Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tokyo ESP, Volume 1, 2 & 3 by Hajime Segawa

Tokyo ESP, Volume 1: There’s a New Heroine in Town by Hajime Segawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 388 pages
Published October 12th 2015 by Vertical Comics
Source: purchase at amazon.ca

Tokyo ESP (Vol. 1)

My son is addicted to this series and I just had to give it a shot. It sounds very strange, and it is, but it also manages to be a fantastic piece of science fiction Japanese superhero manga at the same time! We start off with a flying penguin and glowing swarms of flying fish. The penguin seems to be chasing the fish and the daughter of a yakuza is secretly keeping him as a pet. When a person swallows, or rather when a fish enters a person, they get super powers. Rinka wakes up one day to find she can pass through solid objects, she meets a schoolmate, Azuma, who can transport and her father comes home from work with metal objects attached to him. Azuma wants to become a fighter for justice, help people, stop crime and tries to get Rinka to join him but she just wants to be human again. Then they meet a thief who can go invisible who frames them for her crimes and things just go all haywire from there. The yakuza get involved, the penguin has a power, Azuma has a secret past, beings from somewhere weird show up, oh my! What is going on? I love this!! Volume 2 is lined up ready and waiting!





Tokyo ESP, Volume 2: The Professor Appears by Hajime Segawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 388 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Vertical Comics
Source: Purchase at amazon.ca

Tokyo ESP (Vol. 2)

There is a lot in these volumes! They are actually omnibus editions containing 2 volumes of the original Japanese editions and there are colour pages at the beginning and in the middle at the start of the second volume. We meet the Professor who is the leader of the bad guys and they terrorise Tokyo by sending a huge floating freighter over the city and dumping it. This leaves all our heroes busy rescuing people but they also have to face the fact that they can't save everyone and that realisation affects each of them in their own way. New powers are revealed and a fun episode with a superpowered hippo floating through the city encased in a blob of water. The second volume brings some new characters and mostly includes training with their new master, a panda who looks like Yoda when he takes his head off! There are political stirrings, family dynamics and a little romance blossoming. But the book ends on a heavy note with the bad guys recruiting. Love this series!!!





Tokyo ESP, Volume 3: The White Girl is Dead. Long Live the White Girl! by Hajime Segawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 422 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Vertical Comics
Source: Purchase amazon.ca

Tokyo ESP (Volume 3)

Whoa, my god! The first half is so intense! The series has become incredibly dark now with the superpower terrorists planning to take over the world. While on the other hand, the government has decided to outlaw all superpowers sending these people to an underground detention centre. It's an all-out civil war! Meanwhile, we find out the true story behind the Professor and the reasons behind his insanity giving us sympathy for his character. The intensity continues for the epic second half and sees the end of this story arc. It's all out war between the Professor's group and humanity. There is an end and one side sort of wins but everything is so unstable. Tokyo is now anarchy, those with superpowers equal those without and our group has taken on justice as a team full-time. The blurb for the next book tells us it will start one year, four months later. Need next book ....

Friday, April 29, 2016

Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series by Mark Verheiden

Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series by Mark Verheiden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 184 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Dark Horse Books
Orig. 1988
Source: egalley via Dark Horse

Absolutely outstanding! Originally written after the release of the movie Aliens this series continues the plot taking place some years after the movie's end concentrating on the characters Newt, Hicks and Bishop. This was considered part of Alien canon until the release of Alien 3, this now being the first time this original series has been reprinted. It's a fascinating story and an interesting look back now as an alternate history in the Alien saga. The black and white artwork is gorgeous and as described, in both the introduction and afterword, is done in a technique no longer used since the advent of digital illustration. Such exceptionally gorgeous art that made me enjoy looking at the book as much as reading it. A must have for Alien fandom. Contains issues #1-6 plus Dark Horse Presents #24.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fairy Girls, Vol. 2 by Boku

Fairy Girls, Vol. 2 by Boku
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Fairy Girls (Vol. 2)

A lot of fun! This picks up where book two finishes and personally I'm much more comfortable with the world as I've now read Vol. 1-10 of the main series. I now have met Juvia in the main series so know who all four of the main characters are and the whole Fairy Tail gang makes cameos all over the place for lots of fanservice. The book starts off quick with the girls taking on a job vacation they thwart and is over too soon. Lots of fun! Then the rest of the book turns quite dark as Wendy is stalked and kidnapped along with the other girls, accidentally, by a black guild who wants nothing but to replicate the power of the dragon slayers to sell to the other dark guilds and become rich. Some lessons learnt here by a new character about the means not justifying the ends. Then the book ends with a silly bit of girly fun.! Loving this series with its focus on the girls in the lead but they never forget about their favourite guys and it's all a total Fairy Tail Fun Fest with some good side quests for the girls to solve without Natsu or Gray trying to steal the show. LOL

Fairy Tail Master's Edition, Vol. 2 by Hiro Mashima

Fairy Tail Master's Edition, Vol. 2 by Hiro Mashima
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 976 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Fairy Tail (Vol. 6-10)

This is just one of the best fantasy series out there and the omnibus editions are gorgeous and huge! I love the magazine size presentation which though making them hefty tomes also makes them a pure delight to read. Volume 2 Master's Edition contains Vol. 6 to 10 of the original series and covers a lot of story. I won't go into much detail so as not to spoil the plot but after finishing off the storyline from where things were left in vol. 5 a new story arc is started and completed within this edition involving an all out war between the Fairy Tail Guild and the Phantom Lord Guild. Natso finally meets another dragon slayer and three characters get storylines of their own giving us backgrounds on them and lots of character development: Lucy, Loki and Erza. Tons of battle action, some pretty dark storylines and of course plenty of humour and silliness. This is a very full book and even though you are binge reading 5 volumes in a row it took me several days to read the whole thing since there was so much coming at me; I needed to savour it all and not just gobble it up. So excited waiting for the next volume.

Your Lie In April 7 by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie In April 7 by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Your Lie In April (7)

Oh my! Bittersweet and tear-jerking! This volume had me near tears. The overall theme throughout is loss. Kosei finally says goodbye to his mother through his music. This is an intense emotional part. Then the plot concentrates on his relationship with Kaori which is very sad but has lots of humour with them bickering all the time and uses lots of chibi. Then my favourite and most moving part has Tsubaki struggle with her feelings for Kosei. What an emotional ending that tugs at your heart-strings!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Arawi

Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Arawi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Vertical Comics

Nichijou: My Ordinary Life (Vol. 1)

I can't express how smitten I am with this. Extremely quirky with dry humour and subtle wit while the outrageous is happening. Not what I had expected from Japanese humour, at all. It's a slice of life high school story where most, though not all, of the characters, are girls. Not so much of a plot other than recurring day to day school issues. This is off-beat, strange humour and just the thing that tickles my funny bone. I adored it! The best part was when the principal goes at it with a deer in the school yard. One girl is a robot made by another girl who is a bit of a mad scientist. Another girl is quite normal but when she gets angry she takes out imaginary guns and shoots people in the head. There is a boy who is the eldest son of his family "The House of Something" and he dresses like an Edwardian man, comes to school with a manservant, riding upon a goat, but is really only the son of a farmer. There is a smart, book-reading girl who doesn't see the point of games and how she takes the fun out of it for everyone when forced to play makes me love her, as I feel the same way. LOL. Looking forward to reading the next volume.

Danganronpa: The Animation, Volume 1 by Spike Chunsoft

Danganronpa: The Animation, Volume 1 by Spike Chunsoft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Dark Horse Manga
Source: egalley via edelweiss AND purchased print copy amazon.ca

Danganronpa: The Animation (Vol 1)

I had never heard of this before but was very excited to read it after seeing it. Monokuma, an evil robot teddy bear principal is probably the "Ultimate Weirdest Villain" ever! LOL. The plot of being locked up and each one gets killed has been done before (and I love these types of stories!), however, Danganronpa brings a crazy psycho, a bunch of kids who must kill each other, and a court case trial together after each death. The deaths are weird; as are the motley collection of students. The book concentrates a lot on character and obviously we're going to get to know those who stick around a lot better than the ones who die early, but also the court cases bring out character issues. I need to keep reading this series. So far, I'm hooked!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Batman: Europa by Brian Azzarello

Batman: Europa by Brian Azzarello; illus by various
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 13th 2016 by DC Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Batman & Family

This is a dark and broody Batman story, my favourite kind. It's not set in the current timeline but rather back in a time when Batman was simply the Dark Knight and Joker was his raison d'ĂȘtre. They have both been infected with a virus that will kill them in one week. They must team-up to track down the cure and who poisoned them by travelling across Europe. Dark storyline and former communist and war torn countries are atmospheric, the art follows the pair's descent into madness by becoming more unstable as the book progresses. One section makes you feel like you need those old blue/red 3D glasses. The book examine's The Bat's need for Joker as an enemy by putting them together as a functioning team. Interesting take and a fun story of the broody variety!

Red's Planet: Book 1: A World Away from Home by Eddie Pittman

Red's Planet: Book 1: A World Away from Home by Eddie Pittman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Amulet Books
Source: egalley via netgalley

Another book following the current trend of girls going on adventures in space with cute sidekicks. This isn't as good as "Cleopatra in Space" or "Zita the Space Girl" but it has its own bit of charm. More than Red and her speechless cute big-eyed alien companion, I most enjoyed the rag-tag group of aliens who were stranded on the planet along with her. Their banter was funny and often realistic within an eclectic group found suddenly mixed together. The dad and his son stood out as funny, real characters with the blossoming relationship between the dad and the alien lady. I also liked the annoyed wildcat who seems to be in charge of the planet. However, Red, herself didn't stand out for me. Tawee, her sidekick, is cute but doesn't talk or make sounds, which diminishes his character. He'd probably work better in animation but Ben Hatke does much better with a wordless book in his "Little Robot". So, in conclusion, an ok book, certainly worth the read but more of the same of what's already out there of girls in space.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Hikami

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Hikami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter (Vol. 1)

I usually don't do well with manga (or graphic novels) based on video games but I loved Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter which is actually an adaptation of the novels. A typical quest type of fantasy I found this a lot of fun and comparable to Fairy Tail. Raiga, a novice hunter, finds his team disbanded and goes solo, but solo hunting is near to impossible, especially for a trainee so he sets off to find a partner. On advice, he is sent to Loc Lac along with Keres, an arrogant, serious hunter who takes an instant dislike to Raiga and later the two take on their first quest with Torche, a bumbling hunter who finds trouble follows her everywhere. They get off to a rocky start battling a wyvern, but by the book's end have formed a team. I enjoyed this a lot, liked its "Fairy Tail" resemblance, the noticeboard the hunters visit to choose quests from, the armour stats, and info on the monsters. This is a battle-packed volume but for a first, enough effort went into defining the three main characters to give us a good handle on their personalities and a bit of background as well. I've pre-ordered the next few volumes. This looks like it's going to be good!

Twin Star Exorcists: Onmyoji, Vol. 4 by Yoshiaki Sukeno

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

Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Twin Star Exorcists (Vol. 4)

An intense battle volume. First part has Benio and Rokuro practicing the new attack they can work together. Then the big battle with Benio's brother takes up the rest of the volume. He taunts them and wants more than just to kill them. They are surprised to find how strong he is and Benio ends up making a life or death decision which changes her life forever. The action and seriousness is lightened slightly by the usual bickering and hidden feelings between the two exorcists. Good volume.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Love Story!!, Vol. 8 by Kazune Kawahara

My Love Story!!, Vol. 8 by Kazune Kawahara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

My Love Story!! (Vol. 8)

Adorable! I'm in love with this series! It never disappoints! Two storylines going on here. First, Sunakawa's sister comes home for a visit again and still can't let go of her feelings for Takeo even though she worked through this in a previous volume. The boy who loves her at college has followed her again but this time, he confronts her. I like this side story very much. Back to Takeo and Yamato, he meets her parents for the very first time which is a nerve-wracking experience for him. LOL. Then she goes to work in a bakery and the handsome young pro chef there takes her enthusiasm for pastries personally, giving Takeo a rival for his love. So sweet and fun!

Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires

Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 72 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Kids Can Press
Source: egalley via edelweiss

A P.U.R.S.T. Adventure (#1)

This is a sequel to the "Binky" series which I enjoyed. This is cute, the illustrations adorable but it's silly and not that funny. "Binky" was better when Spires was parodying real cat behaviour; the humour was genuine. Fluffy is just, well ... "fluff".

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Rattler by Jason McNamara; Greg Hinkle

The Rattler by Jason McNamara; Greg Hinkle (Illustrations)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 104 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Image Comics
Source: egalley via netgalley

A creepy mystery thriller with a bit of the paranormal to make it spooky. It's an atmospheric story as a man finally goes off the rails searching for the woman he loved in his youth who was kidnapped in front of his eyes. He's always sworn she was still alive somewhere and now she's speaking to him through the dead and he's chasing perverted ex-cons who are now out of prison trying to track her down. After killing the first one, the cops know he's finally snapped and he must find her before he's caught by the authorities. Some good twists and good black and white art with red blood make for some gruesome scenes. A freaky end and a fun horror/thriller read.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth by Gene Luen Yang

Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by DC Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Superman & Family

I was really excited when I heard Gene Luen Yang was taking the reins on a Superman story as he's one of my favourite graphic novelists. Yang is a great writer and he's written a good story here with lots of character and well-plotted and I enjoyed it but ultimately I wasn't thrilled as it just wasn't very exciting. The villain has been created specifically for this story arc and he's not what I like in villains. He's just a high-tech guy blackmailing people. Other villains who show up are lame, lesser known names from the past such as the Royal Flush Gang. There are some good action scenes with Supe using his new EMP 'solar flare' power but no great battle scenes which are what I want from my superhero comics. So, some disappointment on my part but I'm willing to tune in for volume 2 as there are hints that something more exciting may happen. This villain mentions a father he's seeking to prove himself to near the end of the book and I'm hoping that will turn out to be a more spectacular and exciting supervillain.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Real Account 1 by Okushou

Real Account 1 by Okushou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Purchased amazon.ca

Real Account (1)

I like this! It's one of those books where people are pulled into a real-life version of an online game, a deadly version. Top gamers (approx 10,000) are pulled into the game everyone is hooked up to and their virtual lives become a matter of life and death. First, the nation is given 10 minutes to unfriend people in the game. Since "friends" will die with their contestant. A lot of contestants are weeded out and blow-up because they lose all their followers. The first game has everyone decide if they are hot, average or ugly then go before a group of judges hooked up to lie detectors. If you all agree you pass, if not you explode. This is gruelling as people have to deal with reality rather than their avatars. And finally, a bonus round to earn money by getting the most retweets in ten minutes. Should be simple enough since everyone has, at least, one follower but the reality here being that your real life followers may not actually be following you in real time. Those with no retweets explode. Pretty intense commentary on social media. The main character, Ataru, is standing out to be someone who will buck against this enforced debasement even though he has no "real life' friends, his sister being his only follower.

Your Lie in April 6 by Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie in April 6 by Naoshi Arakawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Purchased amazon.ca

Your Lie in April (6)


This volume concentrates on character. A violin gala is coming up and Kosei will be accompanying Kaori but the majority of the book is spent practicing. They bicker with each other but Kosei learns to believe in his playing more and he also gets to know his new tutor more and through her what she thinks his mother's opinion would be of him now. He also spends more time with his male friend, so lots of character interaction. The volume finally ends with the gala which doesn't go as planned but Kosei gets to experience playing once more on a new level. This was a very quick read for me; I'm enjoying it very much. Quite deep for compared to any other shoujo I've read.

The Seven Deadly Sins 13 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 13 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Purchased amazon.ca

The Seven Deadly Sins (13)

The whole first half of this volume is battle bringing about the end of the story arc we've been following since volume one. A major character finds hidden powers and one also dies (sigh!). A brief interlude to calm down and then the book ends with a cliffhanger as a new story and journey begin. Epic volume and turning point in the series!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Livingstone 2 by Tomohiro Maekawa

Livingstone 2 by Tomohiro Maekawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy via Penguin Random House Canada

Livingstone (2)

The first volume had me interested with the idea of these two soul collectors who find suicides and either stop them or help them along painlessly with the purpose of saving their souls. Looking forward to more from the plot the second volume didn't quite deliver with its series of unrelated "cases". It was an entertaining read but only just slightly hinted at perhaps a plot element towards the end being more concerned with individual cases for the team to work on. They are interesting and philosophize about various aspects of death and souls, but I don't think I'll continue with the series at this point as I'm reading plenty of others at the moment more exciting. I may pick it up again at a later date when more volumes are out.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

UQ Holder 7 by Ken Akamatsu

UQ Holder 7 by Ken Akamatsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Review copy via Penguin Random House Canada

UQ Holder (7)

Totally awesome volume!! Stunning reveals made which up the ante for the plot going forward from this point on! A fabulous battle scene with a new villain introduced in this volume, also some cool new characters, plus, of course, the whole gang. Not only all this action but good character development as characters either admit or are revealing who really likes who. For those who have read "Negima" this volume ties the two series together with background info. Can't wait for the next book!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

School Judgment, Gakkyu Hotei: Vol. 2 by Nobuaki Enoki; illus by Takeshi Obata

School Judgment, Gakkyu Hotei: Vol. 2 by Nobuaki Enoki; illus by Takeshi Obata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: Review Copy via Viz Media

School Judgment (Vol. 2)

The second in a 3-book series is both fun and serious. This volume contains three separate legal cases while giving us a bit more information on the "Bloody Classroom Session", the overall mystery of the series. The book starts with the continuation of the magic powder case started in vol. 1 which ends up with a small treatise on what is a drug anyway and addictions in general. The second case brings in a new character that ties in with the bloody classroom tale while dealing with a plagiarism case that was quite a good mystery all in all. Finally, the last case brings in an adult prosecutor and tries to show the differences between adults and children in this world. Usually, when we have kids left to their own devices we have "Lord of the Flies" scenarios or the real life "Robber's Cave Experiment" but here mangaka Enoki makes a point that the child-lead legal system in this series is making a kinder, gentler, more rehabilitating society. Not sure how realistic that would be but I do see some merit in it. Quite a thought-provoking series, while being fun and not too heavy. Will mention this volume has lots of fan service to big boobs and of course, gorgeous art by Obata.

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by First Second
Source: egalley via netgalley

Nameless City Trilogy (#1)

I eagerly await each time Faith Erin Hicks releases a new book and to see the word "Trilogy" on the title page made my heart skip a beat. What a treat! Hicks has taken her skills to an epic level, taking on the historic fantasy tale of a city besieged by oppressors in the Eastern tradition. This fictional walled city has been taken over and renamed so many times that it is commonly known as the "Nameless City". This first volume introduces the characters, gives us the background, sets up the intrigue and carries out an assassination plot which our main characters must thwart setting the stage for more political drama in the next volume. An easy book to read with fast action and Hicks signature style containing her characteristic subject's features. Pure delight! Bring on volume two!

Red Hood/Arsenal, Vol. 1: Open for Business by Scott Lobdell

Red Hood/Arsenal, Vol. 1: Open for Business by Scott Lobdell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by DC Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Red Hood

Not very impressed. I like Red Hood because of his angst and darkness and in this new Vol. 1, he's undergone a character assassination that I don't care for at all. He also appears younger, uglier and has a horrible new haircut. Roy is usually a fun character; here he's just a younger jerk. Not liking these two new versions at all. Good thing for newcomers coming to a volume 1 though, is that everyone is introduced as if you had never heard of them before. We are told Jason used to be a Robin over and over, ad nauseum. The book may start off with Jason and Roy teaming-up as a duo but by the end, they add a third partner again, with an unbelievable choice and one of my least favourite characters. The story isn't very strong either with a newly made rag-tag group of minor villains and an amnesia batman/robot batman episode.