Cover Image: Not Alone

Not Alone

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Member Reviews

I am not into graphic novels or zombies, really, but I was curious about this for my son who is. He loved it, and raved about it. He loved the story and the images, and so I call it a success!
Thanks NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Follows two strangers who meet while trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. This had potential even though it wasn't real original. I liked the sarcasm between the two main characters. The artist is self taught and the art looks like roughed in pencils. At times it had a Jhonen Vasquez feel to it and it grew on me. The storytelling and panel layout often didn't work though. There were several times where I had a thought of "Wait, what just happened?" and had to backtrack. Sometimes I still couldn't figure it out and had to move on. The story should have stopped about 10 pages before it did. It stops on a cliffhanger and with these small press books, who knows if we'll ever actually see more. Graphic novels should have an ending even if they are left open for future stories.
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Zombies, amnesia and a world turned upsidedown.

Not Alone is Sophocles Sapounas’ first graphical novel and is also the first volume in the Not Alone series. Published in July 2021, it has both ebook and softcover comic formats.

Critics compared the graphic to both Scott Pilgrim and the Monthy Python series for its unique sense of humor. The second volume is currently waiting for release.

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Summary
The story follows a nameless teenage girl as she navigates her way through the zombie apocalypse. Attempting to find her uncle, she quite literally lands upon an amnesiac teenage boy instead. Reluctantly thrown together in a world that wants them dead, they struggle to live long enough to reach safety. What they don’t know, however, is that ‘safety’ is a relative term, and the supposed good guys aren’t quite what they seem. Armed with a large backpack, a sleeping bag, and questionable weapons, the unlikely pair must use everything they have to survive.

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Commentary
Not Alone is incredibly basic and almost painful to read.

Praise
- The artwork is rough around the edges, but it suits the plot perfectly. Since the comic is set in a world where death and destruction lurk around every corner, the minimal black and white style compliments the storyline.
- It’s super easy to read. The dialogue is short and to-the-point and there are only two main characters. The comic can quickly be read in half an hour or less, making it ideal for a lunch break or public transport.
- The main character is incredibly sarcastic which makes her dialogues fun to read. She’s quick-witted and sharp and her sense of humor is easily the highlight of the entire comic.

Critique
- There is no plot. None. Nada. Nope. Nothing. The girl doesn’t mention that she’s searching for her uncle until halfway through the comic, despite never explaining why she’s looking for him. They vaguely hint at something being in the city, which is why both characters head there, but that reason is never explained either. They refer to “the plan” a lot, without ever stating what the plan really is, and every action they take seems to just be an excuse to introduce more zombies.
- The characters are walking clichés. The badass independent girl who’s tough and sarcastic and can overpower two fully grown men in a flash and has a hella cool scar on her face for Drama. The geeky boy who acts as comic relief despite being terrified all the time in order to make the aforementioned badass female seem even braver. He also conveniently has no past of his own thanks to conveniently timed amnesia, meaning he has no role whatsoever other than ‘sidekick’.
- The characters aren’t the only thing that’s clichéd; the dialogue is packed with them. “You don’t talk much do you?” showcasing the strong but silent warrior girl. “I’m not holding your hand” to build up ‘suspense’ just before they turn on the lights. And the irony of all ironies, “That sounds like it came right out of a bad movie”, which is apparently acceptable to say, because this is a comic book. There’s even the stereotypical “oops I just tripped and conveniently landed on top of you” trope. One painful line after another.

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Recommendations
Overall, I’d give Sophocles Sapounas’ Not Alone one out of five. It’s over-the-top but somehow childishly simple at the same time, and its only slightly redeeming feature is the sarcastic humor of Main Character #1. But even that is full of clichés and stereotypes, making this graphic not at all worth the read.

I’d recommend this novel to absolutely nobody at all unless you’ve got some time to kill while waiting for a friend or a bus. Other than that, pretend the comic book’s a zombie, and stay well away from it.
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Thanks to the publishers for sharing this one. I liked the humour, but found it a little hard to work out what was going on at times. My full review appears on Weekend Notes.
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This short graphic novel set in a zombie apocalypse didn’t end up impressing me. The characters were alright and the plot average at best and confusing at worst. Overall this would have been fine if not for the art style. It seems incredibly unpolished and lazy in a way that doesn’t seem intentional. I’m all for experimental art in graphic novels, but there is a difference between a draft you scribble in your notebook and a finished product.
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Zombie apocalypse meets humor in a quick-to-read, graphic novel adventure.

I haven't tackled a zombie read in awhile and the idea of a graphic novel form caught my interest. My favorite part(s) aspect of this one are the illustrations and graphics. They have a laid-back style, which steers away from the usual graphic novel direction and give it a personal touch. It won't be everyone's thing, especially since the lines aren't crisp and clear but give a 'just drawn' impression. Plus, the lack of colors (sticking to black and white) does get a mundane over the entire length. But I still enjoyed it.

The tale was a bit confusing in the beginning but knowing it's a zombie story, it wasn't too hard to fill in the holes. The plot itself is fine, nothing out of the ordinary for zombie fiction, but that doesn't cause any issues since it makes it a read to simply enjoy, on that end. It rolls along nicely and leaves a cliff-hanger end.

It was the characters which didn't connect with me in this one. From the very first 'meeting', they didn't have depth but hang on the humor and situations/scenes to drive them along. While I could have felt for the girl in her hopes to find her uncle, there still wasn't enough there for me to connect with her on an emotional level. 

In other words, this one is simply not my thing.
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A gal finds herself stuck with a guy who has a case of amnesia.  The gal knows how to survive in the wilderness.  She is looking for her lost uncle.  She decides that they must travel to her cache hidden in the city.  When they reach the city they must try to evade the zombies.  Will they be able to evade the zombies?  Will they make it to the gal’s cache?

I did find the stark drawings of the graphic novel to work well with the story.   I did  find the gal to be sarcastic and not willing to share much about herself.  I did get the names of the them but can’t remember them. I don’t know what to think of that fact about the graphic novel.  In all, it’s a decent somewhat different zombie story.  I am curious as to what happens in the next volume.
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This story and art style have a very particular niche in the comic world, one I don't personally enjoy. 

The rough hand drawn art style is nice on some pages, other times it's difficult to read. Occasionally some sections look cut off and words are missing. Not sure if it's related to the ARC formatting or an intentional for the overall aesthetic.

The dialog and attempts of bantter between characters. It rarely flows or makes sense.
In the end, the art and story feel very rough and on the immature side. Little happens story wise, leaving things on a cliffhanger to lead to a new addition. 

I simply did not enjoy this read.

**Thank you to BHC Press and NetGallery for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. **
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This is your typical zombie apocalypse graphic novel with a sarcastic lead and an aloof sidekick. The dialogue was good and I enjoyed the banter between the two leads. The artwork was flatout bad and it ended in a cliffhanger. Not a bad graphic novel, but I won't be continuing the series.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Not Alone in exchange for an honest review!

I know it's a stylistic choice, but the decision to use rougher linework and hand drawn letters just kept feeling distractingly more like I was reading concept panels instead of an actual finished product and it kept taking me out of the story. For me at least, the story itself was hindered by what I found to be really forced banter between the two main characters but since humour is subjective, that can easily change reader to reader. A few times the art and writing style actually made it difficult to follow what was going on but I'm not sure if that'll be fixed before final publication. Regardless, this definitely wasn't the graphic novel for me.
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Wow. I'm a fan of indie comics and support indie publishers but there's a reason this comic from an unknown creator came from an unknown label - this book is baaaad! Really janky art, poor sequential storytelling, weak writing, and an uninspired take on the zombie genre. I hoped this would've been fun and instead found myself surprised at how amateurish a so-called finished product like this book could be. Terrible, through and through.
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short and fast to read. i requested this on netgalley bc the description sounded interesting (i like apocalyptic/survival/zombie stuff) so decided to give this short comic book a try. the art style is pretty simple but yet cute, sometimes it was hard knowing what was happening either bc of the font or illustrations. illustrations bc they are simple but also in black and white  and font bc it looks handwritten. some of the speech ballons on the top of the page were cut in half so u can can only read the bottom of a sentence if that makes sense (but maybe its bc of the format i used,i read it on my desktop). i dont read graphic novels that much and when i read theres times when i cant fully understand a certain image or what they talking about so in this case it could also be a me problem and not the comic.  the characters were funny and poor guy always gettin hit xD  the plot was alright and a bit random at times, it ended in a cliffhanger so im curious for the next issue.
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Distinctive style of artwork, and while it won't be to everyone's tastes, neither was Frank Millers once upon a time.  I liked very much that the story is clear, there's enough to hook you in to the tale, but no massive dumps of exposition at any point, so it works well.  

Only real gripe was that there wasn't more of it, like other books I've read recently, this seemed to be more setting up for something to come, but it was an easy read and nicely engaging, will definitely look for the next issue when it comes up.
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This was a little underwhelming. The ending left much to be desired and I just didn’t feel like much happened throughout the story.
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Well... the story was a bit of a mess, I didn’t find the humour to be funny, and the art wasn’t great either.
The blurb made the novel sounds like a standalone, but it ended in a cliffhanger.
Overall not for me.
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Hmmm...  Two people try and live out a zombie apocalypse, in a graphic novel that really saddles itself with its rough and ready art "style".  You won't object to the hand lettering, but the way everything looks like a first draft, all scratchy approximations and nothing to initially give any character to the, er, characters, really doesn't help us like the book or our protagonists.  There's also a weird quirk of trying to pretend a lot is happening in the guttering, so words, faces and more appear cropped off much more tightly than usual.  The characters are also let down by unfunny yacking between the two, one a verbose bloke with neither survival kit nor memory, and the other, a  lass with her head screwed on.  That said, a slapstick recurring joke concerning his luck or lack thereof is done well.  I could continue with how little original there actually is to the story, but the art is what this boils down to – the pages set in pitch black, which ironically are the brightest white of any here, were fine, which was further proof to me the personal, self-taught (by admission) inkwork is going to hinder this title.  Two and a bit stars.
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The Short Version: A YA zombie apocalypse graphic novel packed to the brim with sarcasm and continuous action, that suffers from the artistic style, layout, and an ending that is 

The long version: First off, this graphic novel is as advertised and the synopsis is dead in, so you get exactly what you expect.  It’s a shame the synopsis didn’t reference the humor contained within because I think that would be a major selling point.  The main character is extremely sarcastic, and as a sarcastic person myself I really appreciated her personality.  The male main character is a very good sidekick and the author does an excellent job playing them off one another artfully.  The repartee is witty but still remains believable enough to suspend my reality.   

While this graphic novel doesn’t really bring anything new to the already saturated zombie apocalypse genre, it’s still a fun ride if you’re not looking for anything too heavy.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really unearth a discernible theme, so this is a graphic novel you could turn to if you want a quick fun read where you don’t have to think too hard.

Now for the drawbacks that really hurt this novel.  First, the artwork.  The drawing itself is stylized and of an anime style.  It’s well done, so the artist clearly has the skills to execute a good piece of art.  The biggest problem is the lack of color, which feels like a style choice.  When going black and white, it requires a little more attention to detail to keep everything legible and clean and the panels get confusing at times as a result.  The same is true for the layout.  I feel like some panels could be revised or removed and make the story tighter and cleaner.  

Worst of all however was the ending.  The novel appears to be part of a series as it ends on a cliffhanger, but I feel that the novel ends about 10 pages too late.  I get that the author wants to draw the audience in for a sequel but near the end, the main characters escape a pretty big challenge  only to encounter a new challenge (similar in nature to the one they just escaped).  This goes on for about 10 pages to lead to the cliffhanger, but at this point I felt like I was in a new chapter and we cut it off midstream.  Cliffhanger endings are tough to get the right balance between satisfying resolution with interest in what happens next, and unfortunately this novel misses it HARD.  I was really upset when I got to the end.  

Overall I’d say it’s a 3.5 overall so I’m giving three stars instead of four because that ending was so unsatisfying.

Component Ratings
Concept/ Idea: 3.5 out of 5
Artwork: 3 out of 5
Dialogue: 4.5 out of 5
Layout: 3 out of 5
Characters: 4 out of 5
Character Development: 3.5 out of 5
Plot: 3.5 out of 5
Humor: 4.5 out of 5
Ending: 1 out of 5
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