Recently I picked up two graphic novels that were fun, but not necessarily making me hoot and holler. Oh, there were a few chuckles, but overall, just enjoyment.
I started with Suki, Alone (Avatar: The Last Airbender) by the awesome Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartman. If you know the series that features the Kyoshi Warrior, Suki, then you know that she was imprisoned for some time and this graphic novel explores that time as it was not explored in the show. As a story it would have worked well as an episode or two of the series, but as a solo book not as well. It can feel rushed in some places, dragging on in others. I would have liked to have seen the movements in an animated manner and not just see the “oh Suki is moving now” of the page/having to be told that she is moving. However, despite the small bumps I had, it was a fun read. I would have preferred to see it in a larger collection, not as a solo book, though. Adele Matera’s illustrations are true to the Avatar universe. I am not sure if they worked on the animated series, but they know this character. Without having to say, “This is Suki.” You know this character. You know who her fellow sister warriors are. The only real drawback is if you do not know the series, this book will fall flat as it does not work without the background knowledge.
Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thing (Original Graphic Novel) had that issue for me with the not knowing the character or her background aspect. All I knew about Ms. Marvel is that she is of the Islamic faith. I felt as if I was jumping into the middle of the story Nadia Shammas created and not that I was starting a solo book/book that was not already for fans. The main issue of how Ms. Marvel obtained her powers is only hinted at. I was not sure how she obtained them, as it seems she was not born with them. I was not sure why she was having the issues of body parts growing and shrinking (though the line “baby hands” uttered by a friend was interesting). Yet, there was just enough background for the 8- to 10-year-old reader to be okay reading. There are diverse characters with a familiar theme of growing up, friends, family, and being a superhero. Nabi H. Ali’s illustrations are sweet. They are colorful and have the cartoon comic look to them. The story of Kamala Khan comes to life, and you can read the art as well as the text. Everything meshes well.
Both these graphic novels are good for the fans, but if you are just casually picking them up, they are not recommended to start with.