Reality in Chaos by Monique Kelley
Contemporary women's fiction
Black Rose Writing, January 13, 2021
In 1999 best friends and newly minted Hampton University graduates Simone, Jackie, and Taylor move to Los Angeles, California to pursue their respective professional goals in advertising, acting, and art. Eighteen years later as their fortieth birthdays approach their lives have unfolded into disappointing circumstances beneath the surface of their self-confident public personae. Will their shared milestone year mark a reset or a death knell for turning their dreams into reality?
Monique Kelley uses a first-person confessional style that fosters a deep sense of emotional intimacy between characters and readers. Starting with HBCU culture in the prologue evolves into broader issues of skin-color hierarchies, biases related to social class and geographic region, and ageism. Those themes and more are layered upon the foundation of gilded cages of privilege and the often high costs of keeping up appearances. Simone’s marriage, Jackie's stalled acting career, and Taylor's family issues are examined in present day and through flashbacks with the entertaining dramatic flair of a telenovela with some profanity and raunch added. Hints of a little Terry McMillan, Candace Bushnell, “Real Housewives" and the “Beaches" remake contribute complexity and fun to this celebration of enduring friendships.
Psi-Lords, vols. 1 – 8
Fred Van Lente, writer; Renato Guedes, artist; Jonboy Meyers, cover artist; Dave Sharpe, letterer; Drew Baumgartner, asst. ed.; David Menchel, ed.; Robert Meyers, sr. editorial director, et al.
Valiant, January 6, 2021
These eight installments of Psi-Lords start with a mystery. Prisoners awake in cells without knowing how they got there or who they are. Finding those answers leads to more questions that launch them onto a treacherous journey through the galaxy. This team resembles an edgier Fantastic Four who battle cruel jailers, hostile strangers, vengeful adversaries, megalomaniacal zealots, and inner demons. Lots of humorous exchanges, a few existential crises, familiar tropes spun from fresh angles, and some romance plus action, action, and more action propel the sophisticated, fun narrative. Vibrant, dynamic illustrations, several with angular perspective and a smoky overlay, pop as if rendered in 3-D. Like most excellent comix Psi-Lords examines present-day themes of subjugation, allocation of environmental resources, social media, and government bureaucracy. It also includes a respectful nod to a real-life SciFi publishing legend. Fans of gritty gorgeous comix with philosophical underpinnings are sure to enjoy this bold organically inclusive series with more adventures to come.
1. Gods in Chaos
3. Memories of the Future
4. Embrace the Void
5. The God Virus
6. Balance of Power
7. Sum of Fears
8. Dark Victory