Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Teen Titans
Earth One

These Earth One books on the one hand confuse me with why DC presumes we need completely new off-canon origin stories but on the otherhand, they can prove entertaining, this one particularly so. I'm relatively new to the Teen Titans having read them in the New 52 and Young Justice and watched one of the cartoons, so I only know a bit about some of the characters true origins. Raven has always been one of my favourite TTs so I was a bit dismayed to have her portrayed as Native-American here but Lemire pulls it off very well and her introduction to the team is titillating. Jericho and Terra I've not met before and found their characters interesting even if Terra was a bit too much the whiny, angry teen for my tastes. Cyborg's origin story came completely out of left-field for me but it was so different from how he's always been portrayed (though his change still comes about through a parent) that I found it played out well. Also introduced in this volume are Starfire, Beastboy and Tempest. The book leaves us with having met these teens but by no means are they anywhere close to being a team yet.

View all my reviews

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler





The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was a lot of fun, especially for someone who already knows the premise of Macbeth. Macbeth is one of my absolute favourite Shakespeare so I was looking forward to this. I'm not sure this could be said to be a child's first introduction to Shakespeare in a meaningful way but they'll love it for the pure humour of it. The art is fantastic, as I also enjoyed Giallongo's work in "Broxo". Bold and vibrant with a colour palette of mostly greens and blues to match the atmosphere of the tragedy of Macbeth. However, this version of the play is pure pleasure with zoo animals as the characters and a hungry lion eating his victims while they remain talkative in his tummy, instead of any murders. It was quite fun to see how imaginative Lendler could be with incorporating real elements of the Shakespeare into this parody. He even inserts a couple of direct quotes. Adults will have a good giggle at the pastiche while children will belly-laugh at the shear farce. The last page tells us the next coming attraction will be "Romeo & Juliet". Now that is one of my most hated Shakespeare but I have to say I'm quite looking forward to seeing what Lendler will do with it!

View all my reviews

Explorer: The Hidden Doors by Kazu Kibuishi




Explorer: The Hidden Doors by Kazu Kibuishi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Explorer (3)

This is my first "Explorer" and I'll have to go back and read the first two as I fair enjoyed this. Now I'd only read a couple of the author/illustrators before but both Kibuishi and Canadian Faith Erin Hicks are favourites of mine. Anthologies are best when they have a solid theme and this one's "Hidden Doors" is an intriguing one. Each story does have a physical door in it, but the differences end there. Each story took the theme in a unique direction; Kazu Kibuishi's offering was my favourite by far though.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination by Dan Mishkin




Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination by Dan Mishkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is about as exciting as one would expect the Warren Commission Report to be. However, it does a good job of presenting the report alongside of the conspiracy theories while showing how the way the report was commissioned could result in nothing but debate and conspiracies. I'm not a big fan of assassination history and while I know this event as well as the next educated person it's not something I particularly read about so did find quite a lot of new interesting tidbits of information. The writing style is entertaining and the book thoroughly held my attention for me to read it in one day. The art however, I did not like at all. The people are downright ugly, especially the faces of the women. 'nough said. The book is obviously written to an adult audience but could certainly be read by teens though I can't see it having any appeal unless it was for an assignment or such.

View all my reviews

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner



Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Powerful story, fictionalized but inspired by the author's own family history of the Japanese internment camps. This is a good introduction to the topic and the text is large and bold which will make it a good choice for reluctant readers as well. I just love the artist's work, the heads are just a little too oblong to be proportionate making for an interesting style. This is a hard-hitting tale that deals with racism, bullying, family conflict and fear along with the historical element. A compelling story that leaves the reader somber with its bittersweet ending.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kamen Volume 2 by Gunya Mihara

Kamen Volume 2 by Gunya Mihara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kamen (2)

First off, I love the art in this series! Volume two is battle intensive, well, really one big battle from beginning to end. I must admit to being a bit confused at certain points not sure which side was which at various points, especially the beginning. It does take a long time for the main characters to appear, both Simba: the female general and the man with the mask. Once they appear in the story it was easier for me to follow, being that I myself am not all that military minded. However, this is great historical fantasy manga. Even though lots of war, no bloody violence, and the story keeps a fast pace and is exciting. No real character development is added in this volume but we do get to know more about the masters of the "Nen Arts" as several warriors from both sides enter into this dimension during the battle. As the book nears the end focus is once again on The Masked Man and the conclusion leads us to believe the next volume will contain more character focus. I love the masked man and his sentient mask and can't wait to find out more about them.

View all my reviews

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks



The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an incredible story I've never read about before. I had heard of it but it was fascinating to finally get the full details of the story. The book is well-written and while being an historical account of the all-black regiment is also an horrendous depiction of the ghastly racism that was so rampant in the US at that time, seething unfiltered straight into its military. The book is done in black and white which is a wise choice as it is incredibly violent, holding back on none of the gruesome deaths and injuries incurred during war and especially this type of trench warfare. The story is an accurate depiction of what the 369th Infantry Regiment experienced from the days of recruitment to their return to the US, but it has been fictionalized into a story with characters who are amalgamations of various types of real-life people, though a few historical characters do appear. I found the book very interesting and an engrossing read, but felt it was too long as there were parts here and there when I started to loose interest and saw myself looking at how much longer the book was. It was a detailed story but I think it may have gripped me more emotionally had it been shorter. Again the story deals with many military aspects of the war and I think the book is best suited for those who first have an interest in WWI, then secondly in the other topics covered here. This is a must have title for libraries though.

View all my reviews