First Trade: Comic Reviews for Booksellers - May 2019

DBD introduces a new graphic novel review series by bookseller Bianca Walters. Every month, Bianca will provide reviews of three graphic novels, providing information on suitable audiences for each title, artistic comparisons, and sell-through suggestions.

Livewire: Fugitive
CONTRIBUTORSVita Ayala, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin
PUBLISHER: Valiant Entertainment
ON SALE: 05/07/19
GENRE: Superheroes

Who is Amanda McKee - known as Livewire in the Valiant Superhero Universe, when she isn’t a soldier? Can she be a leader, a friend, after her actions? Writer Vita Ayala (Submerged, The Wilds) unravels these and other questions in Fugitive, the opening arc of Livewire’s first solo series.

Livewire was lost after leaving the place she was raised, but she had purpose: find psiots and protect them. But as the government doubled down on their efforts to erase the psiots, she was backed into a corner. A technopath, she waged war by initiating a nationwide blackout, causing untold casualties. She was stopped by her comrades, and now she has to pick up the pieces of her overreach.    

FOR FANS OF: The Harbinger Wars of course, but also Captain America.   

ART: The cover gallery in this trade is to die for, but so are most of the pages. Anchored by a lot of night sky, the book is pensive even in the fight sequences.

SELL IT: To tights’n’capes readers looking for a new, worthy anti-hero.

Bitter Root Volume 1: Family Business
CONTRIBUTORSDavid F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ON SALE: 05/21/19
GENREHorror, Fantasy

The Sangeryes family has fought evil for generations. They find humans that have been corrupted by hate so big that it hollows a person out, making room for evil to come and transform the person from human to Jinoo.

Its 1924 and hate is a crackling, ubiquitous force in the country. The Sangeryes treat who they can with fiif’no serum, a medicine they make that can turn a Jinoo back into a human, but this is not always possible.    

This arc moves quickly, switching between Mississippi and Harlem as the family encounters creatures greater than Jinoo. The mythos is built in stride at that impressive pace, establishing the rules and unknowns without slowing or overwhelming.

Family, mad scientists, history, humor, deeply lovable characters, and action are at work in every issue of Bitter Root and I expect the same of future issues.   

FOR FANS OF: Farmhand by Rob Guillory, Incognegro by Mat Johnson, The Boondocks..  

ART: Lighting! Color Theory! Acting! They all are consistently superb in this book.

SELL IT: To those who like their fantasy historical, political, and full of heart.

CONTRIBUTORSSkottie Young, Jorge Corona
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ON SALE: 05/28/19
GENRE: Fantasy, Drama

Abel is a kid who lives in a trailer park in the Middlewest. He has a job and a fox he can talk to. Not so bad, accept for the part where his mom left him with his always angry father. His dad gets so angry one day that he turns into an actual natural disaster. Abel has to hit the road or be swept away.

The effect of this event stays with Abel, and his quest is to find a way to be free of it. And find somewhere to live, and things to eat. Luckily he runs into a junk man who can point him to where the magic is. Throughout this journey, the Middlewest is a character itself with strange creatures in its plains, waiting to surprise a reader all wrapped up in Abel’s plight.

FOR FANS OF: Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Stitches by David Small.

ART: Corona’s style in Middlewest is heavy on the animation look, and richly colored.

SELL IT: To I Hate Fairyland Fans that are ready for some feels.



Bianca is a bookseller, a polite troublemaker, an eventual time traveller, and a graphic novel evangelist. Bianca and their two cats are from Berwyn, IL, and they currently work at The Book Table in Oak Park. Read more of their reviews here: or catch them on the Twitter @catscomicsclops