Vanguard staff shares comic love


Maria Ranger
“Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection” by Gail Simone

“Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection” is the first in a series of six that was published by DC as part of The New 52 in 2012. It takes place three years after Barbara Gordon/Batgirl was shot and paralyzed by the Joker.
In this graphic novel, Barbara has made a miraculous recovery, against all odds, due to a clinic in South Africa. The novel also handles her former disability in a way that was sensitive and appropriate.

She returns to the streets of Gotham as Batgirl to help fight crime with Batman and Nightwing. However, she finds herself the target of a hit list.

There’s a lot of suspicious things going on in Gotham, and Batgirl is determined to get to the bottom of it.

I thought this graphic novel was a fresh take on a classic character. I also liked the art style, especially the cover design, as well as the fact that it’s another great comic with a tough female lead.


Madison Savard
“The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

“The Complete Persepolis” is a compelling, true story about a girl’s life growing up during the regime in revolutionary Iran.

Young Marjane Satrapi is inspired by the strength and influence of the leaders of her country, compelling her to rebel against the newly enforced fundamentalist laws.

Her hard-headed attitude is what helps her overcome the multitude of challenges that are thrown her way.
Even though Marjane Satrapi faces many hardships; including war, forced immigration, interrupted education, poverty, and much more; she is able to gain strength through the lessons of her hardships.

Satrapi learns how to keep pursuing her dreams and fighting for her loved ones even though she is constantly being faced with a new, challenging situation.

This story brings readers in as it is utterly truthful, real and has a piece that everyone is able to relate to.


Dylan Powell
“Batman: The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s “Batman: The Killing Joke” is a mature, grim Dark Knight experience that is celebrated as an important moment in the Batman mythos.

The book tells a brief story of Batman taking on the Joker who kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and shoots his daughter, Barbara, leaving her paralyzed.

The story is all about the dynamic between Batman and the Joker, an element that Heath Ledger took inspiration from in his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime.

This is the book’s strongest feature as it takes the best hero/villain combo in comics history and dives deeply into why they both do the things they do.

The book made history recently when it was adapted into the first ever R-rated animated Batman film.

Its disturbing elements and gripping writing leaves a revolutionary Batman story that is as inquisitive and thought-provoking as it is exciting and, well, Batman!


Joshua Sampson
“Preacher” by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon

“Preacher” is an aggressive novel: it is dark, brash, intense and relentless, but it raises the bar for character development. That is, you like the characters you are reading about and care about what they are doing from frame to frame.

In 75 issues, writers Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon encapsulate a rich world of transgressive themes and violent climaxes. There are many images in this comic that you cannot unsee.

Over several issues, the character Herr Starr is mutilated and maimed from knives, gunshots and dogs. Each incident seemingly more humiliating than the last.

Regardless of the violence, the reader is still enraptured by the characters. And, when it is all said and done, you might as well call Jesse Custer, Cassidy and Tulip O’Hare your friends.

Not that Saint of Killers, though. No. You stay away from him.


Maria Ranger
“Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted?” by Jason Latour

“Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted?” is a graphic novel published by Marvel that is about an alternate universe where Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s girlfriend, was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of him, and has the powers that he would have had.

In the novel, Spider-Gwen is wanted as a suspect in Peter Parker’s death, although it wasn’t her, and the police think she’s up to no good.

Her dad is also a policeman, so that makes things difficult for her. Spider-Gwen is slowly becoming a fan-favorite since it was published last year, and for good reason too.

Gwen is a great heroine. She’s sarcastic and interesting, and she’s also the drummer in a punk rock band! It’s also great to have a female superhero that isn’t oversexualized.

The art style in Spider-Gwen is also very appealing.

The color-scheme is bright and eye-catching, which makes it unique.

I would recommend this to anyone that likes to read comics or graphic novels.