Friday, March 28, 2014

131. Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou.  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 216 pgs

Ages: (16+)

"Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle-school student Ganta Igarashii finds himself sentenced to death in the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison known as “Deadman Wonderland.” The inmates of this insane penitentiary fight for survival every day to provide entertainment for the masses. Ganta is determined to survive Deadman Wonderland and clear his name, but the price may be his soul…"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Off to a fantastic start. This is creepy, unsettling, horrific Japanese dystopia at its finest.  Add in a paranormal element and everything you could want is here.  Deadman Wonderland is a most unique world; an amusement park built on top of a privatized prison, the park is run by the inmates and the death row inmates are especially heinously controlled and  made to participate is events (games) which result in life or death.  A little like "Hunger Games" only more violent.  While futuristic and dystopian the story easily crosses over into horror.  Numerous cast members are introduced in this first volume but the focus is on the main two characters, Ganta wrongfully imprisoned on death row for a massacre he did not commit and Shiro, a strange girl with white hair who befriends him.  Awesome new series!  I love this kind of stuff!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

128. Tiger & Bunny 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara

Tiger & Bunny 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara.  (buy)
Tiger & Bunny, 4

Rating: (4/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 180 pgs

Ages: (13+)

"The heroes face down the deranged NEXT killer Lunatic. Lunatic’s vigilantism has the city on edge, and the heroes find themselves having to convince everyone that NEXT are working for the good of Stern Bild City. Lunatic is in the wrong, but there is much more to the madman than anyone knows…"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

A good issue that takes up the plot of the strange hero introduced and at the end of the last issue and we meet the entirely creepy NEXT "Lunatic" who is a vigilante type, working solo to rid the world of convicted criminals and if they aren't actually guilty ... oh well!  The Heroes on Hero TV must find this guy, get him out of action and restore the Heroes' reputation with the people back to them as they haven't been having much luck lately.  The hero to make an appearance and get his focus this time is the Origami Cyclone, a nice guy who is similar to Bunny in looks, a bit smaller, more rugged, appears to be younger, but one brief mention seems to say he is older, however around the same age.  Origami doesn't feel like hero material as he thinks his power is lame and not a front-line player who could ever make a difference.  With the help of T&B they put him to work and he works as a team using his power of impersonation is a crucial part of bringing in criminals while at the same time the Lunatic is trying to take him down.  Good Stuff!!  Japanese superheroes are a totally different breed than US ones, that's for sure! LOL

Monday, March 24, 2014

125. Magi, Volume 4 by Shinobu Ohtaka.

Magi, Volume 4 by Shinobu Ohtaka.  (buy)
Magi, The Labyrinth of Magic (Vol, 4)

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 208 pgs

Ages: (13+) T

"After many adventures, Aladdin and Morgiana finally reach the great city of Balbadd, only to find it seething with corruption and dissent. There, Aladdin reunites with his friend Alibaba hoping to once again capture a dungeon together. However, Aladdin finds that Alibaba has changed and has become the leader of a band of outlaws..."

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I continue to enjoy this series immensely.  It has everything I love: magic, battles, paranormal, developed characters and a strong storyline.  Morgiana is probably the focus of this volume, though Aladdin is a close second. Captured by slave traders once again Mor. puts her new found talents as a Fanaris warrior to use and we have some great strong female warrior action as she saves not only herself but many others, eventually meeting up with Aladdin once more.  They set off on the journey to Balbadd together, Mor so she can take the ship back to her homeland and Aladdin so he can find his long separated friend Alibabba.  What greets them in Balbadd is a town under siege and terror of a horde of thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor.  But they meet the King and he is a nice guy so they agree to help him out with the thief problem.  Old friends reunite under difficult circumstances and introduced is a new familiar character from the annals of "The Arabian Nights".  A great ending to the book in the way of:  "now let me tell you a story ...."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

119. Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini edited by Tom Pomplun

Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini edited by Tom Pomplun (buy)
Graphic Classics, Volume 13

Rating: (4/5)

2006; Eureka Productions, 144 pgs

Ages: (12+)

"Seven Great Tales of Mystery and Swashbuckling Adventure!

• Captain Blood
The origin of Sabatini's famed gentleman pirate in comics by 
Rod Lott and Carlo Vergara

• The Dream
A tale of love, murder and hypnotism, as illustrated by Rich Tommaso

• The Risen Dead
A walking corpse and an abused woman's revenge,
adapted by Antonella Caputo and Jackie Smith

• The Plague of Ghosts
A petty criminal turns ghost-hunter, illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan

• The Valet Mystery
A blackmailer meets his match in a story adapted by Stanley Shaw

• The Spiritualist
Is it spiritualism, or charlatanism? Illustrated by Roger Langridge

• The Fool's Love Story
A jester's unrequitted love, presented by Milton Knight,
and starring his characters Hugo and Trish!

• Plus a biography of Rafael Sabatini in comics by 
Mort Castle and Kevin Atkinson"

Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

I had never heard of Sabatini before I started reading this series and noted his name on the list of titles.  Since then I've read one story in another collection in this series but do not think I've come across him anywhere before.  Since I didn't know the author I started by reading the brief bio always included at the end of these books.  That he was most well-known for his sea-faring, buccaneering stories interested me as did that he was a writer of the 20s and 30s, as I like literature from that time period.  This was a very entertaining book for me and a great introduction to a new-to-me author.  I now realise that I've seen the old Erroll Flynn type movie remakes of his novels but the first story here, an adaptation of the swashbuckler Captain Blood was my least favourite.  What follows is then a varied collection of short stories which would be classified as of the macabre, ghost stories, mysteries, perhaps horror.  I enjoyed all of them and now would most certainly read any shorts I came across by this somewhat elusive author.  There is also included a short graphic biography of Sabatini's life as well, which I enjoyed.  Another book in this series did that also and I was impressed when it was done then.  This graphic-bio. introduction to the author would make a great regular feature for the author-themed titles in this series.  The art is of the usual quality that one expects from the earlier books in this series.  Black and white with varying degrees of styles that all appealed to me in one way or another.  A fine book in the collection and a great way to sample a new author.

Friday, March 21, 2014

124. Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Realm Knights by Pat Shand

Realm Knights by Pat Shand.  Illustrated by Butch Mapa.  (buy)
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents

Rating: (3/5)

Jan 21, 2014; Zenescope, 156 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Sela. Robyn Hood. Red Riding Hood. Captain Hook. Neptune, God of the Sea. Van Helsing. On their own, they are some of the most powerful beings in the Grimm Universe... but together, they are the Realm Knights! Brought together to stop an ancient evil from regaining his all-powerful weapons, can these conflicted warriors work out their own issues in time to save the world?"

Received an egalley from the publisher through Net Galley.

I really enjoyed this.  It collects together a bunch of the Grimm Universe characters and makes a special ops team out of them (mostly against there will) to fight off Cronus who is trying to reunite the Titans and take back control of the world.  Fun mixture of Greek mythology and the Grimm Universe.  Only problem is that this book falls into a continuity that has already started somewhere that is not made clear to the reader where they should start.  There are lots of asterisks referring one to either published trade collections or single comic issues.  The only character I had previously met before in my Grimm reading was Robyn Hood; I'm sure knowing some of the others would have raised my enjoyment level considerably.  The 2-volume "Unleashed" series is referred to in the asterisks and, as far as I can tell, should at least be the books to read before this one.  I found the art a little underwhelming than what I'm used to with anything I read from Zenescope; this is the first time I've come across Mapa on artwork and the gorgeousness from the regular stable of artists is just not there.  This is an interesting team-up though, I especially liked Van Helsing (she is awesome) and I'd read more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

115. Batman: Li'l Gotham Vol. 1 by Derek Fridolfs

Batman: Li'l Gotham Vol. 1 by Derek Fridolfs . Art by Dustin Nguyen (buy)
Batman: Li'l Gotham

Rating: (2/5)

Feb 25, 2014; DC Comics, 128 pgs

Ages: (7+)

" Don’t miss these holiday-centric, all-ages tales starring Batman and all his crimefighting compadres from BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM #1-6! This title includes appearances by The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn!"

Received an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss.

What the heck did I just read??!  I *thought* I was going to be reading a Batman aimed at little kids but then as I started reading I decided, no, this is a parody of Batman, aimed at adults, that kids could read but wouldn't get the adult jokes.  But after a while I just gave up on trying to guess what it was.  The only thing I truly knew was that it wasn't for me.  Not funny, when it was obviously trying to be.  Damian came off as a super-jerk.  Mr. Freeze's "heartfelt" Christmas scene gave me the creeps and had overtures of John Wayne Gacy.  The art, sploshy, unclear watercolour painting was just not nice to look st for a total of 128 pages in a row.  A collection of little stories, each based on a holiday, all the ones you'd expect plus a few others such as Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo, had odd tales to tell with a huge cast of the Bat Family and all their regular villains make appearances.  All the characters are portrayed as pint-size, child-like, yet not as children, I guess reflecting the title "Li'l" and the continuity is before the current New 52 universe. It tries, but not too hard.  If there's a point to all this I missed it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Super Girl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, #5 & #6

112. Evil in a Skirt! by Landry Q. Walker. Art by Eric Jones (buy)
Superman & Family:Super Girl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade (#5)


Rating: (5/5)

Jul. 1 2013; Capstone Pub/DC Comics, 32 pgs

Ages: (8+)

"It's graduation day, and things couldn't be more complicated! The whole gang is here, and the cosmic craziness is about to get way out of hand!"

Received a review copy from the publisher.

Loved this!  Action-packed superhero adventure filled with 8th-grade female heroes and villains.  Add a little Lex Luther and a Superman who needs rescuing and you have have a fantastic grrrrl power comic.  Hilariously fun, too. I've got the next issue which is coming up next.

*****

113. Off to Save the Day by Landry Q. Walker. Art by Eric Jones (buy)
Superman & Family: Super Girl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade (#6)

Rating: (5/5)

Jul. 1 2013; Capstone Pub/DC Comics, 32 pgs

Ages: (8+)

"How will Supergirl ever wrap up all of the cosmic craziness that has developed since her arrival on Earth? Arch-frenemies, scheming faculty, an intergalactic orange kitty and a flying horse are just a few things that come her way in this final, action-packed issue!"

Received a review copy from the publisher.

Another great issue!  I've actually found that this is the last in a 6-issue mini series.  These editions are excellent durable quality for libraries or such.  While the original issues could be found in comic shops and there is a trade paperback edition of all six issues available as well.  Four great girl superheroes, three of whom are various time/dimension incarnations of Supergirl have to grapple with the dimensions visiting up to the 10th dimension to save the 3rd.  A lot of fun and a great title superhero title for young girls. Not many of those around!

Friday, March 14, 2014

109. Justice League of America (New 52), Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous by Geoff Johns

Justice League of America (New 52), Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous by Geoff Johns. Art by David Finch et al (buy)
New 52
Justice League

Rating: (5/5)

Nov 12, 2013; DC Comics, 224pgs

Ages: (16+)

"Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest Super Heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Find out in this collection of the first five issues of the new series as the team takes on the Secret Society of Super-Villains!"

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Pounding heart. Palpitations. Justice League, what is happening? Where is Booster? How many Justice Leagues will there be?  Will even one be left standing?  My mind is racing after reading this volume and I. Can't. Wait. For. Trinity War.  I pre-ordered it ages ago!! There are so many superheroes involved in this book that it is just too many to even remember who is supposed to be part of the new JLA.  The first line-up gets changed once and at the end we don't know where they stand.  Just like all the other JLs at this point!  Shazam is even here.  He was on the reserve list from Justice League, Vol. 3 and he's still hanging around and wants to go home but is told he'd better stay around until things get sorted out.  The scenes with various JL's going up against each other are truly epic!  And now we have a Secret Society of super villains.  Catwoman which team is she on?  Amanda Waller where does her loyalty lie?  The answers will psyche you out!!  OK, now just some rambling.  Lots of new people here for me.  I love Vibe!! What can I say ... I thought he'd be lame but I love him.  We get to know a lot about Green Arrow actually, even though this volume is not much about the characters as it's so intense on the action.  I haven't liked his appearances so far in the JL books but I'm willing to look into him now and may try out his series.  Martian Manhunter is given quite a bit of character development too and I think that's because he's being seen as the "leader" of JLA.  I loved the slightly different twist on his background story than pre-52 and I've always liked him as a character.  None of the other new superheroes was given enough exposure to get to know them yet so am reserving judgement.  Yet I can say I love, love, love the Leaguers and their universe!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chi's Sweet Home V. 7-10 by Konami Kanata

103. Chi's Sweet Home Volume 7 by Konami Kanata (buy)
Chi's Sweet Home, #7

Rating: (5/5)

Oct 18 2011; Vertical, 168 pgs

Ages: (5+)

"In the seventh volume of Chi's Sweet Home, the titular feline heroine of this series finds herself in her biggest predicament yet. While exploring her new neighborhood with a new young feline peer, she becomes lost as a downpour has masked the scents she was so heavily relying upon for direction. Confused and hungry the two decide to hunt around the community for scraps as substance. After searching for leftovers and meals left for other unaware pets turned fruitless, Chi and her new friend Cocchi resort to more extreme measures to keep their energy flowing."

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

It's getting a little difficult to review these books as I just keep saying the same thing.  Cute, funny, great insight into the feline mind and also a look into day-to-day Japanese family life.  Everybody, no matter what age, will love Chi!  For all cat lovers.  Chi spends time outdoors with his new friend Cocchi, gets locked out of the house over night, discovers the fun of a new pet fish, watches TV and gets sick.  The absolute best part of this book is when Chi throws up; the Yamada's absolutely freak out, Chi does it more than once and the parents' reaction is hilarious.  The illustration during this part just emphasizes how good Kanata is at showing emotion in her work.  Loved it!


*****


111. Chi's Sweet Home Volume 8 by Konami Kanata (buy)
Chi's Sweet Home, #8

Rating: (4/5)

Feb 28 2012; Vertical, 160 pgs

Ages: (5+)

"Being a curious and increasingly self-reliant kitty, priority number one has always been locating food sources. Sometimes achieving this is not very easy or safe for kittens, but lessons have to be learned. What Chi will have to soon find out is that doors are made to be closed. Strolling into random homes, sheds or cars is a big no-no because you may never make it out again. In one such case, Chi gets in; finds what’s she was not looking for; is locked in; and eventually has to face off with a grumpy old human!"

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Feel like I'm getting a bit redundant here folks, but these books are just really that good, that, fun and that cute!  I simply cannot rate one lower than 4*, saving the 5* for the volumes that have me either laughing out loud or feeling all emotional about something.  Chi learns he has a cool gift of landing on his feet when he falls, spends a lot of time outside with Cocchi, gets stuck up a tree, and gets locked in someones workshop.  After all this hectic outside excitement he comes home to the degradation of being filthy, being given a bath, taken to the vet, given eye drops for an infection and end ups, poor guy, back ... but with a cone around his head. Hilarious!  This book comes with an origami craft at the back.


*****


116. Chi's Sweet Home Volume 9 by Konami Kanata (buy)
Chi's Sweet Home, #9

Rating: (5/5)

Aug 28 2012; Vertical, 160 pgs

Ages: (5+)

"As Chi Yamada has shown, kittens are a resourceful and strong lot. Through play and exploration they learn to hunt for their food and to define their territory, much like the big cats of the savannah and jungle. Chi's turf now stretches out for blocks. But after a brief sick spell, she is confined to her condo home while her instincts and heart command her to go out to spend time with her stray friends. 

So after a sneaky escape from home, Chi makes her way back to the company of her friends, Cocchi and Blackie, but this time she departs with a better understanding of what it means to be a "cat". What exactly does freedom or being a stray mean, though, is something she will have to learn first hand. And there may be a bit of a kitty culture shock in store."

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

This volume was cute as usual but also one of the most emotional volumes to date.  Not sad, just a lot of empathy for the characters, especially the animal ones.   Starts off with Chi mastering her cone and then getting it removed.  But then the Yamadas decide she should be a house cat for her own safety.  Chi is confused, why can't she leave?  This is sad and frustrating for Chi and yet we also feel for the owners. (My personal opinion is that cats should be house cats).  But Cocchi has been waiting for her since the last visit.  Cocchi is expectantly waiting for his new found friend and the stray becomes lonely, hostile and lonely as time goes by and Chi doesn't return.  But after Mr. Yamada's brilliant idea to take Chi for a walk on leash blows up in his face Chi is free and rushes off to find her friend.  Can Chi ever go home again?  Will they now lock her up and not let her out?  She decides to spend the night with Cocchi and try the "free-living life" and emotions are tugged throughout until the heartwarming, and a bit surprising, ending.  A nice change of pace from the other volumes, gives a bit of new life to the series.


*****


120. Chi's Sweet Home Volume 10 by Konami Kanata (buy)
Chi's Sweet Home, Volume 10

Rating: (5/5)

Aug 27, 2013; Vertical, 160 pgs

Ages: (5+)

"It has been a long time coming, particularly in the life of a kitten, but Chi is now painfully close to finally being reunited with her feline family. But there are things that still stand in her way. The most complicated of which is whether the Yamada's be able to part with their youngest family member?"

Purchased a new copy from an online retail store.

There is a culmination in this book or rather more of an apex, monumental changes are happening and are not quite realized letting as know there is another book coming, but the question remains will this be the penultimate book?  Chi finally figures out what a cat is and starts to question whether she really is a cat and if she is whether she'd prefer to just stay and be like the other human cat's.  Chi has bad experiences outside and the Yomada's decide to keep her an indoor cat, which she hates at first but comes to appreciate her home more than the fun outside.  While on the other hand Cocchi is found and brought home to Chi's and given the opportunity to stay and while he likes the comforts, he just can't tolerate the loss of his freedom and so both come to prefer their own state of life.  What will now happen though, that Chi has found his siblings, realizes he has a Mama and the Yomada's have found the poster looking for the missing kitten they have adopted.  Still lots of fun moments with the kitten's exploration of the world around them but an emotional volume as well dealing with different levels of love.

Hang in there until August of 2014 for the release of Vol. 11!  I already have mine on pre-order!

$2.99 DC New 52! Vol. 1's

I don't usually advertise but just had to post Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal for today.  8 DC Graphic Novels for $2.99 each!!  They are all New 52! Vol. 1s and I bought all the ones I didn't already have, which was only three :-( But I've read the others and they are great!  This deal is too good to pass up.


8 DC NEW 52! for $2.99 (Today Only)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

33. Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles and Matt Santoro. Illustrated by Dave Wachter  (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

Mar 11, 2014, Dark Horse, 80 pgs

Ages: (15+)

"A British plane crashes in a Jewish village, sparking a Nazi invasion. Using clay and mud from the river, the villagers bring to life a giant monster to battle for their freedom and future. Collects the entire miniseries. Steve Niles’s Breath of Bones has been called one of 2013’s best series! ."

Received an egalley from the publisher through Netgalley.

So far I've only read Niles' "Cal MacDonald" series, which I love, so "A Tale of the Golem" appealed to me.  Niles incorporates the Jewish folktale of the Golem into a WWII Jewish town invaded by the Nazis.  It's a fairly straightforward tale with no unexpected plot devices.  It is however, still quite an emotionally charged story and one I enjoyed reading.  The art is black and white and beautiful, though violent images are aplenty; this is a story of war and cruelty.  Something a little different, Not my favourite Niles by a far shot but I certainly enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New 52! Justice League Vol. 2 & 3 & Aquaman Throne of Atlantis

100. Justice League (New 52), Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey by Geoff Johns. Art by Jim Lee et al (buy)
Justice League: (New 52), Vol. 2
New 52

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 5, 2013; DC Comics, 160 pgs

Ages: (16+)

"• Now that the team’s origin story is complete, we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? And why does Green Arrow want to join those ranks so badly?

• Plus, someone is out to get the Justice League, and he is determined to show the world how mortal these godlike beings really are!

• Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE #7-12."

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

This is a reread for me and you can read my original review here.  So this time I noticed I was picking up on lots of things that were (or are going to be) a part of the larger picture regarding future events.  SPOILER ALERT ahead.  Etta Candy arrives on the scene.  Batman & Wonder Woman tell Steve to close down the embarrassment called Justice League International. The Green Arrow shows up, tries to prove to the JL members he belongs in the group but they spurn him, then Steve Trevor takes him aside and says "forget it, man.  I've got another group I want you for."  What group will that be?  No more GA this issue.  The Talons make a brief appearance so we know the Court of Owls is still out there somewhere. There's a brief flash to Martian Manhunter and we are teased with what broke up their relationship with him. Aquaman is being given the usual harassment by reporters when someone suggests Vibe is a better hero than him.  We haven't met Vibe yet.  Green Lantern quits.  Discussion for a possible new leader (other than Batman) is entertained. And Aquaman's Atlantean army/team The Others are referred to as well.  Amanda Waller arrives on the scene.  Finally we return to an epilogue started in Vol.1: Origins that moves the strange tale of Pandora forward a little bit.  Every bit as good the second time around and I love how all the books to date are meshing together.  I'm reading all the JL's (JL, JLI, JLD, JLA, etc) in published order.

*****

101. Justice League (New 52), Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns. Art by Ivan Reis et al (buy)
Justice League: (New 52), Vol. 3
New 52

Rating: (5/5)

Oct 1, 2013; DC Comics, 192 pgs

Ages: (16+)

"When Atlantis is struck by a U.S. Naval missile gone awry, Atlantis--led by Aquaman's brother Ocean Master--attacks the East Coast of the United States flooding its major cities such as Boston, Metropolis, Gotham City and several others. 

The Justice League comes together to help Aquaman turn back the tide, but they soon learn that they are woefully overmatched by the Atlantean Army, and must find a way to save the world from total annihilation.

Collects Justice League issues #13-17 and Aquaman #15-16"

Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

This series just keeps getting better and better.  Volume 3 collects issues 13-17, along with two issues if Aquaman, 15, 16.  The volume starts off awesomely with a fight between The Cheetah and Wonder Woman, then a whole story gets played out as the League joins WW in capturing Cheetah to stop her mayhem while at the same time they learn the truth behind Cheetah's background.  Great beginning!  Then we get to the main story where Gotham is attacked by huge tidal waves and floods.  Some guy from Atlantis shows up looking for "King Arthur" and tells him Orm is attacking.  Without going into further details a whole battle ensues between the League and Orm, Arthur and Orm and even to a degree Aquaman and the League.  The absolute coolest part though is that half-way through when things are just too much for JL, Cyborg calls in the reinforcements!  A secret group of superheroes who were on a list to be considered for filling in the available spot.  But they all come together and join the fight!  So we have 10 unexpected superheroes who show up.  Loved this!!!  Also very fine ending that has the Trench guys from Aquaman Vol. 1 showing up, we just knew they would show up again didn't we? and a final showdown between Orm and Arthur for kingship of Atlantis.  Finishing off with a curious epilogue which appears to show three new groups in the formation: Steve Trevor's new group (JLA?), JL opening up membership, and a league of villains?  Cannot wait for the next issue!!! This is fantastic stuff.  BTW, the art is top notch as well.


*****


106.  Aquaman (New 52), Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns. Art by Paul Pelletier et al (buy)
New 52

Rating: (4/5)

Nov 9, 2013; DC Comics, 192 pgs

Ages: (16+)

"Aquaman, who long ago lost contact with his people, must watch as armies emerge from the sea to attack the surface world. The Justice League answers the call to defend the shores from the invading Atlantean horde. But whose side is Aquaman on? With his brother Orm at the head of the undersea army, will Aquaman stand with his Earth-bound super team or his own people? Find out in this exciting title collecting AQUAMAN #0 and 14-16 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #15-17"

Borrowed a copy from the local library.

Volume 3 collects issues #0, #14-16, along with three issues of  Justice League.  What that means for me and any other collector/reader of both series is that the only new material in the book is the first two issues #0 and #14; the rest of it is repeat material  from The Justice League Vol. 3.  Fortunately for me, I am buying the JL volumes and using the library for AQM, otherwise I would have been pretty annoyed at spending money on this heavy duplication published merely weeks apart from each other.  Publisher's greed aside, I can't fault the actual book with any of this, so have only lowered my rating to a 4 because of the need for a person to be informed of this and to possibly make the decision which of the two volumes to buy .

#0 & #14 were great additions to the story for me as it explained the whole why of what happens in Justice League Vol. 3.  First we go back into Arthur's past at the time when his father dies and we learn his reluctance to ever enter the water until his father gives him his dying wish.  In my JL3 review I mentioned "some guy" who pops up and here we get his and Arthur's background with each other, so when he does pop up later we know who he actually is.  We also learn the past history of Orm, how he became Aurthur's little brother, what happened to their mother, the feelings between the two brothers and it all sets the stage for the final issues which I talk about in my review of Justice League Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis.  I really truly love Aquaman and at this point may just start buying trades.  DC could have done better to publish one book instead called something like "Justice League & Aquaman Present Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis" which would have filled the Vol. 3 spot for both AQM and JL.

Friday, March 7, 2014

98. Dragon Ball Full Color: Saiyan Arc, Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball Full Color: Saiyan Arc, Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama (buy)
Dragon Ball (17)
Dragon Ball Z (1)

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 4, 2014, VIZ Media, 244 pgs;

Ages: (8+) A

"Son Goku is the greatest hero on Earth. Five years after defeating the demon king Piccolo, he’s grown up and has a family. But what is the real reason for Goku’s incredible strength? A visitor from outer space arrives bearing terrible news—Goku is an alien, and the visitor, Raditz, is Goku’s brother! When Raditz turns out to be a ruthless killer, Goku must fight his incredibly strong brother to save his family and the entire human race. A surprising alliance may be Earth’s last hope: Goku will team up with his old enemy Piccolo to save the world!"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I haven't finished reading the original "Dragon Ball" series yet but just had to get in on these new editions of Dragon Ball Z (original US title).  This time around the second Dragon Ball series is being called the "Saiyan Arc" and it takes place five years after the final events of DB Vol. 16.  Many familiar characters return, some circumstances have been changed though within the five years and missing friends are accounted for.  The new characters are wild and the combination of old and new had me both feeling comfortably at home and eagerly exciting for the new plot.  Right away the action and conflict start, everything that endears DB to me is present hear including the humour, except DBZ is rated A for All Ages and thus way more tame (for ex. the Turtle Hermit is not a pervert).  By the end of the volume we have all the characters training in various places, Goku in Hell!, for the upcoming invasion by the Saiyans.  This new edition of the series is a trade paperback, almost magazine sized and thus I'm guessing the art is fairly close to it's original size which I just adored reading the large panels. It is also, of course, in full colour and simply a joy to behold and read compared to your standard paperback, thin-papered b/w manga.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

127. Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire

Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire.  (buy) Kindle Omnibus only
Essex County, Vol. 1

Rating: (4/5)

Mar 21, 2007; Top Shelf Productions, 112 pgs

Ages: (15+)

" The tale of Lester, an orphaned 10-year-old who goes to live on his Uncle's farm. Their relationship grows increasingly strained and Lester befriends the town's gas station owner, and damaged former hockey star Jimmy Lebeuf. The two escape into a private fantasy world of super-heroes, alien invaders and good old-fashioned pond Hockey. Tales from the Farm is the first volume in a trilogy of graphic novels set in a fictionalized version of Lemire's hometown of Essex County, Ontario."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Divided into the four seasons, this tells a simple story of the first year of a ten year-old boy's life living with his bachelor Uncle Ken in rural Ontario after his mum dies of cancer.  I wasn't too impressed with the first "chapter" but by the second had become engrossed in the simple, yet taught and tragic story.  Life is often a melancholy affair with a series of events that may bring a slight spark to the daily hum-drum and that love is present but not always shown with feeling but rather with actions, these are themes.  Because the main character is ten, the book may be mistaken for a children's book, but it is not.  As I've said it is a melancholy subject, rather dark with only a spark of brightness.  It also contains heavy language. I liked the story and I liked the characters.  The drawing of Jimmy reminded me very much of the huge farmer in "Lost Dogs" and it is with him whom my emotions most lay.  I'm not quite sure I understood the meaning of his departure? at the end though.  Was that play or real?  Hmmm

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

96: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, V19 by Hiroshi Shiibashi

Ghost Story: Kudan by Hiroshi Shiibashi (buy)
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, 19

Rating: (4/5)

Feb 4 2014, VIZ Media, 200 pgs;

Ages: (13+)

"Rihan and Kurotabo join forces in decadent Edo Period Japan, forming an otherworldly bond in order to vanquish their enemy. Little do they know that the Hundred Stories clan and its leader—the dreadful, dismembered Sanmoto—are far from defeated! Back in the present, a yokai named Kudan is spreading rumors that Rikuo is bent on world destruction and must be stopped by any means…"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Not quite as exciting as the last several books as too much is going at once and I felt somewhat lost or perhaps confused is a better word.  Starting off with a huge battle against an horrendous foe we are still back in Rihan's Edo past and thus the story of the battle of the war between the two clans has now been told.  After all the adrenaline from the last volumes it feels weird to go back to school with the human side of Rikuo and a long absent classmate, the scared Kana, makes her appearance once again.  Here in the human world is where the current members of the Hundred Stories clan converge to finally take down the clan of Hundred Demons.  They have a plan to put in action, a game to tease out the third heir to play, one he cannot refuse to play and humans and yokai are at battle with each other again, but the ultimate foe has been named as Rikuo Nura.  This is the beginning of a new storyarc and the synopses of the next volume sounds very exciting.  So another good volume, just a tad too much happening, too fast, to fully appreciate.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

93-95: Three Issues of Superman Family Adventures by Art Baltazar & Franco

93. Enter Bizarro! by Art Baltazar & Franco (buy)
Superman Family Adventures, #2

Rating: (4/5)

Jul 1 2013, DC Comics/Capstone, 32 pgs;

Ages: (6+)

"Superman trains his young sidekicks to become Super Heroes! Bizarro comes to Earth and makes a mess of Metropolis! Jimmy Olsen finds out that being Superman's pal means help is only a shout away!"

Received a review copy from Capstone.

Not being a Superman fan I wasn't expecting too much here but was pleasantly surprised with this "first" easy reader comic book.  An amusing story that made me chuckle and will certainly keep the interest of beginning reader fans.  The main story is interrupted once with a two page short and the text is big, bold and easy on young eyes.  Includes a large cast of characters from the Superfamily giving Jimmy Olsen a feature role and the Teen Titans get a cameo.


*****


94. Monkey Metropolis! by Art Baltazar & Franco (buy)
Superman Family Adventures, #4

Rating: (4/5)

Jul 1 2013, DC Comics/Capstone, 32 pgs;

Ages: (6+)

"The City of Metropolis runs into Monkey Mayhem when Beppo's friend goes crazy! Meet the gigantically giant, ginormously angry ape TITANO! Can the Super Family make things right? What's Kryptonite have to do with this? And where the heck is the Chief's coffee?"

Received a review copy from Capstone.

I missed volume #3 but this one continues on with the same story.  Bizarro is still with the family, the red kryptonite is still at large and is found by a circus monkey causing chaos.  Follows the same format and features I enjoyed with the other book.  Negative Superman, Clark Kant, is a riot.  Kids will love this easy reader.


*****


95. Attack of the Toyman! by Art Baltazar & Franco (buy)
Superman Family Adventures, #7

Rating: (4/5)

Jan 1 2014, DC Comics/Capstone, 32 pgs;

Ages: (6+)

"Who is the Terrible TOYMAN? What does he want? Where does he get all those cool toys? And why can't he let the Super Family have a Tooth Fairy Party in peace?"

Received a review copy from Capstone.

I've just realised each of these comics starts with a variation of the phrase: " Meanwhile, in the far reaches of (blank) a (blank) is on a collision course with Earth!  More important ... (Metropolis/The Fortress of Solitude".  This is hilarious.  This issue seems to be the beginning of a new storyarc and ends with a little "duh duh duh!". The super pets get centre stage here, mostly the popular ones but there is a hilarious scene in the batcave with a very strange Bat-animal.

*****

There aren't very many superhero comic books available for little kids any more and I just loved this one. Unfortunately DC only published 12 issues starting in 2012.  These I have reviewed are durable library editions available at book stores but if you want to get the comics for your kids DC still has all volumes in print and available on their website at time of this posting.