Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kings Watch Volume 1 by Jeff Parker

Kings Watch Volume 1 by Jeff Parker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dynamite's Masked Men: Flash Gordon

Another great title from Dynamite! This is a vehicle for Flash Gordon and an origins novel for him and The Phantom. Phantom has a history with Mandrake but they meet up with Flash and Zarkov who are just getting started out on their space exploration but their first foray has mixed up the plans of The Cobra who just happens to be working for Ming. Along with Dale and Lothar this group travels to Africa to foil Ming's merciless plot to take over the Earth. This is my first time reading Flash Gordon, though I'm a big fran from the serials of the '30s and the cult '80s movie. Even though Gordon is most definitely the centre of attention here his world is entwined with The Phantom's and thus it satisfies my "masked hero" love at the same time. This was my first intro to Phantom's world and I loved it. He and Mandrake have a supernatural element about them using real magic giving Africa an even more exotic feel to it, just like the original comics these guys are based on. A fun romp with monsters and mayhem, crossing Africa's jungle dangers with space travel and evil alien empire lords. The art was fantastic and the story was pure pulp. Loved it!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vinland Saga, Omnibus 4 by Makoto Yukimura

Vinland Saga, Omnibus 4 by Makoto Yukimura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vinland Saga (Book 4)

Outstanding! I continue to say the same things volume after volume with this series. It is one of my highlights when a new volume is released. The art is just of such a high calibre that it is almost incomparable in manga circles: detailed, intricate, realistic, gorgeous. This is a pivotal book in the series with some plot conclusions and some turning points. I won't go into any details here as this is a major point in the story's plot but I will say there are some surprising deaths! The plot so far has been focused solely on two things, the Danish invasion of England and Thorfinn's revenge for his father's death. This was a fast-paced and exciting read. The ending leaves me entirely intrigued upon what direction the plot will now concentrate from this point on. A top-notch manga series for the serious reader.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Flash Vol. 4: Reverse by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

The Flash Vol. 4: Reverse by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New 52: The Flash

I'm glad I've stayed with this title, as this volume really steps up the character and story a notch. With Gorilla Grodd out of the picture this is a much more serious storyline and I really liked the focus on the Speed Force. While everything plotwise is wrapped up in this volume in preparation for the writing team to take over, we have Reverse-Flash and Dr.Elias in the wings for possible returns. I'm not big on Teen Titans but I enjoyed Kid Flash's cameo and the information on his background. Barry Allen is probably my favourite hero out of costume and his personal life story is as much a part of the plot as Flash's, though I'm glad to see Patty getting jealous and hoping he and Iris get together soon. Finally, the volume ends with a pre-Flash Barry and Iris story set in the Batman Zero world which featured Harvey Bullock. Best volume for The Flash so far and I can't wait to see where the story goes with the new writers.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Flash, Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution by Francis Manapul

The Flash, Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution by Francis Manapul
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

New 52: The Flash

I liked this better than vol. 1 but it's still missing something in the plot department. Now I'm only just getting to know Flash, previously I'd only read him in Justice League and pre-52 I'd read the odd comic with him against Gorilla Grodd or Mirror Master. So this book starts by getting Flash away from Gorilla and back to earth. Then the rest of the book has the Rogues Gallery working against Captain Cold and the Flash interfering with their troublemaking. I really enjoyed this part as I'm a big fan of team-ups whether they be hero or villains. I'd never heard of any of these guys before, except Mirror Master and we got a really good introduction to them all here, though some more than others of course. Then near the end the Gorilla's land on earth looking for Flash. The volume ends with an origins issue which mostly explains Flash's background and relationship with his father. Did his father kill his mother, or not? Liking this, but still hoping for more.

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Courtney Crumrin: The Final Spell by Ted Naifeh

Courtney Crumrin: The Final Spell by Ted Naifeh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Courtney Crumrin (#6)

An excellent ending to this wonderful series. Readers are in for a surprise with where Naifeh takes the story and gives us a splendidly satisfying ending. The art is as wonderful as can be expected and having now completed the series it makes me want to go back, read those earlier volumes and go through the entire series all together. A great treat to end this splendid series!

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekly Shonen Jump, July 22 2013

Weekly Shonen Jump, July 22 2013 by VIZ Media
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shonen Jump Magazine

This is a big issue with 277 pgs. It has the month's Yu-gi-Oh episode and the final chapter of Cross Manage. I'm starting to get the idea of what's going on in some of these with this, my 2nd issue. Am enjoying the most the ones I already know like Bleach and Dragonball but of the new-to-me ones I'm starting to like World Trigger and One-Punch Man the most.

1. Toriko: Gourmet 242 - Still have no clue what this is about. The battle continues and a creepy guy comes in with a new knife that fillets everything. The art is pretty awesome here; I just love the monsters and once again the chapter ends mid-battle with a new guy being introduced. I like this, just need some plot to be introduced. (3/5)

2. One Piece Ch. 715: So there are a lot of people fighting for something at this point and the various people are battling. Luffy is the only main character here and he shows up at the end but he is in disguise. (3/5)

3. Jaco, The Galactic Patrolman Ch. 2: Loving this cute new story by Toriyama! The alien wants the old man (Omori) to fix his spaceship, but in the meantime some government people come along and tell Omori he is living illegally on the island and must leave in a week. We learn a bit about each of their backgrounds and the plot starts to shape involving a time machine. (4/5)

4. World Trigger Ch. 23: This is good! The chapter switches back and forth between each of the three main characters as they train for their positions. The chapter ends with the arrival of the "top teams". I love the three main characters and after only two chapters am getting a feel for them already. (4/5)

5 Naruto No. 639: Totally lost with this. (1/5)

At this point my computer crashed and I lost a portion of what I wrote, so briefly for 6 & 7.

6. One-Punch Man Punch 21, Part 4: In full colour, gorgeous art. liking it. (4/5)

7. Nisekoi Ch. 83: slice of life shoujo, romance from boys' point of view, getting to know characters. not my thing (3/5)

8. Bleach #546: Ichigo is not in this issue but he is talked about. He is off training and will get a power which might not let him return to earth ever. Quick switch to Chad and Inoue where they are getting ready for the battle then final switch to the Quincies where we are told there are only 9 days until the end of the world. Intense! Then editor's note tells us Bleach will not return for 7 issues. Wah! (5/5)

9. Cross Manage, Final Chapter: Just a sweetly, sweet ending. Too shoujo for me and I only started last issue so haven't a clue what it was about, besides a lacrosse team. (2/5)

10. Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Rank 32: Jumping in here, never having read yugioh in my life. This manga runs only once a month. Not sure who the good and bad guys are yet but this was a battle episode which I'm guessing this manga is going to be all about. I liked how things went and thought the guy with the white spiky hair was pretty cool. (3/5)

11. Dragon Ball Saiyan Saga Ch. 24: Tenshinhan uses the Kiko-Ho attack without success. In full-colour, I've read this manga already but love it. (4/5)

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Age of Darkness Volume 1 by Patrick Shand (Grimm Fairy Tales Presents)

Age of Darkness Volume 1 by Patrick Shand, Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Dan Wickline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grimm Universe

Awesome! This is a major volume in the Grimm Universe with all the realms coming together for an epic battle with the Dark Queen and her Dark Horde. A lot of major characters are in this one with some new ones being introduced as well. Things are getting pretty hairy for Grimm readers, especially like me who can't seem to get a grip on what order everything should be read. But this is definately a set up volume and even though it jumps all over the place it also puts into perspective what is going on with everyone. This volume itself mentions Myst, Wonderland, the New Gods and the Realm Knights. Lots of action and violence as usual but surprisingly tamer than the norm on sex and titillating images. The last issue, written by Pat Shand, one of Zenescope's regulars and a favourite of mine, was very poignant and has a particularly excellent ending. I also think if you've been a dipper into the Grimm Universe so far I think this series is a good place to get reintroduced to the action.

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Star Wars: Jedi Academy 2, Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown

Star Wars: Jedi Academy 2, Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Star Wars series

I've really been looking forward to this sequel ever since I finished the first book. I'd say this one is probably even better than the first because rather than just being a story of events in the life of a first year away at school, this volume actually has a plot. Roan spends the year having a misunderstanding with his closest friends making them grow apart and not really speaking to each other all year. By virtue of being assigned to team up with them for a class project he finds himself with the bully/bad apple kids and starts joining their group feeling good belonging to this "cool" but troublesome clique. They are really only using him though because he is smart and it gives them an in on making it easier to tease the "good" kids. So overall this is a story of friendship and a good read for that. The set up is the same as last time though I'd classify it as a graphic novel as there are probably more classic panel/bubble pages than other forms such as: journal entries, homework pages, school posters, school newsletter, class schedules, report cards, etc. It will appeal to "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" fans but is also out to entertain Star Wars fans as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Batman: Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 - Emerald Knight by Landry Q. Walker

Batman: Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 - Emerald Knight by 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman Universe

I enjoyed this volume much more than the earlier volumes. The writing has improved exponentially now that Walker has taken over as author and even with the variety of artists the artwork is steady, though, of course, cartoonish. Gone are the unrelated little opening scenes of the first volumes and now the issues start off with an opening scene which leads into the main story. The stories are still all pretty much stand-alones but at least some mention of previous events is occasionally mentioned. This volume contains a smorgasbord of heroes and villains, some I'd never even heard of! I love books like that and had a great deal of fun looking them up and meeting some old-time favourites plus plenty of less-frequently used characters. My absolute favourite part in here, and a gem of a fun issue is reading Batman's brief turn as a Green Lantern! This is a good kids comic, and this volume collects some really fun issues. It makes me want to watch the cartoon it's based on.

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Black Science, Vol. 1: How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender.

Black Science, Vol. 1: How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender. Illustrated by 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't really have a lot to say about this, it was not as good as it sounded. It jumped all over the place and was confusing most of the time though it did all come together eventually and make sense. There was a lot of waxing profoundly at the end which got very annoying and I didn't connect with or even like any of the characters. On the otherhand, I did enjoy the art a great deal, a lot of dark lines and angular jaws, etc with an atmospheric colour palette

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Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Trillium by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A mesmerizing space opera which delves into time travel and maintaining a romantic story line. Lemire uses his raw art style here which takes me a bit to feel comfortable with but once I get used to it I found this style very suitable to the themes in the story. On Earth , early 1920s, WWII has taken it's toll on the people and exploration of the jungles looking for massive treasures of gold is still a hot pastime. In the 3600s humans live on an inhabitable planet but the sentient virus The Caul is quickly destroying all living races and is approaching this planet fast. The Blue people who worship Trillium flowers and black holes connect these two strangers from the past and they set out to save the human race and give meaning to their loveless and lonely lives by finally meeting in each other their soul mate. The ending is a bit esoteric, but only takes a couple of rereads of those last few pages to fully understand the meaning that hasn't been spelt out for you. An unusual science fiction tale told in Lemire's usual brilliant style.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1-4 by Matt Wayne

The Panic of the Composite CreaturesThe Panic of the Composite Creatures by Matt Wayne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1

Ha! Pure camp! Starts with a brief cameo of Batman helping Aquaman out of a bind and Aquaman has a British accent. LOL. Then the Bat is summoned to London, England, where he takes down a monster under the control of Lex Luthor when along comes Power Girl to help him out. Talk about a strange combo of characters and the dialogue is filled with slang. Fun for kids though.

The Brave and the Bold #2: The Attack of the Virtual Villains (re-read)

The Brave and the Bold #3: President Batman (re-read)

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 Menace of the Time ThiefMenace of the Time Thief by Matt Wayne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #2

This is a fun romp for the kids involving time-travel and laughs. Also includes some characters not often seen: Rip Hunter and girlfriend Bonnie Baxter plus villain Dr. Cyber (usually Wonder Woman's foe).




Glory: The Complete Saga by Joe Keatinge . Illus. by Ross Campbell

Glory: The Complete Saga  by Joe Keatinge . Illus. by Ross Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A major intense epic saga of a female warrior. A gripping action-packed drama that kept me glued to the over 300 pages not being able to put it down. This has everything you could want in a superhero story: strong female characters, lots of gory violence, space adventures, demons, aliens, then add in sibling warrior rivalry and a lesbian love story to top off the plot. Gloriana (Glory) is unlike any female warrior/superhero character I know about. She is a female Hulk with the exotic background of Wonder Woman. Glory is a Beast of a woman, pure trained warrior, part Thulian, part Demon, she is massive, humungously tall and ginormously muscular. In certain scenes she appears like a bodybuilder, yet at other times she can appear obese, however she has a feminine face with eyes that show the feelings her body gestures cannot. Glory is not a completely likable character as she is a trained killer who, when she loses her temper, goes off into Berserker mode, but she has good intentions, however misguided and as a reader I felt for her. The ending was especially well-done giving redemption to the characters who most needed it. What a ride!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 6 by Shinobu Ohtaka

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 6  by Shinobu Ohtaka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing! This series remains fresh and exciting. Early on Aladdin tires himself out and is out of action for the rest of the volume. Then things turn political and we catch up on all the intrigue and goings on with the kings, princess and royalty in Balbadd. Remembering just why our heroes are here in the first place. So battles are fewer in this volume but the focus is on Alibaba as he learns, adjusts and trains for his destined duty. Alibaba started out as a character I wasn't too fond of but he's grown and developed so much that as the climactic battle scene progressed I was rooting for him all the way. As is typical, the volume ends mid-battle.

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