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Graphic Novel Review: Hockey Karma

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Another hockey-themed graphc novel from Howard Shapiro

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Hey guys, it's your old buddy Jer, back for a quick moment to talk about books. Which is ironic, since all of Battle of California's readers are illiterate.

Almost two years ago to the day I posted my review of Howard Shapiro's The Hockey Saint, the second installment of a three part series. November 1st will mark the release of the third and final installment, Hockey Karma. Let's talk about it, and rest assured, as was the case last time, this post is not a paid sponsorship or advertisement.

Before I get in to it, I want to reiterate a caveat from my first review...

I should point out that what I perceive as the target audience for this novel is quite a bit younger than who typically visits this site. It definitely has a "Young Adult" fiction vibe. That's not particularly uncommon with many graphic novels however (nor is it a bad thing), and Shapiro's work was enjoyable and worth the read (but don't expect the type of crass, adult humor you find on Battle of California).

That may disappoint the low-brow readers of Battle of California, but the graphic novel was a fun read none the less.

Here's the official synopsis:

The highly anticipated sequel to the award winning "The Hockey Saint" taking place ten years after "Saint" ends. The legendary Jeremiah "Jake" Jacobson, now thirty two, has been the world’s best hockey player over his fourteen year career because of his out of this world talent and his smart play. But he can’t stay on top forever, and when he starts making mistakes on the ice, his career and family life start to crumble.

At the same time, Tom Leonard, his agent and best friend, is completely overwhelmed by a project that he and Jake were supposed to be working on together. A project that could have a huge impact on people throughout their city in need of a helping hand. As Jake sinks deeper into a funk over his lost status due to his deteriorating play and the emergence of teammate and rookie phenom Barclay Pedersen, Tom realizes he’s on his own. At the same time he rediscovers someone from his past who he never thought he’d see again. In that burgeoning relationship, Tom discovers the importance of taking chances and starts to believe in himself.

Can Jake break out of his downward spiral and Tom finally find the courage to step out of Jake’s shadow?

The Hockey Saint did well as a stand-alone comic without necessitating the backstory one would pickup from reading the first installment in the series, but I'd say one would benefit from having read Saint before Hockey Karma. The relationships in Karma are better experienced from the history put forth in Saint. As pointed out above, we've jumped 10 years ahead from the previous installment, and we're looking at a new set of relationship, professional, and personal problems.

Some are a bit familiar, as hockey star Jake Jacobson trades in the alcoholism from the previous book for a painkiller addiction in the new installment, but we also experience new twists and turns as Tom Leonard, all grown up now, battles with his connections to his past and the struggle to move forward (a struggle mirrored by Jacobson as he comes to terms with a playing career that's winding down).

Hockey Karma is a relatable story about hope, revival, and acceptance.

...And it combines hockey and comics, which is a pretty killer combination.

Okay, I'll let you folks get back to your regularly-scheduled garbage-humor. Take care, friends.