Sunday 13 March 2011

Water Baby - Ross Campbell

Water Baby
Ross Campbell
Minx an abandoned division of

DC Comics
ISBN 9781401211479

The short-lived MINX graphic novel line was supposed to feature stories about strong women and girls and be quality graphic novels for young women. I plan on keeping most of the series set aside for my daughters for when they are older, but this is one book I will not be keeping. I found very little that is redeeming about this graphic novel. The main character has lost her leg in a shark attack; we don't know if her sour view of life and the way she treats everyone poorly was habitual before or after the attack. She seems to just be a skank, with nothing to teach and there is no growth or change. The story feels incomplete and poorly planned compared to the rest in the MINX line. It does not really go anywhere but downhill. I was truly disappointed in this book, and with it being the last in the series I read, it is a good thing as I may not have read some of the others if I had read this earlier.

MINX Graphic Novels:

The P.L.A.I.N. Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg (May 2 2007)
Re-Gifters by Mike Carey, Marc Hempel, and Sonny Liew (Jun 6 2007)
Clubbing by Andi Watson and Josh Howard (July 11 2007)
Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm (Aug 1 2007)
Confessions of a Blabbermouth by Mike Carey, Louise Carey, and Aaron Alexovich(Sep 12 2007)
Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich (Nov 7 2007)
Burnout by Rebecca Donner (Jun 24 2008)
Water Baby by Ross Campbell(July 8 2008)
The New York Four by Ryan Kelly (July 22 2008)
Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci (Sep 23 2008)
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki (Oct 14 2008)
Token by Alisa Sheckley (Nov 4 2008)

All Nighter by David Hahn (Unreleased)
Janes Go Summer by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg ( (Unreleased)


Anonymous said...

I have to be honest here, this review is pretty light on the details. Other than not liking the main character I can't really tell what it was about the book that didn't work for reads a little mean spirited actually.

I mean, calling the lead character a "skank"? Is that really necessary?

I personally liked the book a lot, I don't expect everyone to agree of course...but this review is coming off pretty unprofessional and ill-considered.

I found the main character's post traumatic stress in the form of hallucinations, dreams, etc. to be both moving and frightening...again, that's just my take, it doesn't have to be yours but I'm surprised you don't even mention those aspects of the book - whether you liked them or not.

As for it feeling unfinished, as I understand it, Campbell was originally supposed to get a follow up volume until Minx got the ax. Maybe you wouldn't have read the second volume had it come out since you didn't like this one, but maybe it being the first half of a story would have made it feel less incomplete to you.

Food for thought at least.

Steven R. McEvoy said...

The biggest disappointment is all the other books in the series, the MINX line present strong female characters. Good examples, yes they make mistakes, and yes they have screwed up. But they are stories I look forward to sharing with my daughters when they are older. This one I don't care if they read, the rest I am keeping for them.

No for completeness, the Janes series was to have a 3rd volume and there is now a 4 part series completing the New York Four. But each of them felt like complete stories, yes with next chapters but they were good enough to stand alone. This one lack's that.

Anonymous said...

I read all the Minx books, and I disagree that Brody is not a "strong female character". Brody is crazy she may not be your idea of a role model, but that's not what you said, so I think you need to be more careful in your word choice...this is a review after all, not just journal ramblings. For my money Brody was far more fleshed out and realistic to the modern teen than most of the portrayals I read in the Minx line (even up against other books that I liked). Brody was certainly one of the strongest females in the entire Minx run. Again, you may not think she's good for your kids, or perhaps she doesn't line up with your personal beliefs, and that's fine, but that's different than what you're saying. And what you're saying comes off really judgmental - hence my shock at the use of the word skank - which is a pretty offensive word to brand a young woman.

It's your review blog and thus your prerogative to say this book couldn't "stand alone", but in case anyone is reading that might be interested in a different opinion, I have to say I totally disagree. I was excited for another volume of Water Baby not because the story felt unfinished, but because I wanted more time with Campbell's see what the next adventure was.

Campbell has a very realistic writing style that doesn't always follow a traditional Hollywood narrative "this happened, then this happened, and now climax and tie it all up with a pretty bow!" but I (and others) like that about his writing because life rarely gets tied up with a pretty bow. More often than not you end up stranded on a road after eating some delicious pie.

Tomato, tomahto I suppose.

I am wondering though...I found your review because you tweeted it with Mr. Campbell's name linked to it...why on earth would you direct a creator to such review? Did you think he would really enjoy your a negative review that calls his main character such a pejorative name?