‘Burnout’ – Yet Another Minx Graphic Novel I Liked

I just can’t stop going to this well, can I? I revel in the irony of the fact that when the Minx line from DC Comics was announced, I was very harsh on the name of the line and the intended purpose. But it seems that I have yet to dislike any of the books I’ve read from the line, and the latest to add to that list is Burnout written by Rebecca Donner and art by Inaki Miranda.

I was first told about Burnout by its author, Rebecca Donner when we met at the New York Comic Con in April 2008. She pitched it to me as “an eco-terrorism story with a little incest thrown in.” Needless to say, that got my attention immediately. But like any one line pitch, that doesn’t nearly encapsulate the story completely, nor does it do the book justice. But what it did was it got me to give the book a shot.

What the story actually is, is the story of a teenage girl, Danni, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s recently moved, with her Mom, into the house of her Mom’s alcoholic, abusive boyfriend and his son, who also happens to be around Danni’s age. As Danni gets to know her soon to be stepbrother, Haskell, she finds out that he is both dreamy and an eco-terrorist, protecting trees from getting cut down and being a nuisance to the local logging industry. A romance develops as Danni and Haskell give into their teenage desires, and Danni gets pulled into the world of eco-terrorism.

Now that’s a very simple explanation of the story, and on the surface, it comes off as a very melodramatic young adults book with enough of a “current events” vibe with the eco-terrorism to make it worth reading from an adult’s point of view, but with the romance and relationships that would engage the kids. Entertainment with a message. But that wouldn’t do this book justice at all. Rather, what Burnout shows, is what books written “for kids” can really be. And that’s a complex, mature and intelligent story as opposed to some sort of dumbed down simplistic story made by adults for kids. In between the main storyline of Danni and her romance with Haskell, there are multiple subplots including Danni’s relationship with her best friend, Danni’s mother’s relationship with her boyfriend Hank, Danni and her mother’s past and what happened to her father, the local economy and the declining logging industry and the affects that has on a community. There’s a lot of stuff going on in a book “for kids.”

It’s this concept of books for kids that we seem to wrestle with over and over again, saying that, “Kids aren’t reading comics!” and “How can we get kids to read comics!?!” The answer isn’t doing simple versions of the comics we all read, as some publishers seem to think. Rather it’s simply make good comics and make them available. Get them in the hands of the libraries and schools and see what happens. If it’s good, people will buy it. With each and every book from the Minx line I get more and more angry at the fact that DC Comics let the economics of this broken industry of comic books stop, what to me, seems like a complete success of a line of books. I have 2 nieces who are way to young to be reading the Minx books (6 and 3 years old respectively) but I’m saving these books to give to them when they’re 13, because I think they will enjoy them. That is after they stop laughing at me for handing them one of those old fashioned “books” and not simply downloading it to their holo-reading device, because that’s what we’ll be using by the time they’re 13, but that’s besides the point.

As far as graphic novels are concerned, Burnout is an excellent book. Donner crafts a story that is engaging and slowly reveals plot details at a pace that keeps you turning the pages. It passed my “one sitting” test, as I sat down with this book and didn’t put it down until it was finished. Part of the enjoyment of that reading came from Inaki Miranda’s artwork, which is absolutely fantastic. A simple, clean line style that is across between cartoony styles and manga, which results in a gentleness to the characters which compliments the emotions of the story in a perfect manner. The use of grey tones allow the setting to subtly shift and change to support the mood of the scene. It’s one of those moments where it seems so effortless, you almost don’t notice how great your perception of the scene is being manipulated to get you to feel for the characters and the story.

I’m really sad to see the Minx line go, but I hope that writers like Rebecca Donner will be able to find a home at other publishers like Oni Press or Image Comics and continue to create graphic novels. I’m positive that Miranda’s work will cross my desk again, as his pencils are top notch. These digest sized graphic novels, a format I’ve been resistant to have completely captured my attention this year as the number of them I’ve bought have increased. I just hope that now that I’m hooked, there will be more to enjoy. Time will tell.


  1. I am sad too.  Like the New York Four, it was an amazingly deep and engaging book.  The art previews of Burnout at the end of the Four really sold me.  I am trying to work my way through the whole line.  Were there any others that stood out to you?

  2. I truly miss the Minx line.  I haven’t read Burnout yet (I think I’ve been hoarding them and avoiding finishing the last couple books to stave off the mourning process) but I’m excited to check it out.  Great review, Ron.  Feel free to keep coming back to this well because people really need to celebrate this line.  

  3. @UncleBob: Stay far away from Water Baby.

  4. Can anyone recomend or recomend staying away from Token? I love that artist. She did a book called 12 Reasons Why I Love Her…it’s fantastic. Written by (oh crap I forget his name) the guy that writes Love the Way You Love…S. Rich or something? Anyway Ron- You should consider 12Reasons when you next have book of the month duty.

  5. @KriederDesigns – TOKEN was quite good.

  6. But let’s not forget that the publishers have a slew of women to showcase for us in comics.

    Why have realistic or more tasteful views on women when we have the likes of Power Girl, or Wonder Woman, or Loki, or……*sighs*

  7. I think the minx line was cool, but I get a kick out of the fact that it seemed a line designed for teen girls sold more to 30 something men…uhhh…oops. All of the minx titles I picked up had quality art and story…and were the ‘one off" stories people claim they want. Could it be that the young teen manga fans have already become too puritanical in their tastes that they won’t look outside the chosen genre?

  8. Vertigo is the best of the bunch.

    By far.

  9. @AlexG – Not enough variant covers to boost sales.

  10. I picked this book up a month ago and thought it was really well drawn and written.  Good article Ron.