Drive, Act 2 by Dave Kellett

Welp, that didn’t take long.

Drive Act Two is (obviously) the continuation of Drive, Act One, which I reviewed earlier today… because I inhaled both books today.

The second act of this story is as intoxicating as the first, filled with aliens and worlds beyond ours, introducing new characters and new twists and turns to the plot line at every convenience. The pacing continues to be spot-on. The art continues to be polished and delightful. The situation for our cast of characters continues to worsen, which, I mean sure, act 2, that’s it’s job.

I’ve reached the point in the story where even if I tried to explain the plot to the reader, it would take longer than actually reading the book. Plus I’d mess it up. Suffice it to say that I look forward to Act 3 with great admiration for Dave Kellett’s writing and a sincere desire to see how this all wraps up.

Or whether it does wrap up. There’s no law against a five-act space opera.

This isn’t one you’re going to find on Amazon. Buy directly from the Drive store in hardback, paperback, or PDF.

Drive, Act 1 by Dave Kellett

I fell in love with Dave Kellet’s art and storytelling style with his strip Sheldon, a long long time ago when I had the time to read daily comics. I can remember when Drive launched.

But then life happened and I never got back to it.

This was a tactical error on my part.

Drive is a delicious mix of humor and heartbreak, a grandmotherly taking-no-crap human captain, two other humans that are in La Familia (the government) and all kinds of other aliens. The most important of the aliens are a Russian-accented Veeta the size of a rhino, and a tiny we-don’t-know-what named Skitter.

The thesis underpinning the story is that Skitter could conceivably save the human race and their empire by becoming pilots in their military. But there are mafias, planets full of dumb bullies, a parasitic-virus-based race spreading through the galaxy, a very very pissed-off group of aliens looking to regain stolen tech, and, well, space to deal with.

This book is the first act of the story. You will not want to read it without also getting your hands on the second act, which is now also available.

(Well, I mean, you could, but you’ll be like WHYYYYYY)

The art is fantastic, the storyline paced well for such a long arc, the switching of points-of-view to different places and times used to great effectiveness. The story is occasionally interrupted with important notes, historical elements, pages from an encyclopedia, and foreshadowing.

Oh the foreshadowing.

I inhaled this book in less than a day and as soon as I am done this review I’m starting Act 2.

This isn’t one you’re going to find on Amazon. Buy directly from the Drive store in hardback, paperback, or PDF.

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie

Abbott is about a black woman reporter in 1972 Detroit, who investigates a series of murders of an otherworldly nature.

It is excellent.

The tone is both true to its time (from what I’ve heard, as I’m neither from Detroit nor Black nor old enough to have been alive in 1972.)

Abbott doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and at the same time she has her weaknesses and flaws. Her supporting cast and her enemies are not as deeply fleshed-our as the main character, but considering that this book represents only five comics, that’s not a significant concern.

The story is excellent, the art is dynamic and detailed, and the combination makes for a compelling experience. As with all comics, the end of the comic is not the resolution of the main source of conflict, but that’s good, because it may signal more to comic. I hope that Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie return to this world to give us another glimpse.

Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments edited by Nadia Shammas

Corpus is a book of stories by people whose health isn’t perfect.

Frankly, that’s all of us — if not today, than someday.

Body shenanigans range from the annoying to the profound disability, from the terminal or deadly to the “oh god this again, I just want to go to the store”. Around 17% of people in the United States self-report a disability (which means the number is higher) and body shenanigans, whether formally disabilities or not, affect a much higher percentage of us than we want to talk about.

And, at least in the United States, the last few years have been filled with political, public discourse, (and in my case personal) health crises of such proportion that frankly, I’m surprised I’m sitting here to write about it.

But that’s why this book is excellent and that’s why it’s important. We are all human, and one of the things that makes us all human is the annoying, frustrating, sometimes horrible ways in which our bodies break down, act weird, create what shouldn’t be created, destroy what shouldn’t be destroyed, and expect us to persevere regardless.

Humanizing body shenanigans brings us together.

We need to talk more about health.

This book opens the door to having conversations about what we’re all going through, and reminds us that no matter how small or large the problem, we’re in it together.

Great thanks to the editor, Nadia Shammas, for putting it together, and I hope there will be many sequels to come.

Note: I purchased this through a Kickstarter, so it was probably a limited print run. If you want to order a copy, I wouldn’t wait around too long.

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos by Dave Kellett

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos is a collection of all Dave Kellett’s Sheldon comics that involve the pug, Oso.

It is clear that Dave owns pugs of his own because nobody who’s not lived with the little beasties would be able to describe them visually and verbally as well as he does.

It’s also clear that you don’t have to be a pug owner (or even a pug-liker, although I think they’re pretty cool) to like this book. As always, Dave writes heartwarming and hilarious stories about Oso, his humans, their talking duck, and the lizard.

Note: normally I’d send you to the publisher, Topatoco, to order this, but they appear to be out. (I got it through a Kickstarter.)