Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Arkham Manor, Vol. 1 by Gerry Duggan

Arkham Manor, Vol. 1 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by DC Comics
Source: Edelweiss egalley

Batman

An entertaining read but nothing special. There are way too many quick cameos by the villains but I did enjoy the group therapy sessions. Mr. Freeze had to be my favourite part of this trade. The serial killer story was pretty freaky and gross but it did end with a lot of loose ends that weren't wrapped up. I did not like the artist's rendition of Batman at all, he was downright ugly! One thing I did like though is the new identity for Batman. Like his "Matches Malone" disguise when he goes undercover with the criminal gangster element he now has a "Jack Shaw" identity he can go undercover with the criminally insane element and it will be interesting to see if anyone ever uses it again.

O.M.A.C. (New 52) Vol. 1: Omactivate! by Dan DiDio

O.M.A.C. (New 52) Vol. 1: Omactivate! by Dan DiDio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Kindle Store

New 52

I loved this! Taking place at the same time as the second story in Frankenstein Vol. 1, these are the same events from OMAC's point of view and the continuing story involving Checkmate. I like Kevin Kho and his OMAC alter ego. This whole book basically covers his origin story and the time he's being controlled by Brother Eye. Both Checkmate and Cadmus are interesting organizations, which I'd like to see more of. There are some interesting battles and villains OMAC goes up against, including a guest appearance by both Frankenstein and later Superman. OMAC is an anti-hero to begin with but Kevin begins to regain a small amount of his own thoughts while under control and the ending brings him into his own right as a superhero and this is, unfortunately, where this series was cancelled. But not to worry, as he pops up here and there in the 52 universe again from this point on.

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Men of War (New 52) Vol. 1: Uneasy Company by Ivan Brandon

Men of War (New 52) Vol. 1: Uneasy Company by Ivan Brandon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Library

New 52

This is a bit weird, but I liked it. I was expecting war stories and got that but mixed in with meta-humans and supervillains. Joe rock is the grandson of the famous "Sgt. Rock" and he is the lead on a special force which gets sent out basically on black ops nobody else knows about. These end up having some kind of weird villain involved. The book is comprised of a couple of arcs which are completely unrelated to the DC universe and they were quite good once I got the feel for it. Especially the last one, which hints that this state of affairs has been going on even since "Sgt. Rock's" days and leaves us with a lot of intriguing questions, but then the series was canceled ... The book then ends with a bunch of random one-off's which have no connection to anything except they are war related to some point. Some were good, especially Matt Kindt's knife fight story. There was even a Frankenstein of S.H.A.D.E. WWII story by Jeff Lemire but none of the others had any characters connected to anything, simply short stories. A good read if you like war stuff but totally unnecessary to read within the New 52 continuity.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Vol. 1: War of the Monsters by Jeff Lemire

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (New 52) Vol. 1: War of the Monsters by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by DC Comics

New 52
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (1)

So-so. It could have been better than it was. I've met all the major characters before in my New 52 reading but am not really familiar with any of them except Ray Palmer. I like Jeff Lemire as an author, but the writing is actually pretty dumb for the first story which takes up most of this book. Towards the end of that arc I started to get into the S.H.A.D.E. team and then the plot and writing was much better for the second arc. Has a lot of little tie-ins and references to the whole DC 52 universe that made it fun. The ending is a cliffhanger that makes you want to read some more and I've got the next one so will continue on.

Friday, July 24, 2015

One-Punch Man, Vol. 2 by ONE

One-Punch Man, Vol. 2 by ONE
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by VIZ Media
first published 2012
Source: Edelweiss egalley

One-Punch Man (1)

Oh, this is even better than the first one! So silly and yet it follows your standard shonen plot. Bad guy/battle then repeat. But the dialogue is hilarious and I find One-Shot adorable. This isn't cutesy, though, it's pretty violent. One-punch had to fight a bunch of bald guys who totally pissed him off for taking his look (they did deserve it, they were really bad guys) and I'm anxious to see if Genos will lose his hair too after all the training. LOL. Can't wait for next book!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 by ONE

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 by ONE
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Expected paperback publication: September 1st 2015 by VIZ Media
first published 2009

One-Punch Man (1)

I love One-Punch!!! I've read chapters of it here and there in Weekly Shonen Jump and have really wanted to get in on the manga from the beginning. What is there not to love about One-Punch? I think he's so adorable. This is probably first and foremost satire of the shonen genre, but it's done so well it's a great one harkening back to the days of the greats. It's got comedy, action, battles and more battles. We get Saitama's backstory and a wide range of emotions along with his adoring sidekick. Seeds have been sown for the greater story arc. This is good, plain, battle-action fun with its tongue firmly set in the cheek.

Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Graphic Novel by Carl Bowen

Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Graphic Novel by Carl Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover
Published July 1st 2014 by Capstone Press

Graphic Revolve

Very well done graphic novel adaptation for young people. Indeed an enjoyable read! As someone quite familiar with the original I found this a good representation of the story. Of course, the themes were not covered to any depth but all the main plot points were covered and we come away from it feeling the wonder of the ocean world and a certain sadness for Captain Nemo himself. The illustration is excellent and this will make a perfect introduction to the novel as well as a must for the school library.

New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan

Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 21st 2015 by DC Comics

New Suicide Squad (Vol. 1)



I like team-ups, but I'm fairly new to Suicide Squad; I've only read the first volume of the New 52 series. However, I know most of these characters, at least a bit. The stories were good enough pleasant reading. Over the volume, the team changes so two different teams go on two missions first to Russia and then to China. In the first mission, there is no bad guy except Russia itself (I hate that). In the second the Chinese are mass-manufacturing an as yet untested genetically modified superhero. All the half-finished clones and one final model are the bad guy(s) in the second mission. That was my favourite. But mostly I just found the stories didn't click that well. Characters appeared and disappeared with no real explanation. Some were made up for this issue and the Chinese villain wasn't even ever named!. Maybe I missed something somewhere about Man-Bat recently but he got bad treatment that didn't make sense to me and after enjoying reading "Reverse Flash", him showing up here was fun until he also got the shoddy treatment. Anyway, not the greatest, but not the worst. Harley is fun and she's used as a major character throughout. Will read the next volume but do hope they get some cohesiveness together here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nancy Drew Diaries #5: Ghost in the Machinery & Disoriented Express by Stefan Petrucha

Nancy Drew Diaries #5: Ghost in the Machinery & Disoriented Express by Stefan Petrucha
(Orig. Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #9: Ghost in the Machinery; Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #10: The Disoriented Express)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Papercutz
originally published 2006

Nancy Drew Diaries (Graphic Novel #5)
Nancy Drew, Girl Detective (#9-10)


This is the first Nancy Drew graphic I've read from Papercutz and it was absolutely fantastic! I grew up reading the old yellow spine Nancy Drew Mysteries and this brought back all the nostalgic feelings while at the same time being completely modern. Nancy and her best friends get involved in two cases which are related with Ned coming along for the second one. What rip-roaring, exciting, over-the-top, wild adventurous cases they are! Full of danger, Nancy gets bumped around but never too bad, she performs death-defying acts of bravery to save the day, with Bess always ready to have her back and George, the girl who can fix anything or hack any computer, by her side. These mysteries bring Nancy into the 21st century and are not for the feint of heart. LOL! The art is great too. It's got a manga/sailor moon/Studio Ghibli quality to it, especially similar is in how Nancy herself is drawn, her facial features and the movement of her hair, as well as the background scenes. Loved everything about it! The mysteries themselves are simply wild and fun. Nancy fans... Enjoy!

Flight to Freedom!: Nickolas Flux and the Underground Railroad by Mari Bolte

Flight to Freedom!: Nickolas Flux and the Underground Railroad by Mari Bolte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover
Published July 1st 2014 by Capstone Press

Graphic Library: Nickolas Flux History Chronicles

This time Nickolas finds himself in the woods with a slave on the run going past him and he joins hm on the journey North to freedom. This volume has fact "files" at the bottom of every spread which I enjoyed much more than the volume that didn't. It's also quite an action-packed story with lots of information along the way. A decent primer on the Underground Railroad, in general, presented in a graphic novel format.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rosary Comic Book: Includes the Luminous Mysteries by Gene Luen Yang

Rosary Comic Book: Includes the Luminous Mysteries by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 56 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Pauline Books & Media

A lovely little book to help pray the Rosary or just to read as a comic. I've wanted to get this ever since I noticed the Catholic themes in Yang's work and discovered his strong faith and the existence of this little book. It was hard to get when I first found out about it but can be bought online now. Written for youths but can be used/read by anyone, it starts with a short essay on what the Rosary is, then a diagram of the Rosary with notes on where to say each prayer followed by two pages with the words to each prayer. Then each mystery is fully illustrated in comic format in Yang's wonderful style using a unique format which one can use to pray the rosary without beads.. A large rectangle comic frame denotes the Our Father, followed by 10 square panels for the Hail Marys and finishes with a Rose for the Glory Be/Oh My Jesus. Each mystery has a colour-coded sidebar making flipping to the one you want easy enough. The stories are told beautifully and some of the more poignant scenes are simply told without speech bubbles making them even more significant whilst praying. An excellent book, I'm so glad to add to my Rosary resources. One small criticism is the book fails to mention which days you should say each mystery, something you'll have to look up on your own and add a note to the book, if you plan on using it for prayer purposes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Divine by Asaf Hanuka

The Divine by Asaf Hanuka
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by First Second

This is really out there and I found the characters too extreme to be able to even take them as believable. We have the macho, heartless, gungho mercenary soldier vs. the kid from the Exorcist. Then trying to stop everybody from killing each other is Mr. Goody-Two Shoes. I hated every character and thought the plot entirely silly. Not my thing. As to the art, no complaints but it didn't wow me either.

Gunshow Vol. 4: Rad Tats by K.C. Green

Gunshow Vol. 4: Rad Tats by K.C. Green
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 126 pg
2011, Published by TopatoCo

Gunshow (Vol. 4)

I had no idea what this was about when I started and boy, is it weird! Only, I found myself strangely drawn to it and had to keep reading. It's a series of webcomics that have a few different stories that appear unrelated but come full circle by the end. It was pretty cool how that happened actually. My favourite part was the beginning and end with the skulls though. The humour is way and I mean waaay) out there so not for everyone. All I can say is I liked in a strange sort of way. All his stuff is available online in webcomics.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1 by Peter J. Tomasi

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1 by Peter J. Tomasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by DC Comics

Batman: Arkham

Excellent start to a new comic based on the video game series Arkham City. This is a prequel comic series set prior to the new video game "Arkham Knight". I don't play video games, but every time I read a comic set in Arkham City I certainly get the urge to but not knowing the game doesn't hinder the reading of the book at all. Tomasi has used brilliant storytelling to set the atmosphere and bring the reader into this unique alternate Batman universe. I really enjoyed this and the art and colours were quality and consistent throughout. I always love a book packed full of villains and this one was a delight with such super "baddies" as Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, the Penguin, the Scarecrow and many others. A fun book where the emphasis is on the Gothamite Crazies.

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure: A TOON Graphic by Nadja Spiegelman

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure: A TOON Graphic by Nadja Spiegelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 52 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by TOON Graphics

TOON Books

Sprawling cityscapes drawn from intriguing angles fill the pages of this delightful tour of New York's Subways. A class field trip to the Empire State Building brings about a teacher's discourse on the history and running of the subway system while a new student who moves frequently because of his father's job adds some drama to the story. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and just filled with people not unlike a "Where's Waldo" giving the essence of busy New York population. Finally, the book ends with real historical and current, captioned photos of New York's subway as it was in the past and is it is now under construction.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Your Lie in April Volume 2 by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April 2 by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by Kodansha Comics
first published Japan 2012

Your Lie in April (#2)

Such a beautiful story! The characters are really intense and the concentration on the young musical prodigies is a unique topic for me to come across in a shojo manga. So far it has been comical along with the serious theme but this volume hints at a possible sobering of the tone in the near future. As far as relationships go the three friends remain close even though rivalry of feelings for the same person(s) is coming into play. Really looking forward to the next volume.

Friday, July 10, 2015

UQ Holder 5 by Ken Akamatsu

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

Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

UQ Holder (#5)

Loved it! First chapter starts right off with an awesome battle then things switch gears for the rest of the book. The UQ Holders actually go on assignment! Undercover as high school students they are looking for an immortal who has returned after an 8-year absence and is murdering students in very strange ways. Only two have been killed so far this time. Can the gang find out who the intruder is before the number reaches dozens again? Very exciting! Plus shocking new elements to the overall arc are revealed as well! I'm glad I stuck with this series past the first few volumes which didn't impress me that much!

Sunny, Vol. 5 by Taiyo Matsumoto

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

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by VIZ Media

Sunny (#5)

Oh. wow. Exceptional! I was choked up holding back the tears. The best volume in the series so far! Each chapter still focuses on one child and is episodic, yet like the other volumes there is a theme. This time we see the real suffering and desperation these foster kids from dysfunctional families are going through. The book starts off pretty sad and continues in that vein almost bringing me to tears then comes a story where it's the child who has the strength in her unique situation and for the final story something a little different as everyone gathers together while a typhoon rolls in. Exceptional writing and excellent illustration make this the most literary manga I've ever read. Highly recommended!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 1: Onmyoji by Yoshiaki Sukeno

Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 1: Onmyoji by Yoshiaki Sukeno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by VIZ Media

Twin Star Exorcists (Vol. 1)

A great, fun first volume introduces this series about exorcists of demon-like creatures called kegare. Kegare are more evil as they are born from the sins of humans. This makes the story a bit more interesting than your typical exorcist manga. All the usual aspects are here, and this will please the exorcist fans, but there are some twists. First, it's got a huge dose of humour making lots of laughs help lighten the more serious tones and the main characters, a 14yo boy and girl, are told they are prophecied to marry and give birth to the foretold prophesied child. Talk about no pressure in a relationship that is off to a very rocky start from the beginning! I really enjoyed this and towards the end we get our first glimpse at what appears to be a major evil character.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Love Story!!, Vol. 5 by Kazune Kawahara

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

Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by VIZ Media: Shojo Beat

My Love Story!! (Vol. 5)

Oh sigh, sigh, sigh! This is sooooo sweet! Takeo and Yamato's relationship goes on to the next level and it is all so innocently beautiful. I just love these two winsome teenagers! I do really wish the direction it is headed with Suna wasn't happening, but I suppose there has to be some conflict at some point. I'm just so taken with the charm of this story which is so absolutely not the type of thing I usually go for. Highly recommended for shoujo fans and newbies. This one avoids all the usual tropes.

Eden Volume 1 by Bash

Eden Volume 1 by Bash
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 1, 208 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Gen Manga

Eden (Vol. 1)

This kept me reading, I'll give it that. It's pretty confusing and all over the place though. With a title like Eden, and yes it is *that* Eden, you can imagine some Christian imagery like a lot of Japanese manga but this is just seeped in it. The author totally changes (perverts?) the Biblical story to form the basis for his plot including angels (who are demons), a saviour who descends to Hell and wicked sinful humans. I'm not saying this is a bad thing or not but transitions are awkward, people/creatures/places appear with no explanation and confusion abounds. I quite liked the illustration; it's simple but pretty. There is a second volume and I am going to continue on with it and see if it all comes together.

Justice, Inc. by Michael Uslan; illustrated by Giovanni Timpano

Justice, Inc. by Michael Uslan; illustrated by Giovanni Timpano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 168 pages
Published May 2015 by Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite's Masked Men

I love Dynamite's pulp comics, especially their "masked men" series and I really enjoyed this team-up. The Shadow is the only hero of the three (the others being The Avenger & Doc Savage) that I'm familiar with, having read quite a few of his books. He came across much darker than I'm used to in this book, there is a lot of killing, but quite a bit of back story was given especially on why he uses the alias Lamont Cranston. The Avenger is fully realised for the newbie as well with a complete background story and this is, in essence, his book; he's the one who shines and he is the one the sequel will feature as he puts together a new team. Apparently, his backstory has been re-imagined here from his original one but it's a satisfying one. I didn't get a really good feel for Doc, but Dynamite has a whole series for him which I haven't read. The story was quite intense and very WWII and Nazi centred with time travel being the main theme and the core of what the villain, Voodoo Master, wants to control. A good read and great entry in Dynamite's set of pulp hero team-ups.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Animal Man (New 52) Vol. 1: The Hunt by Jeff Lemire

Animal Man (New 52) Vol. 1: The Hunt by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by DC Comics

New 52
Animal Man: The New 52 (Vol. 1)

I am a complete noob when it comes to Animal Man, never having come across him or knowing anything about him. This is my first introduction to him and this book seems to be taking place parallel to Swamp Thing Vol. 1 which I just reviewed the other day. Holland doesn't appear in this but he is mentioned and an imminent meeting between the two is mentioned. This volume jumps in with where Buddy Baker is with his life now so it took me some time to get the lay of what was going on with him and his family. The plot concerns The Red being invaded by The Rot, having already read Swamp Thing I understood the plot but here in Animal Man the whole premise of The Red, The Rot, and ever so slightly, The Green, is explained in full detail. These two books definitely need to be read together to get the whole story. One without the other is only half a tale. I like Buddy, but his wife is completely annoying. The art is totally whacked out. It's pretty gross with everyone's guts on the outside and veins and bloodstreams and things representative of life chains roaming around, nothing is perfectly clear, but it suits the theme of the book and pairs well with the psychedelic "green" life art in Swamp Thing. I'm certainly continuing with both these series which are totally unrelated to the DC Universe at this point but pretty cool horror-type stories.

Noragami: Stray God 5 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God 5 by Adachitoka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by Kodansha Comics
first published in Japan, 2012

Noragami: Stray God (Vol. 5)

This manga continues to deliver! The evil behind Bishamon is at work and the ultimate showdown between her and Yato draws near. We learn the story behind the hatred she has for him and where loyalties lie. Great plotting and exciting coming this far in the story but 'waaaaa' the ending! OMG, so totally devastating if what appears to happen really happens. Waaaaa! Need. next. volume!