Lightfall Book 2: Shadow of the Bird by Tim Probert (Amazon)

“But does it even matter anyway? Gramps might be in danger. Though what could I possibly do to help him? Maybe that’s just an excuse not to go back there. I just want to find Gramps. I want to go home. I wall this all to go away. I want to disappear. I want to start over.

You think I’m a coward, don’t you, Nimm?

These choices all feel bad. But you know what?

Talking to you kinda helped.”

Bea talking to Nimm the cat, Tim Probert, Lightfall 2

I finally understand what kind of reader I am: I’m a read who’s a sucker for a big hook.

The promises of Tim Probert’s graphic novel series, Lightfall, are finally achieved in Book Two as young girl, Bea, and her Galdurian friend, the great Cad, are witness to the horror of the books title as the great bird, Kest, finally brings about lightfall.

And I do mean LIGHT FALL. See, the fantasy land of Irpa is a world held aloft by artificial suns. After the real sun was taken away the inhabitants had no choice but to create light with using the sun flames they had left. But Kest doesn’t want that. And Bea and Cad will do whatever they can to stop him, no matter the cost.

Probert opens the story hot, the complete opposite of book one. There’s a small moment of peace before the chaos begins. We see the true terror his art style brings to the story’s villain, Kest Ke Belenus, as well as the widescreen destruction he plans on bringing to the entire world. The colors are vibrant, the world feels real, the characters are there, for sure, now.

All the minor issues I had with his first outing are immediately reversed and I wait in anticipation for book three.

Sleeping While Standing by Taki Soma (Avery Hill)

“I agree one hundred percent.

As much as there’s darkness, the humor is just as abundant.

I have to rethink my approach–

Because I haven’t even gotten to the really dark ones yet.”

Taki Soma

Full Disclosure: I’m presently taking the Masterclass offered by Brian Michael Bendis and Taki Soma. In fact, that’s how I first heard of this book and, more importantly, how to read it.

Because I think there’s actually two ways to experience this collection of Taki’s autobiographical snippets.

Bendis said (and I’m paraphrasing here, from one of the Masterclass sessions) that to read this book, you can’t do it all in one chunk. Each “chapter” is four pages or fewer, so you should read one or two at a time, then let them sit with you. Digest them. Reflect.

And certainly, yes, do that. Taki has lived a life you would hope only happens to the most stern, resistant people. One where reality keeps throwing things at that individual and you see them rise to the occasion, fall, grow, learn, suffer, then keep going. Whether its her mother offering to giver her up for adoption to a family friend (twice?!) or sharing the feelings of true loss, be it family or cat, Taki is brutal in the best way. Nothing is held back.

And, yes, you should take your time with this.

And then, after you read through it in broken chunks, read it again all the way through in one sitting. It’s not long, clocking in around 100 pages, but you begin to see the through lines of the tales more clearly. The little links connecting each one, how the Hysterectomy chapter hits you in the gut, you’re given a small amount of breathing room with a comical chapter about a mysterious vanishing cat, but then she follows up on those feelings with the harsh Choices chapter.

Like her husband, comic artist Michael Avon Oeming, says in the introduction, she’s a master of cutting the fat away. Each tale is only four pages long, as most, but hit with all the impact of something insignificantly longer.

A brilliant read.

Thanks for reading,

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