Saturday, February 22, 2020

REVIEW: Firebug (graphic novel) story and art by Johnnie Christmas, colors by Tamra Bonvillain

Firebug is a fantasy graphic novel.


Okay, I'm going to start off by saying that I got a little lost at times and wasn't always sure about what was going on. I'll try to describe the story as best I can, but I could be wrong about a few things.

Azar is a city located at the foot of a volcano. The people of Azar used to perform rituals to appease the goddess of the volcano, but that didn't stop the volcano from occasionally erupting and destroying everything. Eventually the Cult of the Goddess left Azar and established a new home for themselves, the Golden Capitol. It's now many, many years later, and there's a rebel group called the Third Wave that's convinced that the Cult of the Goddess is keeping the goddess captive, and they want to free her.

Keegan is the goddess's daughter. She tries to help the rebels, but something goes wrong, her mother ends up dead, and Keegan becomes the new goddess. At that point, she becomes determined to go back to Azar, the home of her ancestors. However, the Cult of the Goddess isn't her only enemy. An emissary from the water goddess is after her, and there's a prophecy that Keegan's return to Azar will mean its destruction.

This was an ARC my mom picked up for me at a conference. As far as I can tell, this volume collects the entire series. It doesn't appear to be a spinoff of anything, although it kind of felt like it was, and I can't find anything about any sort of continuation, even though the ending leaves room for more story.

I didn't like the artwork at all, but Tamra Bonvillain's coloring helped paper over some of its shortcomings and almost make it pretty, at times. There was some really nice use of cool vs. warm colors.

The story was intriguing enough, but confusing and a bit choppy. I had thought the Cult of the Goddess would be important in some way, but after the confined goddess was dealt with, they might as well have been written out of the story. It felt like they had been, after Adria rescued Griffin. Who, by the way, was not worth any amount of Keegan and Adria's time and energy. I don't know what either of them saw in him. He was a quick way for the author to establish a basis for Adria and Keegan's more human rivalry before their goddess rivalry added fuel to the fire.

I don't know that this was necessarily bad, but it definitely could have been better. The story and characters just left me cold.

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