Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon Easton

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon Easton; Denis Medri (illus)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 104 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by IDW
Source: egalley via netgalley

What a wonderful book. I've read another recent graphic novel on Andre, but this one is even better! The art is absolutely fantastic! The book tells the story of Andre's life from childhood to death from his own point of view. It was great to see the first three Wrestlemania's covered as these were my hey-days when I was a wrestling fan back in the '80s. I pretty much already knew the story of Andre's life but this is a book that embraces him and tells his own bittersweet story. The Foreword is written by his only daughter, Robin Roussimoff.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker

Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker; Sean Phillips (illus)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook, Digital Edition, 138 pages
Published June 27th 2012 by Image Comics
Source: Comixology Unlimited

Fatale (#1)

I really enjoyed this. Pulp, noir mystery combined with cults, demons and the general paranormal. The story is a bit cliched but a lot of fun. Switching between the present and the 1950s a detective gets caught up in his grandfather's past. The art is excellent! Done in the style of the fifties it really brings the story to life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FukuFuku: Kitten Tales Vol. 1 by Kanata Konami

FukuFuku: Kitten Tales by Kanata Konami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 155 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Vertical Comics
Source: Purchased print copy new via amazon.ca

FukuFuku: Kitten Tales (Vol. 1)

A cute kitten manga about an elderly lady and the first days of her kitten acclimatising to his new home There are a lot of sound effects and wordless sections as only the woman talks. I like that the kitten doesn't talk as Chi's talking was annoying from the manga-ka's previous series "Chi's Sweet Home". But, otherwise, FukuFuku is nowhere near as good as the Chi series at this point. Fuku just seems so basic, the woman has no personality or dimension of her own and the art isn't as defined, it's simply not as cute or funny. I would read a second volume if it starting adding the story of the woman, as Chi was the story of a family.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Omnibus by Mingming

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Omnibus by Mingming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 708 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Dark Horse
Source: Purchased print copy amazon.ca

Neon Genesis Evangelion Universe

 Collects all 4 volumes of this mini-series spin-off. A nice omnibus edition with colour pages at the beginning of each volume and paper a bit nicer than what you find in viz's omnibus editions. I've read the original Evangelion series, but am not a super fan or anything like that so can't really go in-depth about characters, etc. However, this is a very different take on the series and is set prior to the original series and basically takes a completely different spin on the story It's still science fiction but no giant mecha fighting machines. Shinji and Kaworu are the main character emphasis and the story is based on "angels" (the enemy) inhabiting human bodies. I really enjoyed the story though I found at points it seemed to have continuity problems. It was fun to revisit all the characters even if they were presented differently, they still had the same basic personalities. While this is still a serious story, it is certainly much lighter than the immensely heavy original series. I don't watch anime so am only speaking from a reader's pov, but I found this a worthwhile read and entertaining reimagining of the series.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Far Out Fairy Tales: Five Full-Color Graphic Novels edited by Sean Tulien

Far Out Fairy Tales: Five Full-Color Graphic Novels edited by Sean Tulien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback
Published April 1st 2016 by Stone Arch Books
Source: Review copy thanks to Capstone Publishing

An omnibus collection of five previously published graphic novel retellings of fairytales by Capstone. These are wild, silly "far out" pastiches and written by familiar names who often write for Capstone. I was thrilled to find "Oddly Normal" author Otis Frampton among those names but his ended up not being my favourite, that honour goes to "Super Billy Goats Gruff" by Sean Tulien. The art is superb throughout and while a few different artists' work appears it is mostly cohesive together, only one did not suit my tastes. Overall, an excellent collection for fairy tale enthusiasts. Also, each story ends with a page of text telling the original story and it's history and is followed by a graphic visual of the changes between the original and the "Far Out" version.

1. Ninja-rella by Joey Comeau (Omar Lozano) - The art is wonderful. It's very angular, bold and colourful! The story is very similar to the Perrault tale we are all familiar with few exceptions but the theme. Cinderella is into being a ninja and changes her name after her mum dies. She practices all the time with a glass Katana sword. After being orphaned the steps treat her as we expect but the story changes when Ninja-rella dreams of going to the ball so she can meet the prince and become his personal bodyguard! Thankfully, her Godninja shows up just in time. Cute! (4/5)

2. Red Riding Hood, Superhero by Otis Frampton - I was thrilled to see this comic by the author of the "Oddly Normal" series. Of course, the art is great and there are lots of funny moments of dialogue. This retelling totally refreshes the original. The only basic element the same is in which Red named Ruby, is on her way to see her Granny and intercepted by the Big Bad Wolf. However, BBW is out to kidnap Granny who just happens to be the President of the United States. The story is full of action as she takes on Professor Grimm, a man who was bitten by a radioactive wolf, now a werewolf. We even get a flasback to Riding Hood's origin story of her superpowers which reside in the cape/hood and it's pretty cute. Another fun tale for the intended audience. (4/5)

3. Super Billy Goats Gruff by Sean Tulien (Fernando Cano) - This one is hilarious. Only slightly keeps some basic elements of the original tale. The three goats set off over the hill to find some grass to eat and end up eating three strange shaped mushrooms which zap them straight into a video game. All the essential video game tropes ensue including fighting level bosses until they beat the creature on the bridge and return to their own world. Another example of wonderful art similar in style to the previous stories. My favourite so far. (5/5)

4. Snow White and the Seven Robots by Louise Simonson (Jimena Sanchez) - Overall, this is the best written story in the book but my least favourite art. The style is completely different, which makes it stand out in a collection like this and it just doesn't do anything for me. The story, however, is well-told and the most entertaining here. It stays very close to the original tale, without much deviation except it has been set in outer space on an alien planet, Techworld. Also, it's not Snow's beauty which causes envy but her intelligence. I really enjoyed this one! (5/5)

5. Hansel & Gretel & Zombies by Benjamin Harper (Fernando Cano) - This is just silly. It doesn't follow the original story much as you would probably expect, what with everybody being zombies. However, all the plot points are there: being lost in the forest, the candy house, Hansel being plumped up, etc. It has a nice happy ending for everybody including the witch. My least favourite story in the collection but the art is by the same artist as the "Billy Goats" story so it is good. (3/5)

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 6 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 6 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: Purchased print copy new

Tokyo Ghoul (6)

Very intense issue. A little confusing at first as it jumps around with the Ghoul Investigators and a new arc with Ken and co. The new agent (picture on cover) is very weird but we don't know much about him yet. He is reminding me somewhat of "L" from Death Note. Ken and gang have a run-in with a group of Ghouls who are being led by some creepy dudes. Then they kidnap Ken and the intensity rises!

Lou by Melissa Mendes

Lou by Melissa Mendes
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 11th 2016 by Alternative Comic
Source: egalley via edelweiss

A seemingly simple look at childhood which presents a deeper story than one would first surmise. The art is basic and unpretentious hand drawings and the story seems to take place over one summer as the kids don't go to school. Lou and her brother are about 12 and 6 and spend every waking minute bickering, arguing and together. The also have a teenager brother who works at a pizza shop. The family is poor, can't afford a pet dog, but dad brings one home anyway. The book mostly examines the dynamics of the two bickering siblings; mum seems to be depressed, with it all we get a glimpse of the parents past, how mum dropped out of college, they met in a bar, she got pregnant, they got married, he works landscaping with his dad. To add excitement we also have a mysterious but also somehow sad story of the pizza store owner being beaten up by what appears to be mafia types, the owner disappears and the teenage son who has appeared to be a punk layabout so far steps up and starts running the shop. Everything comes to a head one night when the little boy runs away when being babysat by the teen while the parents are out celebrating their anniversary. An engaging story, rather bittersweet, but also optimistic. I would read more from the author.