Friday, October 30, 2015

Itty Bitty Comics: Grimmiss Island by Franco & Art Baltazar

Itty Bitty Comics: Grimmiss Island by Franco & Art Baltazar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 104 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Dark Horse Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

I love Baltazar and Franco's art and as always this was a feast for the eyes. I have a special thing for skulls so found Grimmiss and the whole theme here to be spectacularly drawn. I just loved the Pajamazons too! However, I didn't find it that funny. It was annoying that Grimmiss spoke only in Spanish (and briefly French) with no subtitles so I never knew what the heck he was saying. It wasn't important as others suggested what he might have said, but he would have been a better character had he had gag lines and important things to say. Really fantastic art but I'd hoped for a better and funnier story.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson



Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by BOOM! Box
Source: Local Library


I was really looking forward to this because of all the wonderful reviews I've seen but was highly disappointed. It's a wacky story all in fun but just did not hit my funny bone. I was totally un-humoured. The girls have no background identities, we never learn anything about them, and since they are always together as a group I never really identified them as individuals. I can't even remember the names; I think one was Molly? The story is silly and I don't mind that as I like quirky but this just was not funny or exciting for me. Maybe you need to like camping and scouting to be into this? Not sharing the love.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson



Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Dial Books Canada
Source: Local Library

This is a wonderful wholesome coming of age story of a middle schooler dealing with many issues facing children of this age but particularly one which almost all of us go through. That time when we find ourselves drifting away from the best friend we've had since kindergarten. Nicole and Astrid will be starting junior high after this summer and though they've always done everything together, this summer Astrid is joining Roller Derby camp and Nicole doesn't want to because she has already decided to join Ballet camp. Their interests have been going in different directions lately anyway, but everything changes when Nicole befriends Astrid's archnemesis Rachel. Astrid's coming-of-age story is inspiring and compelling as she faces the determination of becoming fascinated with a new interest (roller derby) and puts her determination into learning to not just play but starting from scratch with learning to skate. She makes new friends, dyes her hair, experiences lying to mother and having to "'fess up", then finds her relationship with her mom maturing as she herself matures. It's also a humorous story with lots of comic moments and has the reader rooting for Astrid and her new friend. The art is charming and somewhat reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier and this will appeal to fans of her books as well. I'm completely smitten!

Your Lie in April 4: Staccato by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April 4: Staccato by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy via Penguin Random House Canada

Your Lie in April (4)

This volume really captures the music in both the storytelling and art. It's almost poetic; there are lots of phrases and metaphors. Much of the writing could almost be taken as verse; the art is gorgeous and captures the motion of music with the use of action lines flowing everywhere. This volume takes place during the course of a competition and most of it centres on the female character Emi, switching back and forth from her recital and her background story. Then the volume ends by going into Kosei's childhood deeper along with the abuse. Both the words and the art carried me along quite quickly for an emotional read.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer & Matthew Holm



Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by GRAPHIX/Scholastic

Very gently touches upon dealing with a family member who has issues with substance abuse. In this case, a little girl's teenage brother is smoking dope and drinking beer and his being high and drunk is causing serious problems for him. It's a very moderate approach and compared more vividly with a grandfather having a tough time giving up smoking which makes the book appropriate for a young audience. Frankly, I found the story quite bland and even mostly boring. What I did enjoy was the girl's friendship with a boy who introduced her to comics and the little asides as she became familiar with new superheroes such as Spiderman and Batman. It's decent enough for what it is, but honestly it feels as if this is an "issue" story that's been forced and I would have enjoyed the simple plot of a girl spending the summer with her grandfather without the flashbacks to her brother. Meh.

Two Brothers by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá

Two Brothers by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 232 pages
Published October 14th 2015 by Dark Horse
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Exquisitely beautiful story of a family. Of jealousy within a family, of a father's jealousy over his wife,'s love for the children, the mother's jealousy over her best-loved child, the male member's jealousy over the females and vice versa, the mother's jealousy of the women who come to love her son's but biggest of all is the jealousy between twin boys for the love of the same girl. Parents grow older and die and sons grow older and become fathers. But the twins father one son between them never knowing which is the one true father. It's a tangled sordid affair, a woman who loved dearly but only receives rape in return. The child lives in the house as a son of the house but is never rightfully claimed, but perhaps the family ends with this boy who puts the passion, jealousy, adventure and love into something more positive now that it has destroyed all but him. A literary family drama told with such intensity you can feel the heat rising from the pages; I always love the art from this team and the b/w splashes across the pages with emotion. I would love to read the novel this graphic was adapted from.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cleopatra in Space #2: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack



Cleopatra in Space #2: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by GRAPHIX/Scholastic
Source: Local Library

Cleopatra in Space (2)

Cleo returns in another excellent adventure. This series is a science-fiction Indiana Jones with a female protagonist full of derring-do and realistic characters. I love all four main characters, two female/two male and am even intrigued by the new thief introduced in this volume. He's mysterious and though presented, obviously, as the antagonist I can't help but wonder if more will be revealed about him in another volume. Wonderful art, vibrant and full of motion with a wide variety of panel styles used. This volume has a build-up plot which takes the story from the first book and builds upon it, raising the action and continuing the plot to a crescendo, leaving us with a cliffhanger anxiously awaiting book three. I'm loving this series and look forward to the next volume which will be out Spring 2016.

Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads by Paul Levitz

Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads by Paul Levitz; illus by Marcus To
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: amazon.ca

New 52

Wow. Really disappointed in this. Very dull for a superhero that has both Batman and Superman connections. Takes place entirely in Italy and has no supervillains, just a plain international intrigue story and no connections to the DC universe whatsoever. Except for a confusing appearance of another superhero on the final page. Waste of time. Doesn't even have a Huntress backstory. Some decent art.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 13 & 14 by Kiiro Yumi

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 13 by Kiiro Yumi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: amazon.ca

Library Wars (13)

I love this series! This volume brings back the excitement of the "War" part of the title and a lot of the plot centres around the author they have been protecting. I like that as it's one of the reasons I got into the series in the first place. Dojo and Kasahara don't get any closer in this volume frustratingly enough. Kasahara spends her time agonizing over what he will say when she comes right out and tells him she likes him. So no kiss, but there is an amazing scene where she punches him in the face! LOL! Loved the volume. Now onto #14.



Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 14 by Kiiro Yumi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 189 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: amazon.ca

Library Wars (14)

Incredible volume full of plot and action! With the moment we've all been waiting for between Dojo and Kasahara happening at a time when Dojo is weak and Kasahara lets her emotions take over. Totally beautiful moment! Love, love love!!! Lots of funny comic scenes but we end with tension as all it not right with the world and a major character is fighting for their life. Only one more book to go in the series, which makes me sad.

Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944 with One of the World's Iconic Photographers by Jean-David Morvan

Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944 with One of the World's Iconic Photographers by Jean-David Morvan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 100 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by First Second
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Outstanding nonfiction graphic retelling of WWII's Omaha Beach through the eye's of photojournalist Robert Capra. This is both Capra's story and an accounting of the D-Day battle. Through graphic art panels, photography, and essays the reader is taken right into the middle of this famous event which molds itself around Capra's famous photograph "Soldier in the Surf". The majority of the book is told in graphic novel format and tells Robert Capra's story of being a photojournalist during WWII, especially his involvement in Omaha Beach and the famous photographs he took that day. Following that are the photographs themselves, entitled "The Magnificent Eleven" as a group and, in conclusion, there are three essays illustrated with photos by Capra, of Capra, and by others which give a deeper insight into both Robert Capra, the man and Capra the photojournalist as well as the story behind the iconic photograph, "Soldier in the Surf". An excellent book which gives an emotional and personal account of a moment in history which is directed to the general reader, whether they be adult or teen.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Behemoth #3: Shedding by Chris Kipiniak

Behemoth #3: Shedding by Chris Kipiniak. illus by JK Woodward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ebook, 25 pages
Published August 5th 2015 by Monkeybrain Comics
Source: pdf from the publisher

Behemoth (3)

Fantastic! A powerful issue. The team is practicing for their mission while Rex and Theresa mostly concentrate on not losing the last vestiges of their humanity. The issue ends with them engaging the mission and losing a member of the team! Heart-thumping last page!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by José Domingo

Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by José Domingo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 57 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Flying Eye Books
Source: egalley via edelweiss

An inventive new style of "search and find" book. In the middle of this graphic novel are twelve two-page rich search-and-find spreads where you are asked to find the missing parts of an interdimensional travel machine. But these pages are inserted in the middle of a crazy, wild story of two kids who love to go on adventures and this seems like it could be the first in the series. The book then ends with a checklist page with extra items to find in each of the scenes just like some of the older books had. Lots of fun potential here. Once the story is read you can go back to the puzzle pages and "I spy" with them over and over. Both the story and the hide-and-seek pages are a lot of fun and will be enjoyed by a wide age range of kids.

The Smurfs (#19) The Jewel Smurfer by Peyo

The Jewel Smurfer by Peyo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 48 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Papercutz
first published in French, 1994
Source: pdf via the publisher

The Smurfs (#19)

Very good! This is a reprint of the original Smurf story. One long story! I used to read these as a kid and this brings back the nostalgic memories. But this is a timeless classic and kids today can enjoy these funny little blue "gnomes" just the same as can all ages. Jokey Smurf is kidnapped by humans and made to become a thief under threat. Along the way he discovers the Lord's son kidnapped in a cellar. While he gets rescued by the other Smurfs they come up with an elaborate plan to both rescue the Lord's son and catch all the kidnappers. Lots of smurfing fun!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hotel Strange #1: Wake Up, Spring by Florian & Katherine Ferrier

Hotel Strange #1: Wake Up, Spring by Florian & Katherine Ferrier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 40 pages
October 2nd 2015 by Graphic Universe
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Mr. Spring is late so the Hotel Strange staff set out to Mr. Winter's house to find out why he hasn't stopped yet and what has happened to Spring. This is a cute little comic, but I did find the story on the bland side. While it wasn't very exciting I did love the art. The characters are quirky and a creepy cute that I'm particularly attracted to. I'd probably read the next book just because I like the characters so much and hope the story would be better.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine & Jessica Dee Humphreys

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine & Jessica Dee Humphreys. illus by Claudia Davila
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 47 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Kids Can Press
Source: egalley via Netgalley

The author's memoir of his early life in Congo and the time he was kidnapped by rebels to be trained as a child soldier. He speaks of the harsh realities of his young life, his escape, his stolen childhood that cannot ever be returned even after he's back home, and his eventual immigration to Canada. An honest, eye-opening book for today's Western children to see what life is like for so many children in this world. Michel was five when he was taken as a soldier and while this book doesn't hide any realities it does keep information appropriate for younger readers. Sharon McKay's "War Brothers: The Graphic Novel" set in Uganda is a much more brutally raw story for older readers and the better of the two, imo. However, "Child Soldier" is certainly a touching and inspiring story to start with on the subject.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 2: Onmyoji by Yoshiaki Sukeno

Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 2: Onmyoji by Yoshiaki Sukeno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via Edelweiss

Twin Star Exorcists (2)

Wow! What an amazing reveal to end the story! Like anyone can not just pre-order Vol. 3 after an ending like that! Really enjoyed this volume. Lots of action but we're really getting to know Rokuro and Benio better as characters and they are getting to know each other better. Also included here is some good plotting with the story behind the "twin star" exorcists and family history for Benio. While the two are certainly not in a relationship yet, their forced circumstances has brought them together in interesting ways and a competitive nature, which can be cute at times, has blossomed between them. The direction of the next volume should prove interesting!

Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 13 & 14 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 13 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Paperback, 178 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by VIZ Media

Re-read - I'm just now finally getting to Vol. 14 so I've come back for a re-read. Man! This is just so good! The art is breathtaking! And I'm just left feeling so overwhelmed! What does it all mean and how will it end?

I originally gave this 5* and remember how stoked I was reading it the first time.








Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 14 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 184 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: amazon.ca

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Whoa! Beyond stunning really! The apocalypse, the end of the world and the beginning of a new world. Very complex and mind-bending. Astonishing art! I do kind of wish he'd ended a little sooner than he did though. I liked the snow, but the follow up afterwards didn't do it for me. It's all so highly metaphysical I don't want to say much more, but it all comes together so tragically and so beautifully. I turned the pages ever so slowly to see all the symbolism in the art.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty. illus by David Rubín

The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope & J.T. Petty. illus by David Rubín
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by First Second
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Battling Boy (0.5)

I've been looking forward to this as I really enjoyed Aurora West's first book! This is a continuation of the story as she concludes the search for the killer of her mother and continues training to be her father's sidekick and one day replace him. A rip-roaring adventure with lots of action, humour and fabulous art. Great characters return from the first book. But also quite a serious theme and heavy topic that deals with heroes having to believe in themselves, when to tell the truth versus when not to, and there sometimes being a right time to die and a right time to kill. Very deep, high impact from start to finish and a stand-out adventure with tough female leads.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Love Story!!, Vol. 6 by Kazune Kawahara

My Love Story!!, Vol. 6 by Kazune Kawahara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 184 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via Edelweiss

My Love Story (6)

Love, love, love - Such a joy reading a new volume about Takeo and Yamato. This volume is a little more laid back, no pivotal moment for the couple. Instead, the book focuses on Valentine's Day and Takeo's mother finally has the baby. In Japan the tradition is that on Feb. 14 girls give chocolate to guys that they like, then on March 14 is White Day in which boys give chocolate back to every girl who gave them chocolate. This year Takeo is sooooo excited that he will be getting his first ever "true love" chocolate now that he has a girlfriend instead of sympathy chocolate like the one he has received from an elderly neighbour since he was a little boy. A great sweet episode with some funny and poignant moments. I love Takeo's mother; she's one tough cookie! Finally, a few moments near the end leave us with a surprise ending that Sunakawa has had a secret admirer for quite some time who actually intrigues him and Takeo may have just found out their identity! Highly recommend this series to shoujo fans who love simple, sweet slice-of-life stories.

QQ Sweeper, Vol. 1 by Kyousuke Motomi

QQ Sweeper, Vol. 1 by Kyousuke Motomi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via Edelweiss

QQ Sweeper (1)

I wasn't too sure about this. The premise sounded interesting but, it's always hit and miss for me with shoujo because I don't like romance. But I adored QQ Sweeper!! It's got something for everyone and Fumi is a fantastic female character. She's bold and brazen in her pursuit for a Prince Charming. She wants a handsome rich man and has no shame in saying so. She has the good-hearted, kind nature of any Disney princess. On the other hand she kicks ass, boldly goes where ever the heck she wants, bows out gently if she finds her chosen Prince Charming just isn't into her and tells it like it is: speaking the obvious truth while apologizing when necessary. Love her! This story has romance, psychology, the paranormal by way of dreams, nightmare insects, a secret mystery, cliffhanger ending and, cleverly placed within the plot handy-dandy cleaning tips! Totally awesome.

Mister Terrific (New 52) Vol. 1: Mind Games by Eric Wallace

Mister Terrific (New 52) Vol. 1: Mind Games by Eric Wallace
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Inter-Library Loan

New 52

I wanted to give up on this a few times but made it through to the end. It's just a bunch of short episodes giving Mr. Terrific a new reboot. The last one was the best but it was cancelled and the book leaves us with his fate unknown. I'd never heard of Terrific before and I think that's a horrible superhero name. He's really arrogant and only believes in science making it difficult for him to have relationships since he has no faith in anyone. It's all pretty lacklustre no good villains but the last story has a hybrid computer/man whose ok and the Blackhawks show up briefly to arrest Mr. Terrible because he's a vigilante and we're given some backstory between them. Cliffhanger ending, though I think he comes back on one of the Justice League teams.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Zatch Bell!, Volume 24 & 25 by Makoto Raiku

Zatch Bell!, Volume 24 by Makoto Raiku
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by VIZ Media
Source: Local Library

Zatch Bell (#24)

A battle volume from start to finish as they work their way to the brain of Faudo. Nothing spectacular, all pretty straight forward. Two bad guys are defeated and we loose one good guy but it was one I always found rather creepy so I wasn't bothered much.






Zatch Bell!, Volume 25 by Makoto Raiku
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by VIZ Media
Source: Local Library

Zatch Bell (#25)

This is the last book translated into English and ends mid-battle! In the first part mamodo Ted is reunited with his beloved who happens to have been taken over by the evil side. Our gang gets closer to the brain during this part and we lose both a good and bad guy, kind of sad here. Then the rest of the book has them reaching the anti-chamber next to the brain with lots of action getting there. Many mamodo come back on the scene from where they've been waiting, there's some great humour and an epic return and loss. The final boss protecting the brain room is being fought when the book ends. Also, Kiyo has been out of action the last few volumes leaving Zatch unable to battle, so we've seen him take on a leadership role that has really matured his character.

There are 8 more volumes left in the series and since they aren't available in English I will (for the first time ever!) be resorting to scanlations to finish off the series. It's just too good to stop now.