Sunday, March 27, 2016

Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 1: Going Down by Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV

Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 1: Going Down by Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by DC Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

John Constantine/Hellblazer


I've not ever read a Constantine or Hellblazer comic before. While reading the "New 52" I did follow the "Dark League" and wanted to get into one of John's independent titles but here I am meeting him for the first time alone, in a completely new origin story. There are no old returning characters in this first story which is populated with fresh faces to tell the story of how John got into the Dark Arts in the first place. The book starts with a couple of cool paranormal events that Constantine works to solve. Then the main story arc starts and takes up the middle portion of the book with scenes flipping from his current case of trying to figure out who is killing his personal posse of ghosts and flashbacks to his origin story in the UK, the two eventually meet up, with the past being the cause of his current troubles. Then John goes on a bender of solving freaky but simple paranormal cases and ends up meeting a possible new boyfriend at the end of the book. From the book's story, we've gathered that John swings just as rampantly both ways. And... the emphasis on his sexuality was the only thing that really bothered me. When I'm reading DC/Marvel, sex is really the last thing I'm looking for. I didn't need to see him humping a female demon.

Li'l Rip Haywire Adventures: Escape from Camp Cooties by Dan Thompson

Li'l Rip Haywire Adventures: Escape from Camp Cooties by Dan Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Andrews McMeel
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Li'l Rip Haywire (1)

I absolutely loved this! Li'l Rip is the son of famous comic book adventurer Rip Haywire. This book is a chapter book with a combination of text graphic novel panels and puzzles which include mazes, word, and logic. Very interactive and a joy to read. Both witty and sarcastic humour along with emotions and characters (especially Rip) learning lessons about himself. The story is amusing: he's his Dad's sidekick on his world adventures in the mode of Indiana Jones and Allan Quartermain. His Dad is a bit worried that Li'l Rip doesn't have any regular kid interests or hobbies or friends so decides to send him to camp just for the summer. On such spur of the moment notice it's hard to find a camp with an open spot so when he does find one he quickly drops Li'l Rip off and drives away fast. As Rip walks up to the main office he finds out why his dad was in such a hurry to get away. He'll be spending the summer at "Pink Powderpuff Summer Camp for Girls". So Rip has plenty of fun and adventure at the camp but the best part is when the story flashbacks to a "This reminds me of the time when..." and we go back and follow one of Rips dangerous adventures around the world in rain forests, deserts, meeting the abominable snowman, in Egypt, etc. Hopefully, this is the start of a new series as it's something a little different in the hybrid text/graphic novel format and I'd love to read the next. Great old-timey comics artwork too.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Batman & Robin: Eternal, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV

Batman & Robin: Eternal, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by DC Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Batman Universe

Splendidly captivating! I couldn't stop reading; I just wanted it to go on and on and on. I really enjoyed the two story lines switching between the past and present. The plot is excellent and maintains a solid detective with a highly intelligent and intricate plot. The authors have tempered that with just the right amount of battle scenes creating a fine balance between action and story. I can't get enough of the Robins and it was pure delight for me to have the first three all together here with such witty dialogue referring to their individual histories and attitudes. Also, a lot of fun was a guest star appearance by an anti-hero, and a couple of Batfamily cameos. I must also comment on the art. For a book with so many illustrators contributing work, the book has a very even feel to it as a whole which rarely happens in these cases. Awesome trade!

Goodnight Punpun Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 1 by Inio Asano

Goodnight Punpun Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 1 by Inio Asano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by VIZ Media
(orig. Japanese, 2007)
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Goodnight Punpun (1)

I don't know. I was expecting something racier for a start. This is an angst-ridden coming of age story that takes Punpun through approx. two years of his life starting with his father nearly killing his mother in a domestic dispute, spending time with his uncle while father is in jail and mother in hospital, his sexual awareness, first wet dream, first girlfriend, usual kid experiences and some not-so-usual weird experiences along the way. Pretty deep with a lot of existential thinking. I think I liked it but the fact that Punpun was drawn as a cartoon character (a bird?) and didn't even speak for the first two/thirds of the book really played havoc with my taking the work seriously. Punpun's entire family is portrayed as bird's but the rest of them speak properly. I don't know. I'm prepared to read the next volume and will see if it manages to hook me or not.

X-Files: Season 11, Volume 1 by Joe Harris

X-Files: Season 11, Volume 1 by Joe Harris; illus by Matthew Dow Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 120 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by IDW Publishing
Source: egalley via Netgalley

X-Files

A decent story. I didn't finish reading all of season 10 so I don't know if I missed the lead-in into this story arc. However, even though it's pretty complicated, I'm a big X-Files fan so I found my way into the plot pretty quickly. Lots of stuff going on with a complex plot involving an old nemesis, Gibson Praise, from season five, but the best part is a mini story arc that brings back one of the villains from an episode during season four that I've always thought was one of the freakiest ever. That really thrilled me. So, not a bad story. On the other hand, I thought the art was awful. The characters were barely recognizable and it was just ugly.

Monday, March 21, 2016

3 Mini Graphic Reviews: Hilda, Delilah & Desmond

I've been on vacation for the past week visiting my son in Kitchener/Waterloo. Managed to get lots of reading done while he was at work but not up to writing reviews so will be putting together one post of (mostly) mini-reviews to both of my blogs.


Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 48 pages
April 12th 2016 by Flying Eye Books
first published 2010

Hildasfolk (#2)

Wonderful second book in this original fairy tale series. Hilda finds out her forest is inhabited by both little folk and giants putting herself in the perspective of both as well. While trying to solve the problem she is causing the little people who have let themselves become visible to her she meets the last of the old giants who has come looking for his friend who had promised to meet him here four thousand years ago. Wonderful characters and story. A pure delight to read! An interesting end which makes us wonder what is in store for Hilda and her mother in the next book.






Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by First Second

Delilah Dirk (#2)

Fantastic sequel in the Delilah Dirk series! I think I enjoyed this even more than the first! Very much an Indiana Jones-type adventure with a female lead. Set on the continent in the 19th century when England and France were at war, this has a more intelligent plot than these action/adventure romps usually have and makes for an engrossing read. Plenty of derring-do and humour.








Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors by Mark Tatulli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by Andrews McMeel

Desmond Pucket (#3)

I don't usually jump into a series on the third book but this looked like a lot of fun and I hadn't heard of it before this. It's a hybrid cross between chapter book and graphic novel. Written in chapters, illustrated with comic strips and whole graphic novel sections. Early on there is a graphic section that explains what has happened in the series so far so I had no trouble jumping in at this point. I really enjoyed the book. Desmond likes scaring people and he has a collection of monster props procured from the last book.The book is all monster/scary themed but it's not paranormal at all, just realistic (though far-fetched) day in the life of a grade 7 student. Fun characters, fun situations, silly without any toilet humour I think this is a cut-above the usual fair and I'll probably go back and read the first two before the next book comes out.




Friday, March 11, 2016

Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition 2 by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition 2 by Hajime Isayama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 944 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Kodansha Comics
Source: amazon.ca

Attack on Titan (#6-10)

Exceptionally designed omnibus edition and brilliant continuation of the manga series. This oversized deluxe collector's edition omnibus gathers together volumes 6 to 10 of "Attack on Titan" with many extra supplementary illustration pieces throughout including the original covers to each volume at the back. The book is soundly bound, lays flat and is printed on quality paper and with five books for the one price you are getting a price deal. I won't go into what happens volume by volume but this is the most intense and creepy-freaky manga I've ever read. Reading it at night makes me keep the hall light on! These volumes centre on the female titan whom they've discovered is a human (like Eren) who can go Titan and has been living as a spy amongst them. She's trying to kidnap Eren, causes a lot of death and destruction. Another abnormal Titan is found called "Beast" because he has hair all over him like an animal. He talks and is big and very scary. We learn some really disturbing stuff about the Titans and the ministers of the Wall Religion. So much more knowledge has been known than has been given to the people. The troops are trying to get to the bottom of the truth, in the meantime the world is becoming creepier and creepier. An absolute much read for anyone who calls themselves a manga fan!

Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Vol. 17 & Vol. 18 by Hiroyuki Asada

Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Vol. 17 by Hiroyuki Asada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by VIZ Media
Source: amazon.ca

Tegami Bachi (#17)

Only a few more volumes to go and the plot is heading towards its finale. It was strange to find a new character added at this point Chico Neige, whom the volume revolves around but we find she is essential to where the plot is heading. Otherwise, Lag takes her on a couple of mail deliveries and overall this is a great volume with a bit of everything we expect from the series and appearances by all the popular characters.





Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Vol. 18 by Hiroyuki Asada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by VIZ Media

Tegami Bachi (#18)

Defining volume here! The not so closely guarded secret of amberground is finally revealed. The whole story is explained and both Chico Neige and Largo Lloyd's horrible childhood's are detailed. Now there are two plans in motion to save the world from the uber gaicchu inside the dying sun. One which will kill many people and the other which at least, will kill Lag Seeing. This whole volume takes place over one year's time and is all plot with a couple battles brought in just for a break in the pace. Really looking forward to seeing how this ends. Two volumes to go!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Bronx Kill by Peter Milligan; illus by James Romberger

The Bronx Kill by Peter Milligan; illus by James Romberger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 184 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Vertigo
Source: local library

Not bad noir crime thriller. A bit dense and complicated of a plot to fully realise through the medium of a graphic novel, though. Also uses the device of telling two stories at the same time, a novel within a novel which I enjoyed. The main character is a writer and while the main story involves the murder of his wife he is writing a thriller and we get a few pages of text being his edited manuscript inserted every now and then. Makes for a unique read and not too shabby of a plot but I think it does strive too hard to aim for a literary goal it just doesn't reach. Both stories are just a bit too convoluted and I never felt myself really believing in it or getting involved with the characters.

Giganto Maxia by Kentaro Miura

Giganto Maxia by Kentaro Miura
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 232 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Dark Horse
Source: egalley via edelweiss

This is a one-off, single volume of six chapters. It has a neat story to it but most of the time is spent on the battles so we just don't get to know the two main characters well enough. They seem to have a cool relationship but we've got no background and don't really know anything about them. The art was good, but the story was just getting good when it ended and I'd have liked a lot more character development.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Fate/Zero Volume 1 by Gen Urpbuchi

Fate/Zero Volume 1 by Gen Urpbuchi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 194 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Dark Horse
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Fate/Zero (#1)

This is awesome! I'm not an anime watcher (only a manga reader) and this is is a prequel of the light novels and/or a retelling? of the popular anime. Because of this, I did find the beginning a little confusing to get into as I guess you are supposed to already know what is going on from being an anime fan, but once I got it sorted out and understood what the story was about I was hooked. The premise is really cool! I loved the pairing up of people with warriors from history and the plot of the Fourth Holy Grail War. This first volume is all set-up. There is no battle though the book ends with two warriors meeting each other so perhaps vol. 2 will start with a battle. Anyway, I got really excited to see King Arthur, Gilgamesh and Alexander the Great show up in this volume. A fourth warrior is introduced but I'd never heard of him even though he's from the Irish Finn MacCool legend which I have heard of/read. And even though all these famous guys are men historically, they are not in this manga! I really enjoyed the art as well. Books with characters from history and literature are really fun for me and this series shows a lot of promise from just this first volume. Can't wait for the battles!

Devil Survivor 3 by Satoru Matsuba

Devil Survivor 3 by Satoru Matsuba
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Devil Survivor (#3)

This was a lot better than volume two. It wasn't so battle intensive. It still had battles but left plenty of room for plot and characters too. I actually liked it but am just not that engaged in it. I know my 15yo son likes it but it's just not something I'm going to be able to keep up with. Too many others on the go much more worth my while at the moment. I'd be more likely to binge read it when all the volumes are out.

Fairy Tail Blue Mistral 2 by Hiro Mashima

Fairy Tail Blue Mistral 2 by Hiro Mashima
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: amazon.ca

Fairy Tail Universe

Wendy has another adventure! As the Fairy Tail gang are on a train going home Wendy finds the window smashed open, everyone asleep and herself and Carla sucked out while going over a bridge. They end up in a walled garden with no exit. When they enter the spooky house they find a boy who keeps appearing and disappearing and tells them of the monster.Then Wendy meets the monster! A cute story. I liked it a lot until the ending which was a bit contrived trying to make good guys out of everybody. But Wendy and Carla were as cute as ever and their fans will enjoy the volume. A sneak peek at the next volume looks like it should be a good one!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

School Judgment: Gakkyu Hotei, Vol. 1 by Nobuaki Enoki; illus by Takeshi Obata

School Judgment: Gakkyu Hotei, Vol. 1 by Nobuaki Enoki; illus by Takeshi Obata
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

School Judgment: Gakkyu Hotei (#1)

I can't deny I liked this. The idea of the legal classroom alone is intriguing enough for a series, let alone having its pages decorated by Takeshi Obata. I like the idea of the cases and there are quite a few going on in this volume which unfortunately does make the plot rather choppy. But the characters are consistent carrying through the book. Also not sure if part of the choppiness, but one character, the lawyer, seems to have some connection to the bloody massacre in the past. If these are plot teasers this could prove interesting for book 2.

Inuyashiki 3 by Hiroya Oku

Inuyashiki 3 by Hiroya Oku
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Inuyashiki (#3)

An intense, brutally violent volume. This volume features Inuyashiki only as he takes on a deranged yazuka member. I was hesitant going into this volume knowing from the summary and the mangaka's previous work that it was going to be of a sexual nature and wondered if perhaps it would be past my tastes. I needn't have hesitated but it is indeed acutely violent, but not how I had imagined. The most disturbing scene is the opening one of male on male rape. There is a lot of female nudity during an abduction and attempted rape, which turns into physical violence. This abduction is pretty much the crux of the story and it seems to be a one volume case for Inuyashiki. It's an intense read, the art is stupendous and emotional but it doesn't really further Inuyashiki's character at all. It also doesn't appear that there is any plot advancement either leaving me to wonder if the sexual nature and violence of this volume are only gratuitous. This influences my 4-star rating of the volume, and I'll wait for the next one to see where the plot and characters go from here.

Noragami: Stray God 11 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God 11 by Adachitoka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Noragami: Stray God (#11)

A great volume! In vol. 10 the story arc finished and I guess you can call this one an inbetweener. It examines where things stand now and is much concerned with character and ends with Yato taking on and solving a case like in the early volumes. Loved that! Yato is on a high as the God of Happiness and his new role examines his new state of mind and relationship with Yukine. Hiroyi plays a major part in this volume and she and Yato work on their relationship as well. As a side story and introducing the new arc are flashes to Yato's father and brief glimpses at his schemings and evilness. This will definitely be playing a larger role in the next volume. But for now, volume 11 is lots of fun spending time with our three main characters, they even visit a theme park! and brief cameos are made by practically everyone in the series. Great book to further character development, and add some lightheartedness between story arcs. Splendid series!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One-Punch Man, Vol. 5 by ONE

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

Paperback, 216 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss AND preorder print copy

One-Punch Man (5)

Great volume! Complete action. Continues on from the last volume with the Sea King villain. He wants to eat everybody and hero upon hero comes to take him on but he's too powerful until finally One-Punch shows up. But when the people finally want to give One-Punch the credit he says they must give it to the others for all the effort they put into weakening him first. First time OP lets his arrogance down. Then finally he gets a letter with an up ranking and a chance to move up into the next class. So while this volume is total battle action, One-Punch is developing character and finally making some friends.