Sunday, August 30, 2015

Millennium by Joe Harris

Millennium by Joe Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 120 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by IDW Publishing

X-Files (crossover)

I was so excited to read this when I saw it as "Millennium" used to be one of my favourite shows and it totally lived up to my expectations. Agent Fox Mulder is along for the ride as Frank Black is contacted by the Millennium Group once again. We may have survived the millennium but the evil forces are still out there and now that Jordan is all grown-up so are her powers. I loved every minute of this. The story is great and leaves room for more to come plotwise. The art was pretty good; everybody looked like I'd expect them too and familiar faces popped up, even a certain trio Mulder contacts for a little hacking help! Millennium fans and die-hard X-Files fans will love it!

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott Tipton

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott Tipton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 120 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by IDW Publishing

Star Trek: TOS

Totally believable crossover between these two universes that hit its mark. A lot of fun as the original Star trek team enters a portal to an alternate universe and finds themselves on the Planet of the Apes where a Klingon is arming the Gorillas for his own nefarious reasons. Great story with all the characters from each side you could possibly hope for and good art with everyone looking just like you'd expect them too. They can re-invent Star Trek as many times as they want but give me the original cast of the original Star Trek, anytime!! Loved it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Your Lie in April Vol. 3 by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April 3 by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Kodansha Comics

Your Lie in April (3)

Very intense and emotionally exhausting! This volume concentrates on Arima's non-stop practicing for his upcoming competition. Kaori is very demanding of him but also highly encouraging; their relationship has become very close and tight. We get a lot of flashbacks also bringing more background and insight into Arima and hs friend's personalities. There are many fun, light-hearted moments, but I'm mostly finding this story's themes to be quite powerful.

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola. Illustrated by Emily Carroll

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola. Illustrated by Emily Carroll 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Candlewick Press

A modern day Baba Yaga story that has a girl raised on the folklore using her knowledge to help her pass the witch's tests. Thus, we get many Baba Yaga legends all rolled into the one story. A fun, simple story with just a hint of spookiness suitable for middle graders. The young naughty step-sister turns out to be more disturbing that Baba Yaga herself. I enjoyed the illustrations and the atmosphere, finding myself immersed in an evocative quick read.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blazing Comics #1-#5: The Green Turtle (1944-1945

Source: Free download at Digital Comics Museum


Blazing Comics #1 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published June 1944

The introduction of the Green Turtle. A Chinese Legend who appears on the scene to help Chinese civilians who are about to be killed by Japanese soldiers looking for gold being sent to Chunking. Very pro-China obviously, I enjoyed it and from an historical pov I don't find it racist for its time at all. GT is very mysterious, we never get to see his front and his skin is purplish so no idea as to his race or if he's even human at this point.







Blazing Comics #2 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published July 1944

This is a China invaded by the Japanese and I'm quite amazed by the accuracy of the viciousness being shown of terror and killing the Japanese wrought upon the Chinese during this time. A Japanese major captures a man who was sending secret messages about Japanese hideouts and "brutally" kills his wife and baby. Green Turtle and Burma Boy go on the offensive and save the day before any more innocent lives are lost. Burma Boy is likable because of his eagerness but also because he is always spouting applicable Confusiousisms.






Blazing Comics #3 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published September 1944

The classic twins scenario. The "Japs" are onto Green Turtle by this point and in this issue set a trap for him causing everyone to think he has turned traitor by using a decoy Japanese disguised as the GT. In the end, we end up having not two but three Green Turtles when Burma Boy goes to his rescue in the GT's spare Turtle Rocket.









Blazing Comics #4 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published February 1945

The Americans are on the scene! but surprisingly are not the heroes. An American unit is meeting with a Chinese group at an Inn but the Japanese get wind of it and arrive first. They kill all the Chinese, dress up in their uniforms and as house boys to trick the Americans. The bodies are all put in the basement; one man is not dead and sends a cryptic message to Green Turtle. GT arrives, finds the bodies, saves the Americans, saves the day, and possibly "the course of history". This is the first to go a little overboard on race issues, expecting that the "japs" could just dress-up like Chinese and the Americans wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Otherwise, so far the books have been very sensitive to the Chinese, presenting them as smart, heroic, allies *very* different from the Japanese.

Also, in this issue we see Green Turtle from side-views and front views in the distance and it is now noticed that he is wearing a full-face mask. Everyone is assuming he is ethnically Chinese though no mention of his true identity or origin has ever been mentioned.





Blazing Comics #5 by Chu Hing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

10 pages
Published March 1945


The first thing that must be mentioned is that the cover of this issue does not reflect the contents. A mistake or a war-time use of saving paper?? A town is being attacked by the Japanese and one man runs to tell Green Turtle but as GT and his brigade get there the town has already been taken. They see a man being tortured, rescue him, and find the town has been drugged to cause them to submit. GT reverses the effects with plain old water. This one is a little silly. Artwise, we don't have the big goofy shadow in this issue but lots of Green Turtle's full face mask and the villain, General Suki, is drawn as a very racist big-eared buck-toothed "Jap" but that's expected seeing as he's a member of the real-life enemy. Plotwise, Green Turtle's identity is questioned twice. And so ends the series. Perhaps because VE day came only 2 months after this issue was published, however we would have five more months before VJ day was celebrated.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 2 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 2 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by VIZ Media LLC
Source: Edelweiss Egalley + Purchased paperback

Tokyo Ghoul (2)

Ken continues to live with the ghouls learning how to handle his new life. This volume mostly deals with character, especially Ken and Touka. The plot is advanced as this group of ghouls now is protecting a mother and daughter whom the ghoul investigators are hunting. One of these dudes is so creepy looking it's hard to believe he's human himself! I'm loving this story. It's all pretty intense and a bit disturbing. The ending shock is rather macabre making me wonder where the story will be going in the next volume. Can't wait!

Noragami: Stray God Volume 6 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God 6 by Adachitoka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
Source: ARC from Random House Canada

Series: Noragami (5)

A wonderful volume which brings the entire current arc to a close. Lots of vicious battling and all the truths finally come out. I really didn't expect things to play out the way they did and I'm feeling all sad for one particular reason. This overshadows, for me, the happiness over how things wrapped up for the others. But I'm left wondering if we haven't seen the end of certain characters yet :-) Anyway, the volume ends with the beginning of a new school year starting and what looks like a fresh story to start in the next volume. Can't wait for the next book!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Sterling Gates

Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Sterling Gates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Inter-Library Loan

New 52

I loved this one! I'm a big fan of Dove and this volume featured my favourite hero, Deadman. Most of the book concerns one story arc where Hawk and Dove battle against Condor and Swan but this is also the love story of Dove and Deadman. I've only briefly had their relationship mentioned in a couple of other books and am so glad to have finally read their story! If you are into Justice League Dark's characters and want more Deadman this volume is a must read. But back to Dove and Hawk ... they are a great team too; I usually enjoy most of the bird heroes and Sterling Gates writes some really fun dialogue for this duo who do not even really like each other until the main story arc finishes. There is nothing serious about the stories here and after the Condor arc the book finishes with a few one or two-offs including a really amusing one in which this duo meet up and exchange quips with the "dynamic duo". This volume collects the complete series and it ends with the two jumping off to fight more crime together with a much more sound relationship.

The Creeps: Book 1: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer

The Creeps: Book 1: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Amulet Books
Source: Netgalley egalley

The Creeps (1)

An ok science mystery with a group of nerdy kids everybody calls the "Creeps". Each has a special interest or talent, but their looks don't seem to be any creepier than any of the other characters. Deals with a lot of general science topics as well as the more far-fetched plot of frankenstein-frogs. Occasionally goes into science teacher mode which felt like a forced time-out for an education lesson, but overall a decent combination of the bizarre and real science using the graphic novel format. Has a place in the school or classroom library.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Punky Brewster Vol. 1 by Joelle Sellner

Punky Brewster Vol. 1 by Joelle Sellner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 2015 by Lion Forge Comics / IDW Publishing
Source: Publisher

My sister is the "Punky" fan and as a kid I was forced to watch "her" shows to get my turn, so I wasn't exactly sure what my opinion of this graphic novel would be. Surprise of all surprises I was completely smitten! What an adorable sweet story of an abandoned girl who is full of escapades. Having grown up on the streets, she is an escape artist and *very* creative but also an honest, smart, old soul. This volume starts with Punky as a street kid helping another street person, a grown-up, rip-off a store and then tells the story of how Punky moved from street kid to foster kid, to finally, being awarded to Henry as foster parent. It's a long hard process full of ups and downs and lots of sweet and comic moments. I absolutely adored it. A couple of things to mention, this being taken from an '80s show, the whole foster home/ adoption process is pretty much fairytale unrealistic though it does hit on the topic that the system does not listen to what the children want. So don't expect realistc from this aspect of it, think more like ... quaint. The story has been moved to modern times, there is email, DVR's and digital cameras, etc. Finally, in the show Henry is an old man (grey hair, cardigan) but I like how his character has been modernized in the book; he's talked of being too old to take care of Punky but he's only 50 and drawn as a sophisticated man wearing jeans and a variety of jackets, shirt, sweaters, etc. He is actually related to Punky in the comic in a round about way and I don't believe they were related at all in the show. Anyway, absolutely adorable story. Loved every minute of it!

Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 6th 2015 by Image Comics
Source: netgalley ebook

Rat Queens (2)

This didn't live up to my expectations of the first book, which was much better, much more fun. Here we have lots of humour, snide remarks, one-liners and a fun female warrior fantasy quest like volume one. However, nothing really unique about the plot which I got bored with and had to make myself finish. Along with lots of violence, sex jokes and dirty words which don't bother me per se, but it felt forced and lowered the quality to locker-room humour. I mean, how many times can you say the word "cock"?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teen Titans Vol. 1: Blinded by the Light by Will Pfeifer

Teen Titans Vol. 1: Blinded by the Light by Will Pfeifer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by DC Comics

Teen Titans

I hated this. It's everything I've always not liked about the Teen Titans and I do not like this group. Beast Boy shape shifts practically every frame which annoyed the heck out of me. I could go on with everything that irritated me, but I can't be bothered; what I've read of the New 52 series was/is better. 1 raspberry. Blpppppp!

First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson by Simon Schwartz

First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson by Simon Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 164 pages
Aug 2015, Published by Graphic Universe
Source: netgalley

A fictionalized biography of African-American Matthew Henson considered to be the first person to set foot at the North Pole even besting Perry, his Commander. While being a story of Arctic Exploration and of a forgotten black hero it is also a tale of the Inuit. Matthew Henson became a legend to the Inuit people of the area and they have art and stories depicting him. A fascinating piece of little-known history illustrated with exceptional art in shades of blues and browns. Especially delightful is the Inuit style pictures. The book also takes a hard look at the prejudice ingrained into the life of an average black man from Northern US during this era in history. Eye-opening on many levels. Lovely piece of work.

Zatch Bell!, Volume 19 & 20 by Makoto Raiku

Zatch Bell!, Volume 19 by Makoto Raiku
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 187 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by VIZ Media
Source: Library

Zatch Bell (19)

Two pieces of action for this volume, first Ponygon and Sunbeam are up against another horse-like mamodo which is pretty intense. Then Dr. Riddles arrives with no answers but more speculation on what the mystery building might be. A tiny hint is dropped here which nobody picks up on but it did set my mind rolling and I've got an idea, so we shall see! Finally the last half of the book is a sweet story of Zatch receiving a letter from a dear old friend (whom he, of course, does not remember) who has decided he wants his book burned; it being the best course of action for the sake of his owner. This turns out to be such a lovely story of empowerment and a great battle at the same time. So glad I'm back to reading this series!




Zatch Bell!, Volume 20 by Makoto Raiku
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 175 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by VIZ Media
Source: Library

Zatch Bell (20)

Just loving this volume. A couple new mamodos on both sides. Lots of battles. Our guys have arrived at the structure where the showdown is going to take place with the current baddie wanting to take down both the human and mamodo world. On the emotional side, Kiyo has no idea he keeps breaking Suzy's heart and she even tried to show him, so sweet. The ending makes us wonder if a major character is going to die! Great manga!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The October Faction Volume 1 by Steve Niles

The October Faction Volume 1 by Steve Niles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 152 pages
Published July 21st 2015 by IDW Publishing
Source: Publisher Egalley

October Faction (#1)


I love Steve Niles and this was completely awesome! I read it in one go, I just could not put it down! This is one weird family but very likeable sort of like the Addams Family but a much more hardcore group of people. The art is equally impressive, being dark and raw, totally atmospheric. I absolutely cannot wait to continue with this story. Outstanding!

Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens by Crystal S. Chan, Stacy King (Translator), Nokman Poon (Illustrator)

Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
by Crystal S. Chan, Stacy King (Translator), Nokman Poon (Illustrator)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Udon Entertainment
Source: Netgalley ebook

Manga Classics

Very true to the original adaptation of Dickens classic. I've read Great Expectations twice and often call it my favourite Dickens. I applaud Chan on her adaptation of the novel to manga. She includes notes at the back of the book explaining how she went about this, decisions she had to make regarding abridgment and how she choose her ending for a book that Dickens actually wrote two endings for!. All the major plot points are here along with the side stories, amazingly little has been dropped. Chan has managed to combine much storytelling within a single pane by engaging the artist. I really enjoyed the manga, it's a story I never tire of. The only big difference from the original is the physical depiction of Joe which is supposed to be ruddy, strong in body, uneducated and old (for these times that could be late 30s to 50s). However this is manga and we must have an attractive slim young adult male with long flowing hair, this is Joe. Speaking of the art I quite enjoyed it, though stylized in the manga form there is an authentic Victorian look to it. Well done and certainly a good choice for an introduction to the novel.

Zatch Bell!, Volume 18 by Makoto Raiku

Zatch Bell!, Volume 18 by Makoto Raiku
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by VIZ Media
Source: Local Library

Zatch Bell! (#18)

It's been almost a year since I read the last volume but things got in the way and this series got pushed to the bottom of the tbr. Fortunately, I had stopped at the end of a major arc and jumping back in at Vol. 18 was seamless. A quick "story thus far" refreshed my memory and then all these wonderful characters are back in my life again. Zatch and Kiyo pick up a couple of new Mamodo and their owners. The first engages in battle but ends up helping them out in their next battle with what appear an evil pairing. However, they come warning of two especially dangerous mamodo items now in the human world that must be destroyed, one of which is one of Zatch's spells. This spell which Zatch and Kiyo have just discovered its secret but why is this secret spell so dangerous! One of the things I love about this series is that while being your typical battle shonen manga it also has a serious emotional side. In this volume, Suzy faces the fact that Kiyo is close to another girl and she may never have a chance at being more than his friend. Well done and I'm back to remembering why I love this series. If it came out in 3-in-1 editions I'd certainly buy it!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Hero Academia, Vol. 01 by Kouhei Horikoshi

My Hero Academia, Vol. 01 by Kouhei Horikoshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: Edelweiss Egalley

My Hero Academia (#1)

Another superhero manga and this has been my favourite. The characters are high school age but the whole story is fun and like a slice of life story crossed with battle manga, though not much battling goes on in the first volume. Our main character does not have a "quirk" in this future society where 80% of the people are now born with "quirks" which is the new name for superpowers. He still wants to be a hero though and attend Hero University. When word gets out about a heroic deed he performed by saving a life without regard to his own, the hero All Might takes him on as a protege and what transpires for most of the book is a Karate Kid training mentorship between the two. The last chapters of the book have him starting school and meeting other hero teens. Lots of development on the main group of characters. This is more a comedy/humour manga and the school environment already seems to be giving off a Harry Potter vibe keeping me interested to see where the next volume will take the plot.

The Seven Deadly Sins, Volume 9 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins, Volume 9 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Random House Canada

The Seven Deadly Sins (9)

Whether this is the beginning of the Holy War or not, it certainly is the epic battle of the series to date. One big fight scene from start to finish and things do not look good for our guys. Poor Diane starts the book off with a beating and keeps getting pummeled all the way through. Not my favourite volume as it's low on humour and story, but, oh well. Bring on the next volume and let's get the story rolling again! The team still needs their seventh sin to join them.

Michael Midas Champion: Book One by Jordan B. Gorfinkel

Michael Midas Champion: Book One by Jordan B. Gorfinkel; illustrated by Scott Benefiel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by InkLit
Source: Publisher ebook


This is a real feel-good superhero comic suitable for middle grade and up; there are a few curse words. Champion has all the good qualities of a golden age superhero and faces all the realities of mixing a normal life with superhero duties including the moral dilemnas. I was really taken with Michael Midas and found his character entirely lovable, sort of a cross between Peter Parker and Clark Kent. His wife, Dani is a strong supporting character and his personal/family life made the story sweet. At the same time, Truck is an imaginative and unique supervillain. This volume spends time investing in the plot, building the tension and bringing it to a head leaving us with several questions waiting to be answered in the next volume. I loved the art too! Can't wait for Book Two!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Teen Titans Go! #6 & #8: Thunder and Lightning Strike! by J. Torres & Mad Mod Is in Vogue! by Adam Beechen

Teen Titans Go! Thunder and Lightning Strike! by J. Torres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 26 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Capstone Publishing
Source: Publisher

Teen Titans Go! (#6)


I like the Teen Titan comics for kids. They are funny and goofy rather than the angsty teens in the regular series. This one was funny and had a few laughs but was a bit preachy. Brothers Thunder and Lightning come to town fighting and destroying stuff and next thing you know while trying to stop them the Teen Titans end up getting into the fight too. Lesson learned is to use your words instead of weapons.





Teen Titans Go!: Mad Mod Is in Vogue! by Adam Beechen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher

Hardcover, 26 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Capstone Publishing

Teen Titans Go! (#8)

This comic is a lot of fun with the Teen Titans meeting up with an old nemesis of theirs, Mad Mod. I haven't been big on the Titans so this is my first meeting with the villain who is a retro British dude whose power is hypnotism. Beast Boy and Starfire get hypnotized along with the rest of the city and it's up to the remaining team members to rescue everybody. Pure comic book action perfect for young ages.