Graphic Novel Review: Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon, Michael Allred, & Matt Brundage

Reggie has never wanted anything to do with his mother's secret organization or the art they protect, but his graffiti arm, given to him on the night he first discovered art is actually alive, is a constant reminder and a constant burden. But when all the Art Ops agents disappear and art starts wreaking havoc, it's up to Reggie, a comic book superhero, an 80s music video star, and a teenager to fix things.

Title: Art Ops Vol. 1
Book Number: Volume 1 of TBA
Pages: 144
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this graphic novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

So I just wanna start off this review by saying the main character in this graphic novel is part human, part graffiti. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. That’s like 80% of the reason I decided to read this.

Seriously, it was like:
– 80% the main character has graffiti for an arm
– 19% art by Michael Allred, the same artist who did iZombie
– 1% oh, yeah, I guess the story sounds good too, and since I took art classes for numerous years in middle and high school and always said I wanted to have a career that involved art (that never happened), I like to pretend I actually know anything about the topic even though in reality I’m actually one of those people who goes to art museums and says things like, “That’s just a black circle on a canvas. I could paint that myself.”

Ok that last part may have been a bit off topic, but this really was a fun, unique graphic novel, and you don’t need to know anything about art or famous artwork to enjoy it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the actual premise of a secret team keeping famous works of art safe, but it turned out to be an action-packed storyline, and the characters kept it entertaining rather than serious or stuffy.

Speaking of which, Reggie was a hard character to like, but I found myself liking him anyway. He was really rough around the edges… and the middle—he cared more about drinking, drugs, and fighting than anything else really—but he’s had a tough life. He was still a good person underneath his roughness.

As for the artwork, of course that was amazing.

The only real problem I had was that I was a little confused sometimes about exactly what was going on. It could’ve been the ARC formatting, it could’ve been the way it was written, it could’ve been me, I’m not really sure, but it was usually just small things and thus not something that ruined the story.

So overall, Art Ops Vol. 1 was creative in it’s premise and beautifully illustrated, and it was fun seeing pieces of art come alive in the real world! I do plan to continue the series as I think I’ll get even more into it as I get to know the characters more.


Book Tags:

Basic Info

Book Author: , ,
Genre: , ,
My Rating:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Non-Human Type:


Talk to me!

Have you read Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon, Matt Brundage, & Michael Allred?
If you could bring any piece of artwork to life, who or what would it be?
And do you also ever feel like you could make some of the art in museums?


Your Thoughts


6 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Review: Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon, Michael Allred, & Matt Brundage

I'd love if you'd share your thoughts, too!


Reading your comments makes me a very happy blogger!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Angela @ Simply Angela

    I’ve never been a big fan of graphic novels, but this one sounds interesting with the art theme.

    I’ve always dabbled in art, but it’s been more for fun than anything serious. I had to take an art history class for my Renaissance Studies degree, so I’ve been intrigued by paintings although when we move into modern art or abstract, it’s not really my thing. I’m like you, ‘it’s a black circle on a canvas’.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I just started getting into graphic novels near the end of last year and haven’t read a whole lot, but trying more of them was one of my goals this year. I like them as an occasional thing. They’re kind of like a nice break from conventional books every so often, and they’re lovely to look at when you like the artwork.

      I also took an art history class in college. But yeah, it’s the modern stuff that really kind of baffles me sometimes. How does one get paid for that kind of art? Because I want in lol.

  2. Greg

    Definitely an interesting premise! I’m not always a fan of Allred’s stuff (depends on the book) as his style fits some stories better than others, but it looks like it would be a good fit here. And art is alive? That sounds fun. 🙂

    I have the problem with some GN’s too as far as knowing what is going on. Sometimes it’s the artist and sometimes just the layout… as for bringing art to life, I would probably go with a fantasy landscape, some place I could explore. And yeah I love fantasy art and illustration and buy some occasionally, but I’m not always a fan of “serious” art if you know what I mean. Like the kind you mention.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m not sure what else Allred has done aside from iZombie. But yeah, I thought it was a good fit with this story. And this one was fun 🙂

      Yeah, I’m honestly just not sure what it was. Sometimes it was like a character’s thought text would be on the next page and so I would have to go back to see who was talking, so I don’t know if it got formatted badly or if maybe the two pages would’ve been next to each other in a physical copy and thus made more sense, and I kept confusing two characters in the beginning who looked alike, little stuff like that. And I agree that I love looking at some types of art, it’s why I love book covers so much, but it’s some of the modern stuff that kind of baffles me.

  3. Lola

    A graffiti arm? That sure sounds original if a bit weird, but at least that explains why his arm looks so colorful on the cover. I was wondering about that. And I can totally see why the graffiti arm was 80% of the reason you wanted to read this book.

    Oh and good art is always a good thing when picking up a book with art in it. I did some art classes in high school and really enjoyed it, I was really into drawing back then. I remember my last project for our art class I decided to work with charcoal and it was an interesting material to work with. And there were all sorts of hints and tiny aspect in the drawing that had some sort of meaning. It was a huge drawing basically and it took me many hours to complete it. I had to hang the paper on a door so I could work on it. I wonder if I still have that project lying around somewhere. Okay sorry drifted a bit off topic there. After high school I mostly doodled during college and nowadays I don’t really do anything with art anymore.

    This sounds like an interesting book in general and that’s nice to hear you still liked the main character even though he was a bit difficult to like. That’s too bad about it being a tad confusing at times, but as long as it didn’t ruin the story it doesn’t seem too bad. maybe it’s something about the arc formatting indeed. I once got an arc graphic novel that was formatted really weirdly on my ipad and I eventually had to read it on my computer as it did look good there. Great review!

    btw that cover for the book you’re currently reading my zombie boyfriend looks kinda cute and fun. Makes me wonder what it’s about. And why is there a duck on the cover? It doesn’t really look like the typical zombie book cover.

    1. Kristen Burns

      So original, right?! I wasn’t kidding about that being like 80% of my reason for reading lol.

      I really liked Michael Allred’s artwork in iZombie, so I knew I’d like the art in this one. And it’s funny, apparently a lot of us took art in high school and then just kind of faded away from it. I’ve never used charcoal though, that sounds cool. I was most comfortable simply with pencil. You know, like sketches, but still with details and shading and whatnot. But I was never, amazing at it the way some people are. Just decent, I suppose. And I used to paint my arm in art class or draw with pen and just go around the rest of my school day with pretty, abstract designs painted on me lol. I really don’t do anything artsy anymore either though, unless you count that I want to learn Photoshop.

      But yes, back on topic lol. I did read this one on the computer, but I still think it might be less confusing in the final physical copy. Idk, not really sure what it was. Still enjoyable though.

      Ok this is so weird to me because you’re the second person who told me the Zombie Boyfriend cover has made them interested in the book because of the duck, but I actually really dislike the cover and it’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t even look twice at. I happened to find this book because I saw the title and clicked the link to see the blurb. So that’s funny that I’m apparently the odd one out!