraid that I am not much the target audience of The Secret Service – which is a love letter to the genre. But it was rather enjoyable nonetheless, even if it didn’t blow me away.

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Kick-Ass 3 (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)

Kick-Ass 3 is the final sequel to Kick-AssHit-Girl and Kick-Ass 2. It was written and drawn by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. [Here are my reviews of all things Kick-Ass.]
Finished on: 25.02.2015

Plot [with SPOILERS for Kick-Ass 2]:
After the events of Kick-Ass 2, things aren’t very good. Mindy is still in jail. Justice Forever is severely reduced. Dave still wants to fight the good fight, but he can’t bring the rest of Justice Forever to break Mindy out of prison, and without Hit-Girl they are all a little aimless. It also doesn’t help that Dave meets a woman, Valerie, who he really likes. But when the Motherfucker’s uncle Don Rocco comes to town to take over the legacy of his brother and to clean the mess up, starting with the masked heroes, they are facing a challenge on a whole new scale.

Kick-Ass 3 is not only on the same level as the other books (warts and all), it provides a very satisfying end to the story that makes it okay that there isn’t any more to this series.

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The Unwritten: Inside Man (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

Inside Man is the second book (issues 6-12) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey and art by Peter Gross and cover art by Yuko Shimizu. [Here’s my review of the first book.]

As fiction and reality start to overlap ever more, Tom Taylor is arrested for the murder of an entire group of horror authors at Villa Diodati, where Tom tried to get away and find out more about his father’s disappearance and about himself. Save to say, that plan has failes and now Tom is sent to a prison where he gets to share a cell with undercover reporter Savoy. But there are still forces out there trying to harm Tom, and Lizzie isn’t about to give up on him, either.

Man, this series is so cool! It’s not only a well-told, engaging story with very nice art, but it’s also so very smart about fiction itself.



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Re-Read: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (Mike Carey, Peter Gross)

Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity is the first book (first five issues) in The Unwritten series of comics, written by Mike Carey and art by Peter Gross and additional art by Yuko Shimizu.

Wilson Taylor wrote a famous series of books about child wizard Tommy Taylor – modelled after his own son. Before he could complete the series with the fourteenth book, though, Wilson vanished without a trace. Now Tom is living off his father’s estate, going from convention to convention and is generally pretty frustrated with his life and his father. At one of the usual conventions, a woman confronts him and raises the question whether Tom isn’t actually Tommy Taylor, having crossed over from the fictional world. This spawns a series of investigations and nutjobs and completely disrupts Tom’s life until he starts questioning his own identity.

Ugh, I’ve been meaning to continue reading this series for so long, I had to restart it from the beginning because I could barely remember the first one. But fortunately, re-reading this is not exactly a chore since it’s an amazing comic.


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