Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Man #1: The Stranger by Bastien Vivès

Last Man #1: The Stranger by Bastien Vivès
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by First Second
(first published in French 2013)

Last Man (#1)

This was enjoyable! French manga! Here we have a story that is typical of the martial arts battle shounen manga, such as Dragonball. I loved the two main characters, one a coddled young boy who wants to be a great fighter but has little skill, the other a mysterious stranger about the age of the mother who is an excellent fighter when it comes to strength and skill but he has no magic like the majority of the others in this kingdom he has "landed" in. The mystery surrounding this man is intriguing. I find myself wondering if he may not only be from a far off land but perhaps an entirely different planet. So far it would appear to be your usual manga but it's not. The art style is my least favourite aspect of this book. I do love French art but this tries to add a Japanese flair to it without really succeeding in my opinion. The deeper understanding of the plot, interactions between characters and the general tone of the story though do not try to imitate manga-style and the book's European/French style shines. I really liked this little world and fell right into it. Very much looking forward to picking up Vol. 2.

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 by Eric Colossal

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 by Eric Colossal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Harry N. Abrams

My main problem with this book is that it doesn't quite know its audience. Everything is perfectly geared towards elementary children until about the middle of the book when there is a frame of "tongue" kissing then from that point on the story's violence goes up a notch to being more suitable for middle graders. Near the end, there is also a scene elementary children may find too emotional when some Viking-type warriors cut open a creature's stomach and find the skull of their mother inside. For myself, I enjoyed it well enough. The magical recipes throughout are cute but weird and then there is a couple of real recipes at the end of the book, which makes it feel strange for a middle schooler's read. The art is cute but overall this book a bit of a strange animal.

Katamari Volume 1 by Alex Culang

Katamari Volume 1 by Alex Culang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 172 pages
Published March 31 2015 by Udon Entertainment

This cute cover attracted me and I'm so glad I read Katamari. There are some introductory pages explaining that this originally appeared as a webcomic back in the day based on a video game series mostly for the Playstation systems. I'd never heard of the game before let alone played it however this book version of the comic strip has running commentary by both the author and illustrator which clues the reader into so much information about the games, the comic and the making of, which makes the fun comic even more delightful to read. There are several large story arcs included in the volume and interspersed in between either one-shots or just 2-3 page arcs. All the arcs are independent stories but they do build upon each other so while the book has no overreaching plot it does have a cohesiveness that pulls it together well. I love the characters; they are adorable and the art is cartoony excellence. The stories range from saving the world from doom to pointless comedy one-shots providing a wide range of topics that keeps the stories fresh and never dull. I'm quite impressed as the book ended up being much more than my initial impressions, keeping a running theme of the value of friendship throughout. Appropriate for all ages.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan. Illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan. Illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 152 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Dark Horse Books

100% love! What a wonderful story. I loved both Anne and Lewis; both had mother issues, dysfunctional family issues, family secrets and meeting each other was the beginning of a wonderful romance which doesn't fully start until the book is over. Some of my favourite topics are discussed here: hoarding, estate sales, other people's photo albums, antique store shopping and urban exploring. I connected with this book and the characters on so many levels, I simply read with joy and didn't want it to end. Fantastic story! Also, I'm in love with Anne's hairdo and seriously want to get my hair done that way! This is a keeper for my shelves.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek by Elizabeth Rusch

Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek by Elizabeth Rusch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

This is pretty far-fetched with some lame-brain parents whose actions would have had social services all over them, however!, putting reasonable belief aside it's all good clean fun. Well, muddy, dirty fun LOL. The kids are smarter than the parents, even though they are scientists, but the antics of finding out you are a mud-creature superhero will have kids turning the pages. The art is clear and cartoony, all done in browns. Along with the superpowers of strength, there are themes of bullies, friendship and siblings that make this an entertaining read for all ages.

The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple

The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by First Second

This tried way too hard to be something much more than what it ends up to be. The premise is intriguing and the world-building was awesome; involving, alternate worlds, parallel realities, time traveling, astral projection, and even regular ordinary dreams most of us have. The book switches point of view from one set of characters to another then another making it difficult to get a sense of orientation for some time. However, when we do start knowing the characters a bit better, well, they start dying, getting killed or disappearing. There are three teams from different space/time realities working together to stop the world from being blown to smithereens. First, there is the modern today world where unlikely heroes want to save the earth. Then there is a future dystopian world populated with children who are fed upon by the Shadows. This is a tough cruel world. Finally, there is the world inside a comic book which when given the right spells and incantations finds the warrior heroes transferred into the post-apocalyptic world. They must all come together to break evil's hold over earth. A lot of stuff going on which needless to say the reader needs to keep their wits about them and no real sense of any of the characters made it all come down to me feeling like I didn't care what was going on or what happened to who. I also can't say I liked the art style though it did certainly capture the dark, dismal future of this world.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Gronk, A Monster's Story: Volume 1 by Katie Cook

Gronk, A Monster's Story: Volume 1 by Katie Cook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 60 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Action Lab Entertainment

A webcomic that has been printed into book format. A cute comic with a fun sense of humour. Probably will especially appeal to cat lovers. Gronk, our little monster is adorable. The book is appropriate for all ages though I think the intended audience would be adults. Each page is what would have originally been presented as a daily comic and I'm not personally fond of reading this comicstrip type of compilation so didn't particularly love it. I'm sure those who do like this type of thing may find it right up their alley, though. I, myself, won't be reading volume 2.

Batman '66/Green Hornet by Kevin Smith

Batman '66/Green Hornet by Kevin Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by DC Comics

Dynamite's Masked Men

This is the first Batman '66 I've read but I'm a long time fan of the show and am also a fan of Dynamite's Green Hornet series so it is no surprise I had to read this book. Basically it is a Batman story with Green Hornet and Kato as the guest stars and Batman '66 follows the classic TV series to a tee. It's just as campy, corny and silly as one could expect and the characters are drawn to a likeness of the actors who played them. Joker (as played by Ceasar Romero) is the villain in this episode along with Colonel Gumm from the actual TV episode where these two duos first met. I had a lot of fun reading the graphic but honestly the constant alliteration became annoying very fast. I'll enjoy watching re-runs of Batman but won't be going in for anymore Batman '66 issues.

Classics Illustrated Deluxe #11: The Sea-Wolf by Jack London by Riff Reb

Classics Illustrated Deluxe #11: The Sea-Wolf by Jack London by Riff Reb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Papercutz

Classics Illustrated Deluxe (11)

It's been a very long time since I've read the original story so can't really compare, but I do love Jack London. This is an especially fine tale. Dark and morbid, looking into the deepest blackest part of man's soul while another holds onto his beliefs come what may, however bleak. Riff Reb's art is outstanding and made reading this tale a delight. If you haven't read the original this will certainly have you looking for it and indeed it's whetted my desire for a re-read. Gorgeous volume, fantastic tale of the sea! This is a prime example of why one would/should read graphic retellings of the classics!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

UQ Holder 4 by Ken Akamatsu

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

Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

UQ Holder (4)

Wow! I've been wishy-washy about this series up to this point and wasn't sure if I was going to continue. However, this volume totally amps up the game! All the members of the team are being focused on, even though Tota is the main character, and their backgrounds are explored a little bit here mostly by telling us in what way each is immortal. My favourite at this point is Ikku. This volume is plot and battle intensive. A new bad guy with a mysterious past connection to Tota is introduced and the whole entire book surrounds his nefarious scheme and the UQ team trying to spot him. A new member of the team is also introduced (look at the cover); she's totally awesome with some very cool powers!

Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection by Kazue Kato

Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection by Kazue Kato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by VIZ Media
(first published in Japan 2011)

I haven't read Kazue Kato before, but Blue Exorcist has been on my tbr list for ages. The art in this collection of shorts is absolutely beautiful. She is a first-rate manga artist. The stories are all dark, depressing or weird; my kind of stuff basically. The first story is pretty dark and I really liked it. About an assassin and the son of a doctor he attacks who become friends in a strange way. The next story has rabbits and the message in the end is we all have to move forward no matter what heartbreak we face along the way; we can't live in the past. Later on a short where mommy beats up daddy, ok.... moving right along a princess wears paper doll clothes with tabs which means she shows up naked from the backside view. Back to being serious with a short but sentimental story of a homeless dad whose daughter almost dies from illness until he starts his own business. ... haunting mysterious sea creature. Then along comes a fantastic story featuring space aliens about the meaning of life and a decidedly strong Christian message. Finally, the book ends with the first Blue Exorcist one-shot which is totally excellent and now has moved up further on my tbr list.

My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 by Kazune Kawahara

My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 by Kazune Kawahara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 184 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by VIZ Media LLC
(first published in Japan 2012)

My Love Story!! (1)

I'm not rating this 5 stars because it is the best book in the world but more because it thoroughly entertained me, and I can honestly say I truly enjoyed this. And why would this merit 5 stars to me? Because I can not stand romantic shoujo, but there is nothing *not* to like in this quaint, adorable first volume to this series. There are no gimmicks, no cross-dressing, no vampires, nor do we have to wait 18 volumes for the star-crossed pair to tell each their feelings! For Takeo and Yamato it is love-at-first-sight. The glitch? Takeo isn't the kind of boy that girls usually go for, very tall, burly, square-jawed, large nose (and for comedic effect) overly large lips. The story is really cute and sweet. Takeo's friend is the exact type girls fall for but by contrast Takeo is always the gentleman and knows at heart how to treat a lady right; he just hasn't had a chance before. Really adorable story for romantics. I'm usually critical with shoujo but found this one a pure joy to read even quite open to continuing on with the series!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya

Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya. Illustrated by Tessa Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 169 pages
Published December 17th 2013 by Oni Press

This is a strange little fellow. It's one of those books that take you half-way through till you fall for it. The second half was just so much more entertaining as by then I'd caught up in the story and characters, which are very unusual, to say the least. This is a take on the martial arts battle mangas only here we have spelling bee competitors battling each other with the letters forming into solid shapes and attacking the other person, causing injury. OK, it sounds weird and honestly, I thought what the heck? when I first started it almost not wanting to finish the book. But I'm glad I did because it has a good message of believing in yourself and it turned out to be quite a fun story. I can see myself enjoying this much more as a teen as I was one of those "word nerd" girls. LOL. I liked the art; very manga-like but the use of yellow in the b/w illustrations was not aesthetically pleasing.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma by Naoki Urasawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, VIZ Signature Edition, 221 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by VIZ Media
(first published in Japanese June 1st 1995)

Monster (Vol. 1)

This is fantastic! I absolutely loved it! A crime set in Germany starts off in 1986, then skips ahead to 1995. The twist ending was stunning even though I'd guessed it would turn out the way it did. Lots of medical situations and drama. This would make the perfect starter manga for someone who doesn't like fantasy. I cannot wait to read the next volume! I just have to decide whether to use the library or buy the delicious omnibus editions that are being published now. Hmmm...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 1 by Yuuto Tsukuda

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 1 by Yuuto Tsukuda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by VIZ Media LLC
(first published in Japanese, April 4th 2013)

Food Wars! (1)

I really thoroughly enjoyed this. I've never quite read a manga of this type before. It's a straight story, no magic or fantasy and set in the real world of today, but it's hilarious. At first I foud myself thinking how utterly unrealistic the story was, but then laughed because, yeah, all the other manga I read is sooo realistic, right? LOL So I got over that and became totally immersed in the characters and the story. I amazingly really liked this dude! Plus the antics are hilarious. While he is a wonderful chef he also likes to make perfectly horrid dishes like squid and peanut butter and make people eat them. There is no sex but when someone eats something that tastes totally divine they are morphed into a dream where they are naked, in ecstasy, and things are wrapped around the naughty bits, like a snake or clouds or steam. Now, of course, this is usually female nakedness but men do get the same treatment occasionally and there was a nice beefcake illustration [grin]. Anyway, that's why the 16+ publisher rating on this one. I might just continue on with this series as it's so different from anything else I'm reading/have read. I'd only have a few volumes to catch up on to be up-to-date.

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 3 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 3 by Adachitoka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published January 13th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
(first published in Japanese, February 2012)

Norigami: Stray God (3)

Another great volume! This one concentrates on the discord between Yato and his shinki, Yukine. Everything comes to a head and that story arc is finished off. Meanwhile, Bishamonten is still lurking around looking for Yato to exact her revenge. A new evil shinki is introduced, but there's more to that story I'm sure! and Yato solves one case during all this of a boy at school who is being bullied. I just love Hiyori, I hope she never gets cured!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge - COMPLETED

2015 8th Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge 

runs from Jan.1 - Dec. 31, 2015

Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that's only 1 book a month)

Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)

Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)

I will be doing Silver Age (52) again.

1. Beauty by Hubert
2. Mermin, Book One: Out of Water by Joey Weiser
3. Long Tail Kitty: Come Out and Play by Lark Pien
4. Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 5, 2013 (No. 36)
5. How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert
6. Legends of Chima #3: Chi Quest! by Yannick Grotholt
7. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2: Going Green by Stefan Petrucha
8. The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo by Sarah Lynn
9. The Garfield Show #4: Little Trouble in Big China
10. Classics Illustrated Deluxe #12: The Monkey God by Wu Cheng by Jean-David Morvan
11. WWE Superstars #2: Haze of Glory by Mick Foley
12. Canine/Feline Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 25 edited by Tom Pomplun & John Lehman
13. Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope by Emmanuel Guibert
14. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
15. Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6 by James Kuhoric
16. ARIOL: Bizzbilla Hits the Bullseye by Emmanuel Guibert
17. The Seven Deadly Sins 5 by Nakaba Suzuki
18. Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge
19. Stones of Power by Azumi Isora
20. UQ Holder 3 by Ken Akamatsu
21. Dracula & Frankenstein: Two Dover Graphic Novel Classics by John Green
22. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 2 by Adachitoka
23. The Other Side of the Wall by Simon Schwartz
24. Mermin Volume 2: The Big Catch by Joey Weiser
25. Mermin Volume 3: Deep Dive by Joey Weiser
26. Olympians: Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor
27. Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob by Jenny Jaeckel
28. Meteor Men by Jeff Parker
29. Down. Set. Fight! by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers
30. All You Need Is Kill, Vol. 01 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
31. All You Need Is Kill, Vol. 02 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
32. Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay
33. Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure by Josh Elder
34. Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson
35. Mind the Gap, Volume 1: Intimate Strangers by Jim McCann
36. Wolf by Shige Nakamura
37. Genesis: From Creation to the Flood by Jason Quinn
38. Superman Family Adventures #1: The Adventures Begin! by Art Baltazar
39. Black Rose Alice, Vol. 1 by Setona Mizushiro
40. Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 12, 2013
41. Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 19, 2013 
42. LEGO: Legend of Chima #2 The Right Decision by Yannick Grotholt
43. LEGO: Legend of Chima #4 The Power of the Fire Chi by Yannick Grotholt
44. Aw Yeah Comics! And... Action! by Art Baltazar
45. Teen Titans Go! Vol. 1: Party, Party! by Sholly Fisch
46. A Boy & a Girl by Jamie S. Rich
47. Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain Volume 1 by Michael Moreci
48. Megagogo, Volume 1 by Wook Jin Clark
49. The Seven Deadly Sins 6 by Nakaba Suzuki
50. The Seven Deadly Sins 7 by Nakaba Suzuki
51. The X-Files: Year Zero by Karl Kesel
52. The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke

53. Dinosaurs #1 In the Beginning... by Arnaud Plumeri
54. Dinosaurs #2 Bite of the Albertosaurus by Arnaud Plumeri
55. The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy) by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty
56. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 3 by Adachitoka
57. Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 1 by Yuuto Tsukuda
58. Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma
59. Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya
60. My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 by Kazune Kawahara
61. Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection
62. UQ Holder 4 by Ken Akamatsu
63. Classics Illustrated Deluxe #11: The Sea-Wolf by Jack London by Riff Reb
64. Batman '66/Green Hornet by Kevin Smith
65. Gronk, A Monster's Story: Volume 1 by Katie Cook
66. The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
67. Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek by Elizabeth Rusch
68. Bad Houses by Sara Ryan
69. Katamari Volume 1 by Alex Culang
70. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 by Eric Colossal
71. Last Man #1: The Stranger by Bastien Vivès
72. Satan's Prep: A Graphic Novel by Gabe Guarente
73. Ariol #6: A Nasty Cat by Emmanuel Guibert
74. The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis
75. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!
76. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party
77. Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler
78. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood
79. Behemoth #1: This is What You Are by Chris Kipiniak
80. Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Gail Simone
81. Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers by Zac Gorman
82. Your Lie in April Vol. 1 by Naoshi Arakawa
83. My Love Story!!, Vol. 4 by Kazune Kawahara
84. Noragami: Stray God Vol. 4 by Adachitoka
85. The Most Dangerous Game: A Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Collection Book 2 by Zach Weiner
86. Lost Property by Andy Poyiadgi
87. Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu
88. Smoke Signal No. 20 Fall/Winter 2014 edited by Alex Spiro
89. Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns
90. The  Heroic Legend of Arslan 3 by Hiromu Arakawa
91. Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger
92. Least I Could Do 5: Yield To Me by Ryan Sohmer
93. Batman and Robin, (New 52) Vol. 1: Born to Kill by Peter J. Tomasi
94. Batwoman (New 52), Vol. 1: Hydrology by J.H. Williams III
95. My Love Story!!, Vol. 2 by Kazune Kawahara
96. Behemoth #2: Tooth and Claw by Chris Kipiniak
97. Batwing (New 52) Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom by Judd Winick
98. The Seven Deadly Sins 8 by Nakaba Suzuki
99. Golemchik by Will Exley
100.  My Love Story!!, Vol. 3 by Kazune Kawahara
101. Archer & Armstrong, Vol 1: The Michelangelo Code by Fred Van Lente
102. Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv by Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem
103. Sunny, Vol. 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto
104. Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
105. Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida
106. Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion by Alexis Dormal
107. Eureka Seven: Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka
108. The Royal Cup (Last Man) by Bastien Vivès
109. Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars by Tony S. Daniel
110. Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan
111. The Flash (New 52), Vol. 5: History Lessons by Brian Buccellato
112. The Flash (New 52), Vol. 6: Out of Time by Robert Venditti
113. The Flash (New 52), Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
114. Ratman Volume 1 by Sekihiko Inui
115. Ratman Volume 2 by Sekihiko Inui
116. Swamp Thing (New 52) Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones by Scott Snyder
117. Noragami: Stray God 5 by Adachitoka
118. Animal Man (New 52) Vol. 1: The Hunt by Jeff Lemire
119. Justice, Inc. by Michael Uslan
120. Eden Volume 1 by Bash
121. My Love Story!!, Vol. 5 by Kazune Kawahara
122. Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 1 by Yoshiaki Sukeno
123. Sunny, Vol. 5 by Taiyo Matsumoto
124. UQ Holder 5 by Ken Akamatsu
125. Cyber Realm by Wren McDonald
126. Your Lie in April Volume 2 by Naoshi Arakawa
127. Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman
128. Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1 by Peter J. Tomasi
129. Gunshow Vol. 4: Rad Tats by K.C. Green
130. The Divine by Asaf Hanuka
131. Surprise Attack!: Nickolas Flux and the Attack on Pearl Harbor by Terry Collins
132. The Garfield Show #5: Fido Food Feline
133. Rosary Comic Book: Includes the Luminous Mysteries by Gene Luen Yang
134. Flight to Freedom!: Nickolas Flux and the Underground Railroad by Mari Bolte
135. Nancy Drew Diaries #5: Ghost in the Machinery & Disoriented Express by Stefan Petrucha
136. New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan
137. Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Graphic Novel by Carl Bowen
138. One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 by ONE
139. Bram Stoker's Dracula: A Graphic Novel by Michael Burgan
140. One-Punch Man, Vol. 2 by ONE
141. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (New 52) Vol. 1: War of the Monsters by Jeff Lemire
142. Men of War (New 52) Vol. 1: Uneasy Company by Ivan Brandon
143. O.M.A.C. (New 52) Vol. 1: Omactivate! by Dan DiDio
144. Arkham Manor, Vol. 1 by Gerry Duggan
145. March Grand Prix: The Fast and the Furriest by Kean Soo
146. Civil War Adventure, Book One by Chuck Dixon
147. Teen Titans Go! Thunder and Lightning Strike! by J. Torres
148. Teen Titans Go!: Mad Mod Is in Vogue! by Adam Beechen
149. Michael Midas Champion: Book One by Jordan B. Gorfinkel
150. The Seven Deadly Sins, Volume 9 by Nakaba Suzuki
151. My Hero Academia, Vol. 01 by Kouhei Horikoshi
152. Robert Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Lazaro
153. Zatch Bell!, Volume 18 by Makoto Raiku
154. Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens by Crystal S. Chan
155. The October Faction Volume 1 by Steve Niles
156. Zatch Bell!, Volume 19 by Makoto Raiku
157. Zatch Bell!, Volume 20 by Makoto Raiku
158. First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson by Simon Schwartz
159. Teen Titans Vol. 1: Blinded by the Light by Will Pfeifer
160. Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
161. Punky Brewster Vol. 1 by Joelle Sellner
162. The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer
163. Hawk and Dove (New 51): First Strikes by Sterling Gates
164. Noragami: Stray God Volume 6 by Adachitoka
165. Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 2 by Sui Ishida
166. Blazing Comics #1-#5: The Green Turtle (1944-1945) by Chu Hing
167. Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola
168. Your Lie in April Vol. 3 by Naoshi Arakawa
169. Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott Tipton
170. Millennium by Joe Harris
171. A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return by Zeina Abirached
172. Zatch Bell!, Volume 21 by Makoto Raiku
173. Zatch Bell!, Volume 22 by Makoto Raiku
174. Zatch Bell!, Volume 23 by Makoto Raiku
175. Inuyashiki 1 by Hiroya Oku
176. Fairy Tail Blue Mistral, Vol. 1 by Hiro Mashima
177. Ninja Slayer Kills 1 by Kotaro Sekine
178. Lobo Vol. 1: Targets by Cullen Bunn
179. Goosebumps Graphix: Slappy's Tales of Horror by R.L. Stine
180. The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow by Howard Chaykin
181. Gryphons Aren't So Great by James Sturm
182. Lady Killer by Jamie Rich
183. 101 Artists To Listen To Before You Die by Ricardo Cavolo
184. Blue Beetle (New 52) Vol. 1: Metamorphosis by Tony Bedard
185. Family Pets by Pat Shand
186. Ultraman, Vol. 1 by Eiichi Shimizu
187. Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition 1 by Hajime Isayama
188. DC Super Friends #10 Season of Light & #12 Starro and the Pirates by Sholly Fisch
189. Pixu: The Mark of Evil by Gabriel Bá & Fabio Moon
190. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne by Crystal Chan
191. The Batman Strikes! #5 Scarface Is Gonna Go Boom! & #7 Frozen Solid by Mr. Freeze! by Bill Matheny
192. Devil Survivor 1 by Satoru Matsuba
193. Manga Classics: Emma by Jane Austen by Crystal Chan
194. Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1 The World's Mightiest Mortal! & #2 Magic Words! by Mike Kunkel
195. The Seven Deadly Sins, Vol. 10 by Nakaba Suzuki
196. 2 Sisters by Matt Kindt
197. Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause
198. Alice Cooper Vol. 1: Welcome to My Nightmare by Joe Harris
199. Vinland Saga Book 6 by Makoto Yukimura
200. Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers
201. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Romeo and Juliet by Ian Lendler
202. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
203. Knight Rider Volume 1 by Geoffrey Thorne
204. Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks
205. Last Man 3: The Chase by Bastien Vivès
206. DayBlack by Keef Cross
207. Blackhawks (New 52) Vol. 1: The Great Leap Forward by Mike Costa
208. Zatch Bell!, Volume 24 by Makoto Raiku
209. Zatch Bell!, Volume 25 by Makoto Raiku
210. Mister Terrific (New 52) Vol. 1: Mind Games by Eric Wallace
211. QQ Sweeper, Vol. 1 by Kyousuke Motomi
212. My Love Story!!, Vol. 6 by Kazune Kawahara
213. The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty
214. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 13 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
215. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 14 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
216. Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 2 by Yoshiaki Sukeno
217. Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine & Jessica Dee Humphreys
218. Hotel Strange #1: Wake Up, Spring by Florian & Katherine Ferrier
219. The Jewel Smurfer by Peyo
220. Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by José Domingo
221. Behemoth #3: Shedding by Chris Kipiniak
222. Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944 with One of the World's Iconic Photographers by Jean-David Morvan
223. Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 13 by Kiiro Yumi
224. Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 14 by Kiiro Yumi
225. Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads by Paul Levitz
226. Cleopatra in Space #2: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack
227. Two Brothers by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
228. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer & Matthew Holm
229: Your Lie in April 4 by Naoshi Arakawa
230. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
231. Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
232. Itty Bitty Comics: Grimmiss Island by Franco & Art Baltazar
233. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde #1: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso
234. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde #2: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso
235. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde #3: Cookie Catastrophe by Frank Cammuso
236. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde #4: Dinosaur Dilemma by Frank Cammuso
237. Nnewts: Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel
238. Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Troy Little
239. Lafcadio Hearn's "The Faceless Ghost" and Other Macabre Tales from Japan: A Graphic Novel by Sean Michael Wilson
240. Yo-kai Watch, Vol. 1 by Noriyuki Konishi
241. Ultraman, Vol. 2 by Eiichi Shimizu
242. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton III
243. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business by Maxwell Eaton III
244. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Mud-Slinging Moles by Maxwell Eaton III
245. The Flying Beaver Brothers: Birds vs. Bunnies by Maxwell Eaton III
246. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Hot Air Baboons by Maxwell Eaton III
247. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III
248. My Hero Academia, Vol. 02 by Kohei Horikoshi
249. One-Punch Man, Vol. 3 by ONE
250. Abbadon by Jimmy Palmiotti
251. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
252. Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High Schoool by Lisa Wilde
253. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
254. Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
255. Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir by Colleen Frakes
256. Jim's Lion by Russell Hoban
257. Junior Braves of the Apocalypse (#1) A Brave is Brave by Greg Smith
258. Lights, Camera, Stilton! (Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels, #16)
259. Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 4 by Sui Ishida
260. Jack the Ripper by François Debois
261. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Graphic Novel by Benjamin Harper
262. Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon by Sylvain Cordurié
263. Macbeth by Gareth Hinds
264. Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson
265. Courtney Crumrin Vol. 7: Tales of a Warlock by Ted Naifeh
266. March: Book One by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
267. March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
268. Oyster War by Ben Towle

The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy) by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty

The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy) by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty. Illustrated by David Rubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by First Second

Well, what a pleasant surprise! I did not like Battling Boy at all and didn't really have high expectations for this one. But wow, it was fantastic, nothing like Battling Boy, which I barely even remember and the art here is so much better. Which would be explained by it being done by David Rubin and not Paul Pope himself. A great monster-fighter story! A father trains his daughter to be his sidekick and eventually take over for him someday. There are mysterious circumstances surrounding the wife/mother's death and the girl is coming close to solving this. The book ends in a "to be continued" manner so nothing is wrapped up here. I liked the various monsters, they were interesting, and I loved the characters.

Dinosaurs #1 In the Beginning... & #2 Bite of the Albertosaurus by Arnaud Plumeri

In the Beginning... by Arnaud Plumeri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 64 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Papercutz

Entertaining and educational volume with general information on dinosaurs. This actually surprised me with how pleasing the presentation is. The first volume of a series, this covers a multitude of different dinosaurs and various general information about them. The back includes a term index and list of dinosaurs covered with stats. The book is presented with an instructive narrative and humorous panels as the giant lizards talk to each other illustrating the narrative. There are a couple of recurring characters: the narrator, Indino Jones, an intelligent, friendly but slightly muddled paleontologist and his pet dog; and within the dinosaur eras a compsognathus nicknamed Compso who interacts with the dinosaurs. I'm not big on dinosaurs myself, but I found the book entertaining and the humour cute and funny. Kids with a passion for dinosaurs will get a kick out of this series.

Bite of the Albertosaurus by Arnaud Plumeri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 56 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Papercutz

Same set up as volume one. Entertaining and educational at the same time. I found the humour to be quite funny and even on the dark side. There are a lot of carnivores attacking and munching their prey while making funny comments, so probably not for the most sensitive of kids. This book also covers a wide variety of general information and trivia about dinosaurs, the different eras and palaeontology. The title "Bite of the Albertosaurus" has nothing to do with the contents; I think Albertosaurus was shown only about three times. Compso is still a sidekick character but he appears much less frequently and is hardly ever referred to by name, instead two rats introduced towards the end of volume one appear more often and seem to take over the part of interactive recurring characters. A fun, interesting book about dinosaurs with lots of humour that dinosaur fans will enjoy. I'm just disappointed that this volume didn't narrow down its topic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke

The Lunch Witch  by Deb Lucke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 180 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Papercutz

Here is something new from Papercutz. A new series of original graphic novels published in paperback with french flaps. This is the story of a traditional witch whose job has become redundant. She must find another line of work to keep the bats and familiars' tummies full so she winds up working as a Lunch Lady for the local elementary school. There she meets a girl who guesses her secret and tries to blackmail her. Both characters are likable and this is a warm feel-good story about friendship. I loved the dark, Goth-like art, which the publisher compares to Gorey but I'd say that's going a bit far (no-one compares to Edward Gorey!) It is a pleasant read with some light-hearted dark humour. Lots of fun!

The X-Files: Year Zero by Karl Kesel

The X-Files: Year Zero by Karl Kesel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 124 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by IDW Publishing

X-Files series

A great entry into the X-Files universe from Karl Kessel. Looks like this is his first time writing about Mulder and Scully but he does a bang-on job of getting their personalities and quirks just right. I felt right at home slipping into this intriguing case that switches between the present and the very first X-Files case back in the 1940s. No other regulars appear in the story so Kessel pretty much has his way with the story and manages to keep it familiar yet unique. There's no point of reference for time-frame though, which I found a bit annoying but the duo are not even so much as flirting with each other so it doesn't feel the same as the current Season 10 series. The art is good; Mulder and Scully are realistic though I found it, on the whole, a bit dark-toned which made the transitions between the past and present not as good as they could have been. However, a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Kodansha's The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 6 & 7 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 6 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 6)

This is a totally awesome volume. Everything has come into place and there is a lot of character development especially with Meliodas. We understand him now much better, all the elements are coming together and this is probably the best volume to date. Volume 6 has both plenty of story and action. Completely satisfying and I'm looking forward to the next book very much.

The Seven Deadly Sins 7 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published March 17th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 7)

This series is just getting better and better. The first half of the book is all battle and pretty intense, all three factions are involved now and know of each other, if not their entire intentions. It's a bit confusing reading as a lot of new characters are in play now and there is no character list at the beginning of the book. These guys can appear for many pages before their names are mentioned so getting to know who is who is taking me some time, but the battle action was fast and furious. Strange things indeed happen and are revealed about the main character Meliodas, then the gang goes forth on their quest for the remaining sins and treasures. The book ends with the introduction of the next Sin, I'm not telling you of what, Gowther. My almost 15yo is reading this series also and thought this book was terrific. His interest in the series has turned from mild to "can't wait for the next volume".

Friday, March 13, 2015

Megagogo, Volume 1 by Wook Jin Clark

Megagogo, Volume 1 by Wook Jin Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 26th 2014 by Oni Press

An American manga written by a Korean author. The story is very entertaining, but the manga feels a bit strange presented in the American left-right format. A plot that has been done many times before of a retired team of superheroes coming back on the scene ten years later after everyone's opinion of them has eroded. In this first volume we are introduced to the members of the team as we see where they are now as they get pulled back into the action and character development is high. There's lot of action and fighting as the evil forces try to take out the heroes before they can team up again but just what is actually going on with the "bad guys" isn't fully explained yet with this volume. I'm very keen on the characters though, finding this a good starting volume to a series and would certainly continue reading.

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain Volume 1 by Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain Volume 1 by Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Image Comics

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain (1)

This is my first introduction to Hack/Slash and has intrigued me into wanting to read the previous stories. There's nothing truly unique here, a typical monster hunter story vs creature who wants to raise previous evil god back to life and take over the world. Cassie is a kick-butt female warrior and her companions make up a fun team. Lot of action, fighting, blood and guts. Fun!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Boy & a Girl by Jamie S. Rich. Natalie Nourigat (Illustrator)

A Boy & a Girl by Jamie S. Rich. Natalie Nourigat (Illustrator)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 166 pages
Published Oni Press, November 27th 2013

An immensely compelling and beautiful romance. Set in a future world this story has a bit of everything including an amazing surprise ending. While on the surface the book simply tells an enchanting love story between two young twenty-somethings underneath lie some very deep issues that will provoke thought. Is free will important or even necessary? In a technological age would (could?) religion and God be reasoned away? Are emotions what make humans have Faith? Much, much more to ponder but those struck me hardest. The art is utterly stunning. A lovely book!

Teen Titans Go! Vol. 1: Party, Party! by Sholly Fisch

Teen Titans Go! Vol. 1: Party, Party! by Sholly Fisch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by DC Comics

Teen Titans

Hilarious collection of all ages short stories featuring the Teen Titans as portrayed in the latest cartoon show. These stories are funny and full of hi-jinx but still keep the basic nature and relationships of the characters that are so popular. Lots of superhero goodness as well with numerous bad guys including The Riddler and Captain Cold. Perfect for the younger comic fan!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Aw Yeah Comics! And... Action! by Art Baltazar

Aw Yeah Comics! And... Action! by Art Baltazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published September 16th, 2014 by Dark Horse Books

A fun all-ages comic with doses of humour and superhero action. Baltazar & Franco are an amazing team-up and everything they do together is distinctive with the art being a comic joy. This is presented in a series of shorts from one page to several pages long. The stories all go together but there is no real running plot and there are time-outs for jokes and silly things. There are many cat heroes and villains to meet including Action Cat & Bug plus their female counterparts (Action Cat & Bug), Evil Cat & Ghost Bug, Zombie Cat and Frankenbug plus a host of other non-cat heroes and villains. Personally I found it a bit much reading this all together in one big collection and think it would be better taken in the smaller doses of the comic books which are up to issue #9 as of Feb 2015. This would make a great subscription for kids looking for something all ages appropriate.

LEGO: Legend of Chima #2 The Right Decision & #4 The Power of the Fire Chi by Yannick Grotholt

The Right Decision by Yannick Grotholt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 56 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Papercutz

LEGO: Legend of Chima (#2)

I've taken a fancy to the LEGO graphic novels, especially this series. I've read #1 & #3, so had to go fill in with #2 before I read the latest and final volume. Full of action and adventure, these books contain 4 little episodes which happen chronologically and in between tv episodes. I don't watch the cartoons, but it doesn't hinder my enjoyment. Pretty much all the clans are here lions, crocs, eagles, spiders, scorpions and wolves. No gorillas though and I like them :-) My boys are way too grown-up now, but both were lego maniacs in their day and would have eaten this up. I personally find it quite the ride and well-written.

The Power of the Fire Chi by Yannick Grotholt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 56 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Papercutz

LEGO: Legend of Chima (#4)

This is the final book in the "Legends of Chima" series and continues full speed ahead. Again four stories are told chronologically which do have the occasional footnote referencing a previous volume or a tv cartoon episode but they do fully make sense if you are not acquainted with either; I myself have not watched the show and ended up reading these four volumes slightly out of order. This final book ends with a bang, being probably the most action-packed one. Villians met here are the vultures, sabre-tooths and mammoths plus I was delighted to see the return of my favourite tribe, the gorillas. The book then concludes with a final quest ending with the theme of friendship. A wonderful series and fans of the show will surely adore it!

ETA: This says it is the final volume in the editor's not at the back, however, there is a volume 5 available for pre-order on amazon with a release date of May 15. Guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Two Issues of Weekly Shonen Jump

Weekly Shonen Jump (No. 37-39)

Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 12, 2013 by VIZ Media
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Still having a hard time hanging my hat on the ones that have been running for years but enjoying them nevertheless. Really liking One-Punch Man!

1. One Piece Ch. 717 - They find out that the toy people were really once humans changed by Doflamingo years ago and now the final battle will take place at the secret factory under the coliseum. I find this hard to follow in this format and really prefer the books. (3/5)

2. Naruto No. 642 - It seems that some of the types of jutsu aren't working in this battle and they no longer have regenerative powers but Naruto has been able to master some other jutsu and deliver a massive blow to a dude that insults his father. (3/5)

3. One-Punch Man Punch 23, Part 2 - One-Punch isn't in this one, but we have another guy battling awesome sea creatures then it ends with this mega-huge muscle dude who looks like King Neptune in a Speedo! Awesome! (5/5)

4. Nisekoi No. 642 - Onodera is sick so Raku goes over to look after her but ends up spending most of is time with her little sister Haru who hates him. There relationship changes. This actually is starting to grow on me for a dumb little shoujo. LOL (4/5)

5. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman Ch. 5 - Jaco saves a girl, beats up some thugs and then the police making them need to escape. Fun. (4/5)

6. Toriko Gourmet 245 - The woman challenges them all to battle, and, it looks like, I think, the President blows up! (4/5)

7. World Trigger Ch. 26 - The team gets a lesson in how to use a trigger, then they talk plan of attack and the chapter ends mid-battle. I usually like this one, but kinda slow this time. (3/5)

8. Dragon Ball Saiyan Saga DBZ 27: Nappa continues fighting Kuririn, Piccolo and the little guy, forget his name. They are not doing too well, but near the end they can feel a huge power coming close ... and we all know who that is! I like how in this colour version whenever something or somebody splats it is always in red so it looks like blood. (5/5)

Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 19, 2013 by VIZ Media
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No issue came out this week due to a Japanese holiday so the American publisher put together this Naruto themed bonus issue for subscribers.

First is a high-resolution cover gallery of 62 Naruto manga covers, then five full-colour spreads from their pages showing the evolution of Naruto.

Naruto's First Appearance (Aug. 1997 from Akamaru Jump) I really enjoyed this. A one-shot story, introducing Naruto. He is a troublemaker and has no friends so he is sent to the humans and told to make a friend and bring him back as proof. He actually ends up getting involved in a crime, murder and mystery. Very different from the Naruto of today but shows some elements were there from the beginning.

Black Rose Alice, Vol. 1 by Setona Mizushiro

Black Rose Alice, Vol. 1 by Setona Mizushiro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by VIZ Media LLC
(first published in Japanese, 2008)

Black Rose Alice (1)

Whoa! I really liked this. Not what I had expected at all! The vampire mythos here is very different from the popular western media take on vampires. Some things are the same such as not liking the sun, but there are more very peculiar differences. This is rather disturbing! Lots of death and blood, a rape scene, man with a 16yo girl, teacher with a high school boy, and the only romance so far is the overdramatic Romeo & Juliet I'd-die-for-you kind. That suits me ok as I'm more interested in all the creepy stuff than a romance. We understand the "Black Rose" part of the title, but there has been no "Alice" yet. This is one I'd definitely continue reading!