BooksOfTheMoon

Kings and Wizards (Girl Genius: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 4)

By Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

Volume 17 of the collected Girl Genius graphic novel moves the story on quite apace. It feels like there’s a lot more plot than the last couple and most exciting it was, with both the Other and the undead Storm King attacking Paris. It takes the combined efforts of Agatha, Martellus, the Master of Paris and their various hangers on to win through, and the cost of victory is very high.

It’s very often the secondary characters in this series that are the ones that shine and this volume gave small, but choice, roles to Castle Heterodyne and the Beast of the Rails – both currently in adorable mini-clank form. The regular Jagermonsters are back as well and have some fun, and we get to see Agatha doing real Mad Science while under enemy fire, which is always fun.

So one of the better entries of a consistently good series, and one that moved the plot on. I look forward to the next one now, as Agatha leaves Paris for London.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856670
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2018

The Incorruptible Library (The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 3)(Girl Genius #16)

By Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

Volume (*checks notes*) 16 (sixteen!) of the collected Girl Genius webcomic takes Agatha and her companions beneath Paris to some of the micro-kingdoms that lie beneath and on to the Immortal Library itself, in search of an expert in time who Agatha hopes can help her unlock her city from the time-bubble it’s currently trapped in. En route, she finds heroes, villains, a new Muse and the Storm King.

Phew, there’s so much going on now that even reading a whole volume at a time feels like it’s difficult to keep track of what’s going on. It’s only a matter of time before I have to binge-read the whole thing again from the start. I’m still enjoying the story and the art and, of course, the Jägermonsters. The Beast and the Castle in miniature form are both adorably sociopathic and homicidal in their devotion to their mistress.

So yet more twists, more characters and more mayhem. Lots of fun, although I do wonder if there’s an end planned for this series.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856656
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2017

The City of Lightning (The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 2)(Girl Genius, #15)

By Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

In this volume of the long-running webcomic, we see the conclusion of the fight against the Beast of the Rails that formed the cliffhanger from the previous volume (and gains Agatha an awfully cute new clank), before the gang makes it to Paris to try and find something that might help free Mechanicsburg from its time stasis bubble. We also find out why Gil is behaving even more strangely than usual and get some insight into the machinations of The Other across Europa.

So lots of intrigue, humour, lovely artwork but not enough Jägermonsters (there’s rarely enough Jägermonsters). It’s getting harder to keep the whole story in your head at once, which isn’t surprising given how long long the comic has been going for, but it does make you wonder if there’s any end for the story planned, and how far away it might be.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856632
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2016

The Beast of the Rails (The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 1)(Girl Genius, #14)

By Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

In the fourteenth (fourteenth!) volume of the Foglio’s epic Girl Genius series, our heroine, Agatha Heterodyne, has escaped from the time-locked Mechanicberg and is trying to get to Paris, where she hopes to learn enough to free her city. The logical way to get there is by train, but these aren’t just any trains. They’re run by a monastic order, who have their own views about the sanctity of the timetable, and have the firepower to back them up.

The introduction to this volume says that it would make a good jumping on point for new readers, but I think that’s crazy talk. We’re thirteen volumes into an ongoing story with well-established characters and a pretty damn complex plot (besides, the whole thing can be read for free online).

The story is as fun as ever, as we rejoin Agatha, Gil, Martellus and the rest of the cast, each with their own, complex stories, motives and machinations. There’s not nearly enough Jägers in it for my taste, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for the Jägermonsters. Now, roll on the next volume! (You see what I did there…? ‘Cos they’re on a train…? I’ll get me coat…)

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856618
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2015

Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius, #13)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

Goodness me, I think this may be the best Girl Genius volume to date! Agatha has jump-started the castle and as it returns to full power, the full might and power of the fully armed and operational Mechanicsburg is unleashed upon the Wulfenbach hordes. In the middle of all this, the Storm King pretender, Martellus, kidnaps Agatha and teleports her to his refuge, far away. As you’d expect, it all goes horribly wrong.

What with a fully operational (and as twisted as ever) castle, and a full complement of Jagers, this book does not lack for action. The humour knob has also dialled up to 11 and there are many laugh out loud and ‘punch the air’ moments. The story is racing along and getting ever more complex, making these paper collections all the more important for those of us who struggle to remember what happened three hours ago, never mind the days between pages online. That doesn’t stop me from reading them online, but you definitely get more out of it when you can read a whole volume.

The art, as always, is beautiful and the double page spreads definitely make an impact (moreso on paper than online). At the time of writing, this is the last available Girl Genius collected volume. No more binging, I’m going to have to start waiting a year or so between them which is nearly as frustrating as reading the story a page at a time. Ah well, I’m off to go and relieve the frustration by starting again from the start.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856595
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2014

Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius, #12)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

And so Agatha Heterodyne’s journey brings us to the siege of her home town of Mechanicsburg. As she continues to try and repair the castle that co-ordinates the town’s defences, Gil and Tarvek are trying to sort things out on Castle Wulfenbach. And the Jagers are back! Properly! This book has a surfeit of Jagers, if such a thing were possible, although is sadly counterbalanced by a smaller role for the castle, which I’ve come to grow very fond of as a character.

The story is still flying along at breakneck pace, and the siege is pretty tense. There are some great moments though, like Franz (the monster) telling invaders to rejoice at the return of the Heterodyne as he stomps all over them, and the ongoing character moments with the minions (von Zinzer’s progress to chief minion not least, and the blossoming romance between Airman Higgs and Zeetha). The Foglios definitely know how to do a cliffhanger too, and the mad-scientist lightning here is as effective as the Doom Bell from last volume.

At the time of writing, there’s only one more volume left that’s been published, so the question is whether to get it now or to wait and savour it? Ah, who am I kidding, I’m only good at self-denial when it’s something I don’t want…

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856571
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2013

Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius, #11)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

The eleventh volume of Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures see her racing against time to repair her castle while dodging the machinations of the imposter Zola and the remaining parts of the castle not under the control of the central mind. Meanwhile, armies gather outside Mechanicsburg waiting to strike.

There’s one heck of a pace to this story. You really feel the pressure that Agatha is under, although the ongoing battle between Gil and Tarvek about who should be her suitor helps to lighten the mood as you get the feeling that despite their own agendas (of which they have many), they both desperately care for Agatha and do want to help her. This volume also has (just!) one Jager scene where things are set in motion and we get to see the fun, crazy monsters doing politics. One Jager scene is better than no Jager scene, but I’m looking forward to seeing them come back to the fore.

The pace is neck-breaking, the characters great fun to watch and the story as engaging as ever, especially the final double-spread page. No spoilers, but DOOOOOOOOOM :-D.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856557
Publisher: Studio Foglio
Year of publication: 2012

Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius, #10)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

Volume 10 of the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne sees her trying to save the lives of herself and her potential beaus, Gil and Tarvek, from a deadly Spark disease, dealing with the deadly guardian of the pit and trying to stop her mother taking over her body (repeatedly) while fending off the Heterodyne imposter, Zola and trying to repair the castle to defend the town.

As with the other Girl Genius books, the art is beautiful, the story hectic and the laughs keep coming. I still read the webcomic regularly but there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a book and being able to blitz through a whole story in one go, rather than trying to remember what’s going on at the (somewhat glacial) pace of three pages a week.

This volume is somewhat lacking in Jaeger activity, although that is corrected in the excellent short story Maxim Buys a Hat, included at the back of this volume. Other supporting cast get a bit more to do: we see some romantic interests blossoming between some of the minions hangers-on and, in particular, we see some intriguing hints that Airman (Third Class) Higgs is much more than he seems.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856533
Publisher: Airship Entertainment
Year of publication: 2011

Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius, #9)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

Volume nine of Agatha Heterodyne’s exciting adventures see her ensconced in her family seat: Castle Heterodyne. The castle turns out to be a sentient fortress, albeit one that is badly damaged and whose consciousness is fragmented and which is a death trap. Complicating matters are Agatha’s friends who have come in to help her, but who she sees as a burden that she must protect, and her enemies, also in the castle, trying to destroy it. And it doesn’t help that even the bits of the castle that acknowledge her are becoming increasingly erratic.

The story in this ongoing webcomic is becoming ever more complex, and catching up in the hard copy volumes makes it much easier to track what’s going on, and who the various characters are. The love triangle between Agatha, Gil and Tarvek deepens and is becoming more interesting as it goes on, with Agatha being continually embarrassed both by the gentlemen in question, and by the bystanders who Assume Too Much.

My favourite new character, though, is the Castle. Castle Heterodyne is an ancient, somewhat deranged personality with the most awesomely perverse sense of humour. Every time it speaks (possibly with Christopher Lee’s voice), it dominates, even without the physical presence of its many torture machines, death traps and gizmos.

The only thing missing from this volume (as Kaja Foglio acknowledges at the end of the book) are the Jägermonsters, but we do at least get some short strips (and lovely full page art) featuring them at the back.

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856526
Publisher: Diamond Comic Distributors
Year of publication: 2010

Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius, #8)

By Phil Foglio

Rating: 4 stars

In volume 8 of Agatha Heterodyne’s exciting adventures, Agatha is back in her family seat of Mechanicsberg but to hold it, she’ll need the help of the (sentient) castle, which means getting inside it and repairing it, while dealing with the fractured mind that mostly wants to kill things. Meanwhile, Gil Wulfenbach has to hold the rest of the town together, and fend off his father, long enough to let her do her work.

Fun, quick to read and so much more coherent to those with a short memory than a page three times a week. The love triangle between Agatha, Gil and Tarvek is starting to come to the fore, and it’s both hilarious and sweet. The art continues to be lovely and the story is engaging and highly entertaining. What’s not to like?

Book details

ISBN: 9781890856472
Publisher: Airship Entertainment
Year of publication: 2009

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress