Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Your Lie in April Vol. 3 by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April 3 by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

Your Lie in April (3)

Very intense and emotionally exhausting! This volume concentrates on Arima's non-stop practicing for his upcoming competition. Kaori is very demanding of him but also highly encouraging; their relationship has become very close and tight. We get a lot of flashbacks also bringing more background and insight into Arima and hs friend's personalities. There are many fun, light-hearted moments, but I'm mostly finding this story's themes to be quite powerful.

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola. Illustrated by Emily Carroll

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola. Illustrated by Emily Carroll 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Candlewick Press

A modern day Baba Yaga story that has a girl raised on the folklore using her knowledge to help her pass the witch's tests. Thus, we get many Baba Yaga legends all rolled into the one story. A fun, simple story with just a hint of spookiness suitable for middle graders. The young naughty step-sister turns out to be more disturbing that Baba Yaga herself. I enjoyed the illustrations and the atmosphere, finding myself immersed in an evocative quick read.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blazing Comics #1-#5: The Green Turtle (1944-1945

Source: Free download at Digital Comics Museum

Blazing Comics #1 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published June 1944

The introduction of the Green Turtle. A Chinese Legend who appears on the scene to help Chinese civilians who are about to be killed by Japanese soldiers looking for gold being sent to Chunking. Very pro-China obviously, I enjoyed it and from an historical pov I don't find it racist for its time at all. GT is very mysterious, we never get to see his front and his skin is purplish so no idea as to his race or if he's even human at this point.

Blazing Comics #2 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published July 1944

This is a China invaded by the Japanese and I'm quite amazed by the accuracy of the viciousness being shown of terror and killing the Japanese wrought upon the Chinese during this time. A Japanese major captures a man who was sending secret messages about Japanese hideouts and "brutally" kills his wife and baby. Green Turtle and Burma Boy go on the offensive and save the day before any more innocent lives are lost. Burma Boy is likable because of his eagerness but also because he is always spouting applicable Confusiousisms.

Blazing Comics #3 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published September 1944

The classic twins scenario. The "Japs" are onto Green Turtle by this point and in this issue set a trap for him causing everyone to think he has turned traitor by using a decoy Japanese disguised as the GT. In the end, we end up having not two but three Green Turtles when Burma Boy goes to his rescue in the GT's spare Turtle Rocket.

Blazing Comics #4 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published February 1945

The Americans are on the scene! but surprisingly are not the heroes. An American unit is meeting with a Chinese group at an Inn but the Japanese get wind of it and arrive first. They kill all the Chinese, dress up in their uniforms and as house boys to trick the Americans. The bodies are all put in the basement; one man is not dead and sends a cryptic message to Green Turtle. GT arrives, finds the bodies, saves the Americans, saves the day, and possibly "the course of history". This is the first to go a little overboard on race issues, expecting that the "japs" could just dress-up like Chinese and the Americans wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Otherwise, so far the books have been very sensitive to the Chinese, presenting them as smart, heroic, allies *very* different from the Japanese.

Also, in this issue we see Green Turtle from side-views and front views in the distance and it is now noticed that he is wearing a full-face mask. Everyone is assuming he is ethnically Chinese though no mention of his true identity or origin has ever been mentioned.

Blazing Comics #5 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published March 1945

The first thing that must be mentioned is that the cover of this issue does not reflect the contents. A mistake or a war-time use of saving paper?? A town is being attacked by the Japanese and one man runs to tell Green Turtle but as GT and his brigade get there the town has already been taken. They see a man being tortured, rescue him, and find the town has been drugged to cause them to submit. GT reverses the effects with plain old water. This one is a little silly. Artwise, we don't have the big goofy shadow in this issue but lots of Green Turtle's full face mask and the villain, General Suki, is drawn as a very racist big-eared buck-toothed "Jap" but that's expected seeing as he's a member of the real-life enemy. Plotwise, Green Turtle's identity is questioned twice. And so ends the series. Perhaps because VE day came only 2 months after this issue was published, however we would have five more months before VJ day was celebrated.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 2 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 2 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by VIZ Media LLC
Source: Edelweiss Egalley + Purchased paperback

Tokyo Ghoul (2)

Ken continues to live with the ghouls learning how to handle his new life. This volume mostly deals with character, especially Ken and Touka. The plot is advanced as this group of ghouls now is protecting a mother and daughter whom the ghoul investigators are hunting. One of these dudes is so creepy looking it's hard to believe he's human himself! I'm loving this story. It's all pretty intense and a bit disturbing. The ending shock is rather macabre making me wonder where the story will be going in the next volume. Can't wait!

Noragami: Stray God Volume 6 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God 6 by Adachitoka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
Source: ARC from Random House Canada

Series: Noragami (5)

A wonderful volume which brings the entire current arc to a close. Lots of vicious battling and all the truths finally come out. I really didn't expect things to play out the way they did and I'm feeling all sad for one particular reason. This overshadows, for me, the happiness over how things wrapped up for the others. But I'm left wondering if we haven't seen the end of certain characters yet :-) Anyway, the volume ends with the beginning of a new school year starting and what looks like a fresh story to start in the next volume. Can't wait for the next book!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Sterling Gates

Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Sterling Gates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Inter-Library Loan

New 52

I loved this one! I'm a big fan of Dove and this volume featured my favourite hero, Deadman. Most of the book concerns one story arc where Hawk and Dove battle against Condor and Swan but this is also the love story of Dove and Deadman. I've only briefly had their relationship mentioned in a couple of other books and am so glad to have finally read their story! If you are into Justice League Dark's characters and want more Deadman this volume is a must read. But back to Dove and Hawk ... they are a great team too; I usually enjoy most of the bird heroes and Sterling Gates writes some really fun dialogue for this duo who do not even really like each other until the main story arc finishes. There is nothing serious about the stories here and after the Condor arc the book finishes with a few one or two-offs including a really amusing one in which this duo meet up and exchange quips with the "dynamic duo". This volume collects the complete series and it ends with the two jumping off to fight more crime together with a much more sound relationship.

The Creeps: Book 1: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer

The Creeps: Book 1: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Amulet Books
Source: Netgalley egalley

The Creeps (1)

An ok science mystery with a group of nerdy kids everybody calls the "Creeps". Each has a special interest or talent, but their looks don't seem to be any creepier than any of the other characters. Deals with a lot of general science topics as well as the more far-fetched plot of frankenstein-frogs. Occasionally goes into science teacher mode which felt like a forced time-out for an education lesson, but overall a decent combination of the bizarre and real science using the graphic novel format. Has a place in the school or classroom library.