Thursday, July 31, 2014

Superman & Batman: Generations, An Imaginary Tale by John Byrne

Superman & Batman: Generations, An Imaginary Tale by John Byrne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Superman
Batman

I wasn't too sure what to expect from this. I really do like my books to be part of the official chronology but don't mind a bit of fun outside that, though at first glance I thought this might be cheesey. Boy, did I have the wrong idea there! Quite impressed actually. This takes Batman and Superman as they meet over the years from 1929 to 2919, though the main time frame is set every ten years from 1939 to 1999. This is set within an "Elseworlds" where time passes normally for our heroes and they age, get married, have children, grandchildren, etc. I especially enjoyed the 30s and 40s stories which were fantastically written and illustrated true to genuine comics from that time period but with more emphasis on character and a continuing plot. As time passes each story's art style reflects that era's. As I said I was quite impressed with the story and was not expecting such an emotional, well-written plot. This centres on Bruce and Clark's characters along with their alter ego's giving us a rare glimpse inside these two that isn't just heavily filled with brooding but with a real empathy full of pathos and joy. We meet up with the descendents of these two superheroes, some of which have dropped out of canon, such as Commissioner Gordon's son "Anthony Gordon", Superman's son "Joel Kent" and Batman's son "Bruce Wayne, Jr.". Plus we get guest appearances by Ultra-Humanite, Brainiac, Joker, Lex Luthor, Supergirl, various Robins, Nightwing and others. But the story always focuses on Batman & Superman and that is what holds this all together, what makes it work and frankly this is especially good for an "imaginary tale".

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 3 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 3 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 3)

Continues along in the same vein and is settling down into being a "quest" fantasy. A new deadly sin joins the team at the beginning and we get to know the most about him and other new characters this volume, with little development on the others. Some funny stuff at the beginning with intermittent battles. Another new character comes along who seems to be a friend of the sins' except he's out to kill the new guy, Ban! This takes up the action until the final chapters when a new Holy Knight arrives to finish off the Sins. She is very powerful and the book ends mid-battle. This is one of those "fun" volumes where things go along nicely. The fantasy quest angle makes a good change of pace from the plentiful battle-action mangas for this age range. And except for those few scenes in Vol. 1 I'm quite comfortable with the age appropriateness of this series and have let my (just turned) 14yo read them. He gives the series a thumbs up.

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Two Issues Teen Titans Go! by J. Torres

Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! #1: Demo by J. Torres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Titans play a virtual video game at first as individuals against the Ninja horde until realizing that teamwork will pay off better. Meanwhile the villainous creators of the game are watching the Titans every move so they can learn how to fight them. This is a book for the younger kids with a theme of teamwork which the bad guys even learn works best for them too in the end. Decent enough for a kiddie comic.








*****


Teen Titans Go! #2: The Beast Boy Who Cried Wolf by J. Torres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another comic for the kiddies. This one obviously is a retelling of the Aesop's fable with a superhero twist. Beast Boy can't stop playing pranks, mostly making the others think he, or they all, are in trouble or under attack. So, alas, when Starfire is really being kidnapped Beast Boy can't raise anyone to action. Cute and fun team work with that little bit of a moral. Definitely one for the youngsters, not much here for adults.

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Noir Volume 1: The Mohawk Templar by Victor Gischler

Noir Volume 1: The Mohawk Templar by Victor Gischler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dynamite's Masked Man 'Verse

Ahhhh! My second favourite comics to read are Dynamite's masked heroes and I always open up a new trade with glee. This one was perfectly satisfying. Most of the masked heroes are males so what a joy to meet these two kick-but female pulp heroes: Miss Fury and Black Sparrow. A fine, rollicking "Indiana Jones"-type adventure set post WWII this is an action-packed tale that features a cameo by The Shadow in the first issue. This volume is a little more mature than what I've read previously. It's a bit sexy, has adult language and quite violent with lots of blood splatters and bruises. So the noir title really fits as I'd say this is the darkest story I've read set in this universe. But there are also lots of quips and one-liners that make it a fun, entertaining read and the catty, just starting to be friends relationship between Fury and Sparrow make a great reluctant hero duo. Miss Fury has her own book, which I haven't read yet, but I'd love to meet up with Black Sparrow again too. Her costume is awesome!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

UQ Holder 2 by Ken Akamatsu

UQ Holder 2 by Ken Akamatsu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

UQ Holder (Vol. 2)

This is getting a lot more tense and dark. Tota and Kuromaru are taken to UQ Holder Headquarters where they are thrust into a deadly challenge, a test to see if they are worthy enough to become members of the esteemed UQ. While we know Tota is a vampire, we find out the world he belongs to is filled with the yokai and Kuromaru's secret is finally revealed (which makes the OT rating for this series appropriate for 16+). There is plenty of battle with just a bit of magic and it is much more mature in presentation than other shounen. They have been sent out on their first mission which proved to be violent and we don't know whether successful yet or not. The main character Tota adds the light-heartedness to the series, even though he is proving to be much more powerful than he thought, his attitude is laissez faire and remarks flippant. On the other-hand we are getting to know much more about the serious characters of his partners Kuromaru and Karin. This follows a lot of the common shounen tropes but much more serious and mature which is reflected in the 16+ age rating. I like this!

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Damian: Son of Batman by Andy Kubert

Damian: Son of Batman by Andy Kubert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman
New 52


This is a little strange because we are transported to the future. A future where Bruce Wayne is a sick elderly man, Dick Grayson is Batman and Damian Wayne (alive and well) is still Robin. The book opens with the death of Batman and Damian coming to terms with himself taking over the reigns as the new Batman, at first he refuses to carry on the tradition of being just and drawing the line at killing but he finds everyone from all sides coming down hard on him after his string of eliminating the bad guys. He promises his father to carry on the tradition and live up to the respected role of a just Batman. This is a dark, gritty Batman with quite a few changes in this possible future which I won't mention. Alfred's situation becomes quite strange though, I will say. Not really sure what is up with that. I didn't like Damian when I first read him as a character, but the more he's developed the more I like him and Morrison does write him well. I really enjoyed the story and the art, finding it a gripping, serious read. There is a priest who shows up quite a lot who is a mysterious character who knows the Waynes but is never identified. Will this story arc continue? I want to know who he is. Damian's Batman costume is a bit weird, mostly it is the familiar costume but instead of a cape he wears a long trench coat with the utility belt, as the belt of course, and the coat's tails flow off into cape features. So it appears cape-like when he's jumping/flying around but it is definitely a coat, not a cape. I didn't find it aesthetically pleasing. But a serious take on the Batman mythos, and an intriguing look at a future scenario. Good reading.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 13, 14 & 15 by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes vols. 13, 14 & 15 by Akira Toriyama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dragon Ball (Vol. 13, 14, 15)

Vol. 13: Piccolo Conquers the World - Whoa! Things are pretty serious now as we come to the final volumes of the original series. Not a lot of humour now as it's become quite dark and tense as the demon Piccolo takes control. More of our heroes die and all the tough guys try their hand against Piccolo. Both he and Goku have increased their strength and the volume ends with a major, major battle between the two. Good stuff! (5/5)

Vol. 14: Heaven and Earth - Beginning exactly where we left off the battle between Piccolo and Goku continues and takes up a large part of this volume. Goku is so strong he hardly takes any hits at all until finally Piccolo lets loose with everything he's got. After the battle, ends are tied up and this current arc comes to a close. Goku is sent to Heaven for more training and 3 years go by until everyone meets up again at the "Strongest Under the Heavens" contest again. This goes quickly and the volume ends with the final rounds about to start. Very fast-paced page-turning read. (5/5)

Vol. 15: The Titanic Tournament - The penultimate volume! Complete and utter battles as the finals of the contest get underway. Everyone has special attacks and some have secret identities. Fantastic pairing off for the duels and I love when our friends have to battle each other so it ends up with us really not knowing who is going to win the round. Quite a bit of excitement mounts as the last battle with the Demon Son is abruptly stopped mid-battle as the Volume ends. Looking forward to the last volume! (5/5)

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3 Titles in the BATMAN STRIKES! Series by Bill Matheny

In the Clutches of the Penguin! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes: #1


Here's a Batman comic for young fans. This is based on the WB cartoon series and aimed at youngsters. From a grown-up point of view this is the least "Batman" like series I've read but in an age where comics are no longer for kids, this fits the bill nicely. Batman seems to be in his mid-twenties (it's been 20 years since his parents died) and he is a younger, hipper guy than the dark broody vigilante we are used to. Penguin is the villain here and he's drawn nothing like we are used to seeing him; I kind of liked it but over all the art is very stylized and cartoonish, not what one usually expects for Batman. The story was simple but fun and introduced a new character in this TV universe, GCPD Detective Ellen Yin. Good for the kiddies who want some Batman they can read. This is a reinforced library edition of the first issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

*****


Joker's Wild! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes! #3

This one didn't do anything for me. Yes, it is aimed at the little kids but that doesn't mean it has to be dull. You have your basic Joker steals from Batman (oh no, his mother's necklace was taken), then the Bat tracks him down and they have a bit of a fight and you-know-who wins. Not feeling any Bat love for this one It is, however, perfectly suitable for the little ones, 10 and younger, as long as cartoon punching and fisticuffs doesn't bother you. This is a reinforced library edition of the 3rd issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.




*****


Bane on the Rampage! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes! #4

The only thing that saves this from two stars is that Bane is a pretty cool bad guy we don't get to see all that often. Bane breaks out and goes straight for Batman. The rest of the issue they battle it out with each other until, well, the same guy always wins at the end of these comics. Every book is a happy ending for the Bat. Not much here for adults. Little ones looking for a fun Batman they can read have found their match with The Batman Strikes! This is a reinforced library edition of the 4th issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Toto Trouble #1: Back to Crass by Thierry Copee

Toto Trouble #1: Back to Crass by Thierry Copee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I didn't finish this, reading 40 of 66 pages, but it's just the same thing over and over so I've read enough to comment on it. This is a strange selection for Papercutz. This has no plot but is a collection of one page comic "jokes" but I'm not really sure the intended original French audience would have been children. It's about a little boy and his school life and at home but he's quite snarky and a lot of the jokes could be considered off colour. There are several "dead" jokes: a dead dad, some dead pets, a dead teacher, one I read was suggestive, others are just a tad on the black humour side and could be offensive to a wide variety of audiences. Personally, as an adult, I wasn't offended, though I don't find dead pet jokes in good taste, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with my little kid or a sensitive child reading these. I thought they were all mostly worth a snicker but they did get tedious one after another. If it was a daily newspaper comic, I'd probably read it. I like the art though; it's very Calvin and Hobbes-ish.

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Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ick. I very much disliked this. Usually I love everything by Geoff Johns. I don't even get the point. I'm confused. Published in 2012, which is after the New 52 started, this is *another* re-imagining of the origins of Batman?! It is a stupid story; I hated all the characters especially Alfred and Harvey Bullock. The only thing good I can say about it is that the serial killer was pretty nifty.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Bertozzi's book on Lewis & Clark so was greatly looking forward to this one. I'm a great reader of polar exploration and very familiar with this tale. I enjoy graphic biographies a great deal, not because I expect them to necessarily bring anything new to the table (this didn't) but because I enjoy experiencing the story in various formats: biography, memoirs, film, and graphic novel just adds another dimension. but frankly, I simply found this effort dull and since everyone was all bundled up it was hard to tell the characters apart except Shackleton who wore a distinctive hat much (but not all) of the time.

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Arkham Asylum: Living Hell by Dan Slott

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell by Dan Slott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman Universe

There is always time for a Batman villain showcase and "Living Hell" was literally a riot. I had such a great time with this gallery of "bad guys" that I couldn't put it down. The story isn't exactly heavy duty and there are a few arcs running through at the same time but it's all in the name of a grand romp and pretty crazy creepy at the same time. Most of the famous villains make little cameo appearances but the focus is more on not-so-well known villains or ones created just for this volume. I really liked these lesser known dudes such as Jason Blood and the demon Etrigan (why are they not in Justice League Dark?), Humpty Dumpty (his whole back story is told) and the Great White Shark (this book's main arc is Warren White's tale of how he became the villain). Batman shows up a couple of times and Batgirl a little bit more often, with Harvey Bullock getting some good page time as well. There are more powerful, deep reads out there but this is just some plain villainary (so not a word!) fun. I really liked it. The art is good too, though it's old style and been a while since I've read anything with that newsprint-ish look but it brings back the good old days after awhile. Fun!

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1: Rita Repulsa's Attitude Adjustment by Stefan Petrucha

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1: Rita Repulsa's Attitude Adjustment by Stefan Petrucha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so excited Papercutz is doing the original Power Rangers! This book was so much fun and I can't wait to read more! The art is great; everybody looks just like they should and the colour is really vibrant, especially when it gets to morphin' time. The story isn't exactly riveting but it's a fun story and leaves you waiting just the right amount of time for Rita to make her first appearance. This is just the basic cast here too, without Tommy, so plenty of room for the excitement of the whole story to be told and all the favourite villains to make appearances. What I especially loved is the photographic section of the real actors introducing each ranger and the back essay on the history of the Rangers. Good start!

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Best Manga for the first half of 2014 Jan-Jun

Well, it's mid-year now and I've given you my favourite graphic novels so far this year.  Now it's time to do Manga.  So from January to June of 2014 I read a total of 69 manga volumes (some of those were 2 or 3-in-1s but I only counted as 1 book).  Out of those I rated 27 of them a full 5/5.  That works out to 40% which means a good deal of the manga I've read so far this year I've thought was excellent but many of these books belong to series  So I'm just going to list this as the best series' I've been reading and where I am in them so far.

These are my favourite series I am currently reading that volumes more often than not rate a full 5/5.  I've only included series I'm well into (not ones that I've only read the first couple of books) and am in for the long run.  I've shown what volume I'm on out of how many there are and a + means the series is currently ongoing, more volumes to come.  The links will take you to one specific volume I rated a 5 during this time period.

Best Manga for the first half of 2014 Jan-Jun
1. Chi's Sweet Home by Konami Kanata
(read 10 of 11 vol.)

2. Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura
(read 3 of 7+)

3. Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
(12 out of 16)

4. Zatch Bell!, Vol. 7 by Makoto Raiku
      (14 out of 33)

5. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic by Shinobu Ohtaka
      (5 out of 21)

6. Library Wars: Love & War by Kiiro Yumi 
      (11 out of 13+)

7. Bleach  by Tite Kubo 
      (24 out of 63+)

8. Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai 
      (2 of 2)

DC Universe Presents, Vol. 1: Deadman/Challengers of the Unknown by Paul Jenkins

DC Universe Presents, Vol. 1: Deadman/Challengers of the Unknown by Paul Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New 52

I bought this because I'm reading Justice League Dark and Deadman is my absolute favourite character in that. But I had never even heard of him before so when I saw this origin/background story about him I was so excited. It didn't exactly live up to my expectations but was an ok story. The art was great though and looking at all the great illustrations of Deadman kept me reading. (3/5)

The second part of this book is about the "Challengers of the Unknown" whom I've never heard of and wasn't really keen on reading but since it was included here, went ahead anyway. And I ended up enjoying way more than the Deadman story! Even though the basis sounded cheesy with the TV Reality Show set-up it ended up being a really good space quest adventure. The team travels around trying to find seven medallions, it turns out they've been "chosen" for this task. Several members get killed during the task and the story ends "For Now..." but I can't find that the characters have been picked up anywhere in the 'verse since. (4/5)

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 21 by Hiroshi Shiibashi

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 21: Ghost Story - Aoandon by Hiroshi Shiibashi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 21

So, things are getting confusing here. Last volume was just ok and this one just didn't make a lot of sense. It does end the 100 stories clan arc though. I really enjoyed that arc but it just petered out at the end. So as we gear up for the finale of this series this book ends with the beginning of a "new chapter". An old enemy returns and a new clan emerges. This has been a good series up to these last few books, I sure hope these concluding books are going to be worthy of it.

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The First Mouse on the Moon by Geronimo Stilton

The First Mouse on the Moon by Geronimo Stilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Geronimo Stilton: Graphic Novel (14)

Amusing tale about Geronimo and his mouse family taking a trip back in time to July 16, 1969, right before the first moon landing. The cat pirates have a plan in the works to sabotage the mission and it is up to Geronimo and Trap to go to the Moon and stop them. Cute!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Millennium Snow, Vol. 3 by Bisco Hatori

Millennium Snow, Vol. 3Millennium Snow, Vol. 3 by Bisco Hatori
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Millennium Snow (#3)

Wow! I loved this and it is sooo different from the first volumes. It has taken Hatori ten years to get back to completing this series and she discusses the reasons and process in sidebars throughout this volume. Vol. 1 & 2 were very light-hearted and funny and I had a blast with them, really enjoying the sense of humour and the characters. The first thing I noticed with Vol. 3 is that the art quality has improved drastically. Ten years obviously is going to make a difference in an artist's work and this is superior to V1/2 making a very pretty book. Secondly, the atmosphere is completely different. The story picks up with a much darker tone. The plot involves a teacher whose son died, a serial killer, a girl being cyber-bullied and a new paranormal creature. Satsuki has a much smaller role now and the focus is most definitely on Chiyuki and Toya. I'm not keen on typical shoujo romance but this is far from the norm. Chiyuki is very open with her feelings and while Toya won't openly admit his, he shows them through his actions. And while the relationship is blooming it is quite low key and doesn't have any of that sickening gushing. It is quite a mature love story compared to any other shoujo I've read. There is still a hint of humour and I love the characters even more than I did originally. Great read!

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Red Hood - The Lost Days by Judd Winick

Red Hood - The Lost Days by Judd Winick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman Universe

A great backstory volume that follows Jason Todd from his being found roaming the streets in a shirt and tie to his donning the Red Hood mask and his ideal to be a better protector than Batman by crossing the line Batman himself will not morally allow. This is a wonderful story and really gave me a lot of insight into a character I'm only just now discovering. His initial hate and rage is aimed at Batman when he finds out the Dark Knight releases the Joker instead of killing him to avenge Todd's murder. The shift in his character and the placement of his anger is fascinating to watch as he trains with specialists the world over, with Talia al Ghul's financing, in sniper shooting, assassination, bomb-making, etc. Red Hood is a fascinating character as he takes what he learned from Batman as a vigilante, yet takes things further as an anti-hero by becoming his own authority on whose life is worthless and killing as many evil criminals as he deems fit. The art is great, Jason never wears a costume but by the end of the book he gets his new Red Hood mask and it is pretty cool, very similar to The New 52 one.

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WWE Superstars #1: Money In the Bank by Mick Foley

WWE Superstars #1: Money In the Bank by Mick Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, am I surprised at how much I was captured by this story! I'm not a current wrestling fan and don't know who any of these wrestlers are in this book, though the book claims 25 are present. I was a big fangirl back in the days when it was called WWF and Hulk Hogan hadn't won the belt yet. I remember when Hulk and Andre the Giant first fought. Anywho... I found this story to be an exciting cross of many genres and just plain well-written. It takes place in the dark city streets of a corrupt city called Titan City, having classic noir flavour to it. It's a political themed crime as the players try to stop both equally corrupt DA runners from winning the election. The streets are filled with gangs, drugs, and violence and a team puts themselves together to fight the corruption and save Titan City both from the politicians and the criminal civil population. The story is quite involved with a huge cast that I'm going to recommend it for YA's (and adults). Speaking of the huge cast, I was only able to get a grip on the few major main characters but Foley has done an excellent job of keeping readers with the program. He continuously has characters refer to each other by name. Each chapter very briefly works "the story so far" into the opening pages. And personally, I think Foley held this intense story together quite tightly, making me interested in him as a writer. Finally, though the characters are wrestlers and when battles ensue they use wrestling attacks/moves against each other the story and team established in this first book distinctly has a superhero feel to it minus the costumes (though there are a couple such as wrestlers Kane & Mysterio) and superpowers. The art is slick and what one would expect to find in the major publishers, in fact Martinez has worked for both DC and Marvel, amongst others. A surprise hit for me!

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Best Graphic Novels for the first half of 2014

Well, it's mid-year now and I thought I'd stop and take a look at what my favourites have been so far this year.  I'll do graphic novels today and manga the next time.  So from January to June of 2014 I read a total of 112 graphic novels (a handful of those are single issue comic books).  Out of those I rated 31 of them a full 5/5 (two of them are single issue comic books).  That works out to 28% which means more than a quarter of the graphic novels I've read so far this year I thought were excellent but that's still a lot of books to have on a "Best of" list so let me see which ones stand out as the best graphic novels I've read so far this year


1. Button Man: Get Harry Ex by John Wagner (5/5)

2. Justice League (New 52) Vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns (5/5)

3. Aquaman (New 52) Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns (5/5)

4. Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill (5/5)

5. The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff (5/5)

6. Penguin: Pain and Prejudice by Gregg Hurwitz (5/5)

7. Vixens, Vamps & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics by Mike Madrid (5/5)

8. Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick (5/5)


So there you have it!  These eight graphic novels are the ones that have really stood out for me as the best I've read for the first half of this year (Jan-Jun 2014)

Classics Illustrated #9: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair by Peter Kuper

Classics Illustrated #9: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair by Peter Kuper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classics Illustrated (#9)

Another one that I haven't read the original but "The Jungle" is a book I'd like to read someday. It's time period and topic interest me. I knew nothing about it except that it was a pro-socialist/unions theme and now having read this adaptation and seeing it was written in 1902 can easily see the rose-coloured glasses the author wore when he supposes Socialism/Communism could be a Utopian answer to life's evils. The story itself is a depressing rags to rags saga of a family, especially one man. But this is only what I can get based upon this adaptation. The book though is famous for its depiction of Chicago's brutal stockyards of the time and the reform it brought about. Unfortunately, that is only a small part of this graphic novel and I didn't get to feel any of that horror. The art is astounding. It is done in the style of the (thirties?) Soviet propaganda posters. I used to collect stamps as a kid and loved the art on those old CCCP stamps. So here is a case of the graphic adaptation just whetting my appetite for the "real thing".

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Batman and Robin, Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian by Peter J. Tomasi

Batman and Robin, Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian by Peter J. Tomasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

New 52
Batman

Oh boy! I read Vol. 3 of this title and it left me eager to continue on and I am hooked with this volume. Batman goes postal!! Wow, is he ever stuck at the anger step of grief. He doesn't kill but he's out on the town debilitating criminals anyway he can with a vengeance. A very dark and broody Batman, more so than ever. Even I wanted him to cheer up and get some closure. The other great thing here is all the Batfamily make appearances, some longer than others, even Catwoman!, to try and help the Bat release the hate and deal with the death. But they all kind of give a bit of detail as to what is going on in their stories too, which I enjoyed, since I read most but not all of the other series. Finally the issue where Batman kidnaps Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is awesome! There is an interesting new character as well ... could it be the new Robin?? Great volume. I didn't read V1 or 2 but I'll be sure to continue on with 5 now.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

The Scarlet Letter: Graphic Novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne by P. Craig Russell & illustrated by Jill Thompson

The Scarlet Letter: Graphic Novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne  by  & illustrated by 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Classics Illustrated (#6)

I've read a lot of graphic adaptations of classic literature but this is the first time I've read one that I haven't read the original novel. I'm working my way through this entire series and there are going to be quite a few where I'll be in this situation. Usually I compare the adaptation to the original. Now I'll be giving my impressions of the story as a first time reader. First of all this is a beautiful book; the illustrations are gorgeous. Thompson has painted each page with luscious watercolours. I've read "The House of Seven Gables" by Hawthorne and absolutely abhorred it so I had no intentions of ever reading this novel or anything others by Hawthorne (though I think "A Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls" is one o the best books of Greek mythology ever written). It was good that I got to experience "The Scarlet Letter" through this format as I immensely enjoyed the story! Of course, I knew the basic adultery, letter "A", plot and guessed right away who she was protecting but I had no idea how much the story focused on what a strong, faithful person Hester was. My previous experience with this series lets me know how true to the originals Papercutz stays and they use a lot of the original text also. However, I'm not sure if I'd be compelled to read the original even at this point as the writing is full of thous, dosts and whences, which I don't need in my life. I'm thoroughly thrilled though to have become acquainted with this classic through such a quality graphic adaptation.

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Aexandre Dumas by Steven Grant & Dan Spiegle (illus)


The Count of Monte Cristo by Aexandre Dumas
by Steven Grant & Dan Spiegle (illus)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Classics Illustrated (#8)

So this is another classic that I have not read the original of first. I never had any intention of reading this original as I did try to read The Three Musketeers once and gave it up as a bad job. Over the years I've come to simply realize I do like French Literature nor historical fiction set in French history, not even if Charles Dickens writes it. This story was passable reading but it is a very complicated plot with many storylines between various characters going on and I can only imagine the number of cast not included in this graphic adaptation. A silly romance, with over the top devotions, willing to die rather than live without that one special love. It's also a story of revenge, backstabbing, swindling and the past coming back to haunt us. I can't compare to the original but Grant did manage to keep me on my toes with all that was going on with so many characters I never felt lost; while Spiegle is a legendary artist in the field and his art makes for an attractive book. However reading this has not made me want to read the original, anything else by Dumas nor has it changed my opinion of French Lit. in general.

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