Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Flash (New 52) Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

The Flash (New 52) Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by DC Comics
first published November 1st 2012

Flash: Vol. 3
New 52

I'd just finished writing a review for Vol. 6 when I noticed that somehow I'd managed to skip over reading Vol. 3! So I went hunting the shelves and pulled it out. A bit weird going back to all the gorilla stuff now but a fun volume. Ties up all the gorilla storyline with a big showdown involving Grodd and the Rogues team-up with Flash in saving the world. There are some teasers for the next volume, Reverse Flash (which I've read) as well.

Ratman Volume 1 & 2 by Sekihiko Inui

Ratman Volume 1 by Sekihiko Inui
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by VIZ Media: VIZ Select
first published 2007

Ratman (#1)

A superhero story! Plenty of humour in this world that comes across as a pastiche of the American superhero. It's a corporate world protected by corporate-owned superheroes and 15yo Shuto wants to be a hero more than anything else. Only problem is he's short, not even 5 ft tall, and shrimpy. It took me about half the book to get into as I couldn't get comfortable with who the intended audience was supposed to be: it was funny and even cute at points feeling like a kid's book but in no certain terms was it as the language was highly mature teenager-speak and while there is no sex, it is sexualized and up-skirt shots are common. At the half-way point, the plot actually set in and kind of grabbed me. I don't like the main character at this point, but the minions (called Jacky) are awesome). There is a theme running behind the scenes attempting to ask the question "just what is a hero really" which I hope becomes a bigger part of the plot. Will certainly move on to volume two hoping for more development.



Ratman, Volume 2 by Sekihiko Inui
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published April 2015 by VIZ Media: VIZ Select
first published 2008

Ratman (#2)

This volume is pure action with Ratman getting involved in everything whether he's been sent out on a villain's mission or he takes on a hero's mission of his own volition. Lots of fun! I found it a speedy read. And I love the minions called Jacky!!I did find Ratman's ideological speeches rather annoying as if violins would start playing at any time, and more suited to an elementary situation, not this one with its frequent use of mature language. I'll probably read on at some point but just not now.

Swamp Thing (New 52) Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones by Scott Snyder

Swamp Thing (New 52) Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 168 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by DC Comics

New 52

This is the very first time I've ever read Swamp Thing; I know his basic story though from somewhere (perhaps there was a cartoon in the old days?) Anyway, really glad Scott Snyder was at the reigns as he's one of the best writers and did a good job with a very strange and yet typical story of someone (well two someones) being called to be the saviour of a kingdom. Here we have The Green vs The Rot which I found similar to the good vs evil in King's Stand and thus the Biblical good/evil. This is a set-up story re-imagining Dr. Holland's story of how he became The Swamp Thing and both his and the current plot's background story. Although Superman shows up on the first pages looking for Holland there is no tie-in with the rest of the DC world. I could get into this; it's pretty dark and violent and very different from everything else I've read in The New 52 to date.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Flash (New 52), Vol. 6: Out of Time by Robert Venditti


The Flash, Vol. 6: Out of Time by Robert Venditti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by DC Comics

New 52
The Flash

Another new writer and illustrator bring Flash into a new story arc, one that sees him traveling the speed force. A lot of things are happening plotwise which gets a bit confusing especially when we add in time travel. The book starts five years in the future, zips back to the present and continues in that manner, at one point reaching as far as twenty years in the future. Some old characters briefly return (Gorilla Grodd) and some characters we haven't seen in this series make an entry (Wally West) bringing an exciting Flash read but the story was a bit all over the place for me to actually firmly hang my hat on. We'll see where it goes from here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Flash (New 52), Vol. 5: History Lessons by Brian Buccellato

The Flash, Vol. 5: History Lessons by Brian Buccellato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by DC Comics

The New 52
The Flash

Very good! Starts off with two one-offs establishing Buccellato as the new writer with different illustrators. The Green Lantern one was good while the other was only okay. Then the book finishes up with the main entry, the titular story commencing Zircher on art. A great mix of noir detective and paranormal as a ghost from the diamond mining 1800s returns, crosses paths with a modern day serial killer and Flash finds clues to his mother's death as help comes along from, one of my favourite DC characters, Deadman. Fun book, that turns the tide for Flash from the previous volumes in the New 52.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 17th 2015 by DC Comics

Gotham Academy (1)

OMG! Totally outrageously awesome! Here we have a creepy boarding school for teens who apparently aren't just your average kids, though we only learn about a few of them in this first volume. Basically, a mystery this story kept me on my toes and I didn't have a clue where it was going. Each little twist was such a surprise until the ending which absolutely delighted me! Where this story takes place within the DC universe I couldn't really say, except it doesn't appear to be in-line with the current run. Most of the characters are new to this volume, and a great set they are!, with the exception of Brue Wayne, and Batman. A couple of familiar faces comprise some of the shockers making this a ton of fun and the ending really makes one anxious for volume two. For all intents and purposes, an all-ages series, though most suitable for I'd recommend ages ten and up. Great new series!

Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars by Tony S. Daniel

Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars by Tony S. Daniel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by DC Comics

Deathstroke (1)

I'm a newbie coming into this volume, being unfamiliar with Deathstroke and the Suicide Squad. This volume takes place after "The New Suicide Squad Vol. 1" as an asterisk refers to events in that volume as taking place in the recent past. I've wanted to get in on these guys and this was an exciting volume with lots of stuff happening but a little confusing for a newbie like me because the story is based on revenge and consequences from past events. It's totally cool that Slade's whole family is involved here though and when the action moves from Russia to Gotham some familiar faces show up taking me into more well-known territory. The action is violent and bloody in this volume and not for those with an aversion to decapitated heads. I really enjoyed it, though will need to do some more reading to become properly acquainted with the characters.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Last Man 2: The Royal Cup by Bastien Vivès


The Royal Cup
by Bastien Vivès
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by First Second

The Last Man (2)

Loving this series! A French author writing a quasi-manga series. It has all the action and plot of a shounen manga but much more character depth and that certain "quelque chose" I love about French comics. This volume brings us to the battle competition and its completion. Intrigue abounds though, especially with the identity of our mystery man. We are given a few hints, though nothing to hang our hat on and by the end of the book we find a cliffhanger ending that shows another character he either knows about or may be from the same origins. I adore these characters and can't wait for the next volume. Kudos to First Second for picking up this popular French comic and bringing it to us in English!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Eureka Seven: Psalms of Planets Volume 1 by Jinsei Kataoka

Eureka Seven: Psalms of Planets Volume 1 by Jinsei Kataoka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, ebook, 184 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by VIZ Media: VIZ Select
first published January 1st 2006 by Banzai

Eureka Seven (1)

I couldn't get into this. The dialogue was immature while at the same time having a Neon Genesis Evangelion vibe to it. Except the fighting robots surfed airwaves. The story picked up near the end and I'd give the next volume a try but not at this point.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by VIZ Media

Tokyo Ghoul (Vol. 1)

Oh man! An amazing start to a series. This paranormal/horror manga features human-eating ghouls! The main character, a college student, gets infected by an organ transplant and becomes the first human/ghoul half-breed. He's taking on the special qualities of the female ghoul whose kidney he received. Ghouls are normal occurrences in this society and thought of as ravenous monsters and Ken Kaneki refuses to give in to the hunger and eat. The other ghouls don't like him either because of the general human opinion of their kind. But Kaneki's hunger will eventually drive him crazy and this volume takes him up to that point, where a friendly ghoul, kind of a housemaster for the local population talks reason to him. We meet a handful of characters and get to know them enough to form opinions. I love them and can't wait to learn everyone's back stories! I've got future volumes on pre-order already! For a horror story with college-age characters though the book isn't overly violent or mature, in the least. The T+ rating is overly generous at this point; some volumes of Bleach are more violent.

Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito

Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by VIZ Media

In the author's note, he states that the first story in this collection was his first return to horror after an 8-year hiatus and he feels it is a weak entry for him. I'm presuming the stories are published in order of publication as they gradually become better with the best stories being the ones toward the end. Even if all the stories aren't fantastic Ito is an awesome horror illustrator and he certainly knows how to give you the creeps with his detailed freaky illustrations. There were only a couple I thought were sub par storywise. The rest were truly eerie tales that left me feeling slightly disturbed afterward. My favourite story though wasn't really horror but more of a ghost story called "Gentle Goodbye" which is probably the longest story in the book and is placed in the middle of the book. It was very atmospheric and quite touching. A good book to dip into a bit at a time to fully appreciate the stories and disturbing illustrations.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunny, Vol. 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto

Sunny, Vol. 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by VIZ Media

Sunny (Vol. 4)

It's been a while since I read the last volume to this series, but I fell right into place as soon as I started this 4th volume. This is the most literary manga I've ever read and I find the story so painfully poignant. This volume has each chapter centre on a child who has to deal with the reality that their parent is a failure and either not coming back for them or if they do, it will never be permanent. These are all sad stories with one being particularly heart-breaking, but the children themselves are resilient, wise and retain their humour as children are often wont to do. Truly a lovely touching series.

Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv by Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem

Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv by Jack Baxter and  Joshua Faudem
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by First Second

A true story based on the authors' experience in Israel, 2003. It centres around two men who are making a documentary about Mike's Place, a bar where all people, of any religion or politics, are welcome, but the same are always left outside the door as Mike's is a place where people let it hang loose and be themselves, getting along with each other as fellow people. Just by looking at the cover of the book the reader knows something horrific is going to happen and most of the book leads up to this point so the reader has an impending sense of doom waiting for that to happen. Writing about the Middle East is a difficult topic to cover seeing most people are heavily one side or the other with current events. The authors have managed to show us though how Arabs and Jews living on the same street, sitting in the same bar, can and do get together, talk, are friends, and have lives where they don't think about politics and religion all the live long day. "Normal" life does exist in there behind it all. We are also shown the appreciation they have for the country itself. The beautiful weather, beaches and landscapes. A place where people should want to live. After the bombing there are poignant moments as everyone deals with what happened in their own way, but ultimately for the greater good.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Archer & Armstrong, Vol 1: The Michelangelo Code by Fred Van Lente

Archer & Armstrong, Vol 1: The Michelangelo Code by Fred Van Lente
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Valiant Entertainment

Archer & Armstrong (1)

I've wanted to read Archer & Armstrong for some time now. I'm not sure what I was expecting but certainly not this! Eccentric, satirical, funny, odd and quirky yet lovable main characters. The book pretty much makes fun of every comic book trope ever invented plus takes swipes at pop culture, politics, religion and everything else, in a light-hearted but bitingly funny way. Meanwhile, there is an excellent plot playing out while our heroes join up for the first time. These are guys designed not to be liked: a naive, cult-raised assassin and a muscular laissez-faire immortal, but somehow they pulled my strings and I like them both. I'd definitely pick up the next volume.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Love Story!!, Vol. 3 by Kazune Kawahara

My Love Story!!, Vol. 3 by Kazune Kawahara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by VIZ Media: Shojo Beat

My Love Story!! (Vol. 3)


OMG! Soooo adorable. Takeo and Yamato learn to deal with their heart-thumping feelings for each other, especially with physical contact. These two are so naturally innocent it is such a pleasure to see their budding romance as they discover the pure joys of love. We can see that Yamato while more pure in the ways of the world, is also more bold in being open about them. I adore these two and would say they are my absolute favourite manga couple at this time! Now I'm up-to-date with this series and ready for volume 5 coming out soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Golemchik by Will Exley

Golemchik by Will Exley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 24 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Nobrow Press

This is a tough one to talk about. I liked the art. A lot. It's got a stylistic look of graphic design and feels haunted. The story is obvious, but I don't really *get* the point. Except for the loneliness. The boy's loneliness of a summer without his friends and the golem's loneliness of being too big and reckless to make a real friend. Sad really.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Seven Deadly Sins 8 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 8: Giant Steps by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

The Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 8)

Another excellent, exciting, funny entry for this manga. As usual a new Sin has joined the group and we get to know him a bit more; he's a bit strange and certainly different from the others at this point. Now a total of five Sins are gathered. The plot has gone up a notch as we learn some creepy horrors from the Holy Knights' past and it is revealed the ultimate plan of the evil Chief Holy Knight Hendrickson. The book ends with a cliffhanger as a new plot development occurs also hinting at the arrival of the next deadly sin. I love all the characters in this series, and there are a lot! It is such a fun fantasy quest/good vs evil series, I always look forward to the new issue and have been delighted with each volume.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Batwing (New 52) Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom by Judd Winick.

Batwing (New 52) Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom by Judd Winick. Illustrated byBen Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by DC Comic

New 52: Batwing (1)

Batwing is another BatFamily member I'm unfamiliar with, having only met him in passing through the, I think, "Death of a Family" arc. Apparently, Batwing is a relatively new character being invented just prior to the New 52 reboot. I found the character intriguing. While this volume's plot is only mediocre: lots of warlords and guerrilla warfare without any 'real' supervillains I did like the look back at a special African superhero team who is now being targeted for death by the mysterious masked Massacre. This is a violent book, lots of severed limbs and heads, but it is realistic and shows the nature of the warlords. A quick read for me, not terribly exciting but , as I said, very intriguing; the end has Batwing headed towards Gotham City with a couple of familiar Batfamily members awaiting his arrival. I'll certainly read the next volume to see where this character and plot go.