Monday, June 27, 2016

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 196 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Perfect Square (first published 1992)
Source: My son owns it

Zelda

This is a lot of fun! It collects the 12 chapter series that was originally published in the 1992 issues of "Nintendo Power" magazine. It's certainly a story for juveniles but still a fun read for anyone who likes Zelda. I only ever played the original NES game but I've watched my sons play every incarnation since then. This is loosely based on the game of the same name, with changes to add excitement. I love the art! It reminds me of Akira Toriyama's style and I love the book's magazine size with full-colour glossy pages.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Orpheus in the Underworld by Yvan Pommaux

Orpheus in the Underworld by Yvan Pommaux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 56 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by TOON Graphics
Orig. French, 2009
Source: Received a review copy from the publisher

TOON Books: Level 4

This is one of the higher level books in the TOON series and the second book by Pommaux in a subseries of mythologies. I'm a great reader of Greek mythology but this is one I have lesser familiarity with. I guess, I steer away from the love stories. It's a great tale though and half of it takes place in Hades, my favourite stories always involve Hades. This tale is a combination of "Romeo and Juliet" (doomed lovers) and the biblical story of Lot's wife (can't resist the temptation to look back). An exciting tale including love and romance, tragedy, and the doom and gloom of the Underworld. The art is gorgeous and appropriately done in the classic style. Another winner from Toon Books!

World War Two: Against The Rising Sun by Jason Quinn

World War Two: Against The Rising Sun by Jason Quinn
Illus.  Naresh Kumar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 168 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Campfire
Source: Received a review copy from the publisher

I'll be brutally honest; this is not a page-turner nor is it exciting or entertaining. However, it is the best book for teens I've read on the Pacific War & the Asian Holocaust. It is informative, interesting and intense. Compellingly unbiased this graphic novel tells the soldier's story of the Pacific War from every angle: the Japanese, the British the Burmese, the Thai, the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians (those fighting for each side), Malaysians, Australians and the Americans. While not being terribly graphic in either pictures or words, the author & illustrator pull no punches in showing the atrocities of the Japanese and their cultural mindset at this time. It also explores the plight of many countries trying to choose between their British Empirical oppressors or the tyrant Japanese who falsely promise an "Asia for Asians". Fantastic piece of work on this subject that every library with teen readers should have on the shelves.

Amelia's Middle-School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss

Amelia's Middle-School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Creston Books
Source: Received a review copy from the publisher

Amelia's Notebooks (#31)

This is the latest and the first Amelia book I've read.There are somewhere around 30 books in the series now, starting with her in Grade 3 and this one celebrates her graduation from Grade 8. It's a big year with some upcoming shocks, and high school will once again put her on low totem pole starting off wth Gr. 9. This isn't really a graphic novel, it's more story but it does have drawings and comic bubbles meaning it can claim to be a graphic hybrid. I love these styles of books such as (Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Jedi Academy) Amelia's book is short, looks just like a composition notebook and is written in a handprint font. Fun heart-warming story! I'd have no problem going back and reading the series from the beginning someday.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

FCBD 2016 Nobrow Hilda/Akissi/Fantasy Sports by Luke Pearson, et al.

FCBD 2016 Nobrow Hilda/Akissi/Fantasy Sports by Luke Pearson, et al.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Comic Book, 32 pages
Published 2016 by Nobrow Press
Source: gift

I review a lot of books for Nobrow/Flying Eye and they were kind enough to surprise me by mailing me their first contribution to "Free Comic Book Day". This is a great little comic for fans or the uninitiated who want to see what Nobrow is all about. First, there's a part of "Hilda and the Stone Forest" which is the latest book in the series. I'm one book behind still but this makes me look forward to this volume. Then comes "Akissi" which I've never heard of but was very funny, It is for the younger crowd and possibly may be set in Africa somewhere. Then finally is part of Fantasy Sports Vol. 2, which I have read and am not a fan, but it translates to this format well and is a good introduction to let you know what the series is all about. Thick, quality, glossy paper.

Tokyo ESP 2-in-1 Omnibus, Volume 4 by Hajime Segawa

Tokyo ESP 2-in-1 Omnibus, Volume 4 by Hajime Segawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 388 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Vertical Comics
Source: Purchased the print copy

Tokyo ESP (Vol. 4)

Continues to be fabulous! The art is fantastic. I just love this series. This volume begins a little confusing as it's over a year since the last book and we are introduced to new characters. These characters attend the Superhuman school and by the end of the book I'd fallen for all of them. A new bad guy has turned up following in the Professor's footsteps creating the Superhuman Defense front. They all wear masks so we don't know who they are. A few are revealed this volume. We have very brief glimpses of the White Girl and a hint at what she's been up to, but the ending suggests she'll be a part of the series again soon. This volume ends with all our new major characters in peril. Thank goodness Vol. 5 arrived in the mail this week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

Goodnight Punpun Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 2 by Inio Asano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Goodnight Punpun (Vol 2)

This is difficult for me to really discuss, as the book really makes my mind spin. It's dark, vulgar and trippy. Punpun's story continues and by the book's end, he is high school age. He goes through normal events for this age of teen boys but he suffers extreme depression, talks to an imaginary head he calls "God" and is generally doom and gloom about everything. This volume has a side story telling the background of his uncle, how he starts dating again and the woman moves in with them. Punpun's uncle is a major depressive and his past with women is totally whacked out. I still find it very hard to identify with these characters (Punpun and his family) simply because they are drawn as bird-like stick figures. The sex scenes are plain creepy. However, I find the whole story so dark and deep, it is utterly compelling... go figure. The volume ends with a life or death situation and I cannot help but continue to read on.

Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt

Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt
Illustrator: 
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by Dark Horse Books
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Unfortunately, this was a letdown. I love Matt Kindt, with "2 Sisters" and "Red-Handed" being among my favourite of his standalone books. I was excited to see he'd written a kids book but found it very bland, if not boring. Kindt's books usually contain quite complex stories leaving one with much to this about. Poppy doesn't come anywhere near that quality. For an action/adventure, I found the tale incredibly dull and had to force myself to finish the book. The main character is unlikable as she's a know-it-all with no respect for her mature guardian. The plot just had the two of them (using various James Bond type vehicles) following some fish and a "gigantapus" because the ecosystem they lived in had failed when they left the region. The book ends all mysterious letting us know there are plans for another book in the series.

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 15 by Adachitoka

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 15 by Adachitoka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by Kodansha Comics
Source: Received a review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Noragami: Stray God (#15)

Another intense volume! Most of the first part has to do with the yearly council of the Gods, Yukine doesn't want to go. There is a lot of tension throughout with Kazuma and I really don't like him at this point though I did earlier. Finally, we meet the #1 god, the highest ranking god over the gods and she is a troublemaker! There's a cool story to finish with how Bishamon gets herself an unusual new shinki. Loved the ending art!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wandering Star by Teri S. Wood

Wandering Star by Teri S. Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published June 20th 2016 by Dover Publications
Original published 1993
Source: egalley via netgalley

Indie comic artistry at it's finest! Collected here for the first time are all 21 issues of Teri Wood's "Wandering Star". A Forward and an Introduction give us a lot of backstory on the making of this comic and its history.This is pure space opera and I loved every minute of it. The art is rough and raw in its pencilled 1990s indie style, but it is quality and once you immerse yourself in the story you forget about modern sleek computer-drawn comics. The story is typical: a warrior race works its way around the galaxy taking over planets and turning the inhabitants into slaves with mind control devices. Earth has newly joined the Alliance and the story starts with the President's daughter attending the Academy. The story contains just about everything you could possibly want from an adventure in space. There are side stores to keep each issue fresh and the book reads brilliantly as one large cohesive unit. Teri is a talented storyteller and her main characters are lovable. The book ends with a reproduction of the original issue #1 that she made in her garage. This was really fun to see how her art changed dramatically and where the hints of her overall story started from. A must read for collectors of this genre.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma

Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 56 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Nobrow Press
first published September 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Fantasy Sports (#1)

Well, this sounded a lot better than it turned out to be. The art is manga-ish but this a Bande dessinée and the art favours the French style even with the touch of manga. So I enjoyed the art. The story starts out well. There's a skeleton character (always a favourite for me). But Mug and his intern Whiz start on a treasure hunt which looks promising until the mummy of the tomb challenges them to a game of 21 Basketball. Then the rest of the book is simply a basketball game, back and forth sports action, which, to sports UNenthusiast me, found utterly boring. The last page is gross, though. I have volume two here so I'm going to read it and see if it gets any better.

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by First Second
Source: egalley via edelweiss

This is from First Second's line of picture books (kind of a first introduction to graphic novels). As can always be expected from Ben Hatke this is a lovely book with wonderful illustrations. I collect skeletons, and always love a book with a skeleton as the main character. All the makings of a fun fantasy with Goblins, a troll and elves, plus other creatures in the background. My favourite part was when the "Adventurers" raided Goblin's cave and there was a warrior, mage, dwarf and thief just like any good RPG or D&D team!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Murder by Remote Control by Janwillem van de Wetering

Murder by Remote Control by Janwillem van de Wetering; Paul Kirchner (illus)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 20th 2016 by Dover Publications
first published 1986
Source: egalley via netgalley

Very weird. First, there is the basic story of a man fishing out on the lake and attacked by a remote control airplane. He's found dead and a special agent is sent to the quiet Maine shore to investigate the inhabitants of a few houses along the shore. They all could have motives for wanting the man dead. But each person's investigation turns into surreal dream-like LSD trips and it's all very outlandish and frankly, odd. Then when the case is over and the agent goes home, there is a little twist that makes the whole thing simply bizarre. The art is quirky and trippy and what really makes the comic readable. Certainly not recommended for crime purists but those who enjoy pondering the surreal.

Planetes Omnibus, Volume 2 by Makoto Yukimura

Planetes Omnibus, Volume 2 by Makoto Yukimura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 528 pages
Published May 10th 2016, Dark Horse
Orig. 2004 in Japan
Source: Purchased print edition

Planetes Omnibus (#2)

Powerful! The characters grow, develop, get married and we learn their pasts. This volume becomes very emotional as the many facets of love are explored. Also, the characters struggle with their place in the world when faced with the vastness of space. A few new quirky characters keep some humour to temper the darkness. I loved the characters and this is one series I'll probably re-read. Not only a great story but a quality book that will be a keeper for my shelves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Einstein by Corinne Maier

Einstein by Corinne Maier; Anne Simon (illus)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 72 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Nobrow Press
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Maier's biographies

Excellent graphic biography on Einstein focusing on his Theory of Relativity. I've read the book on Marx which the author wrote in this series and had great expectations for this one which were thoroughly realised. An amazing amount of information has been conveyed and takes a look all facets of Einstein: his accomplishments, his detractors, his personality and his weaknesses (mainly philandering). The story is told from Einstein's point of view with him hovering over as perhaps his old self or "ghost", all-knowingly telling his tale with hindsight. Many famous Einstein quips can be found amongst the dialogue and it is both informative and entertaining. An excellent addition to Maier's series of biographies on (so far) great 20th century minds.

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 2 by Keiichi Hikami

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 2 by Keiichi Hikami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss & pre-ordered print edition

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter (2)

Yeh, loving this manga even though I don't play the game. This volume is full of battle action, starting off continuing the battle from Vol. 1. Raiga and Keres learn how to fight as a team through all this battling so their characters are developed and they've become friends, with the animosity still there. The plot progresses by having a year pass in time and the duo get sent on another mission where a village is being unusually hindered by monsters. They meet up with another team and the village has its own monster hunter, so the cast is increased dramatically.

Planetes Omnibus, Volume 1 by Makoto Yukimura

Planetes Omnibus, Volume 1 by Makoto Yukimura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 528 pages
Published December 22nd 2015 by Dark Horse Manga
Orignal Japanese, 1999
Source: Purchased print edition

Planetes (1)

This is by the same author as the currently running "Vinland Saga". The art is absolutely fantastic and this edition by Dark Horse is a beautiful book. Volume 1 is an omnibus containing the first half of the series. Each chapter starts with the original colour pages and the book itself is made of thick quality paper. The story is hard science fiction and I think this is my first manga like this. The main theme is space travel and the main character's training for a mission to Jupiter. The characters are both quirky and dark and I was wrapped up in the story very quickly. The book leaves me with a lot of thought as the topics are very philosophical and deep. I've not read a manga quite like this before and am looking forward to reading the final volume.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Superman (New 52), Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? by George Pérez

Superman (New 52), Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? by George Pérez; Jesus Merino (illus)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Purchased ebook edition

New 52
Superman & Family

I really enjoyed this story! The dialogue was corny sometimes like a couple of times someone said, "This is a job for Superman!" LOL. But the story was pretty good. Superman has to fight off these aliens who take on characteristics of his powers: a fire being, an ice being and one who is invisible to only Superman. Eventually, they take him over and we have a "bad" Superman again. Supergirl turns up in the last issue to help. Fun!

Resurrection Man (New 52), Vol. 1: Dead Again by Dan Abnett;

Resurrection Man (New 52), Vol. 1: Dead Again by Dan Abnett; Andy Lanning (illus)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Purchased print edition

New 52
Resurrection Man


Resurrection Man is new to me I'd never heard of him before. He's really cool though and belongs to the dark, paranormal group of superheroes. At least I'm pretty sure he's a hero. Every time he dies he is resurrected quickly with new superpowers. In this volume, agents from both Heaven and Hell are trying to get him and bring him "home" as his soul has been around way too long. In the meantime, he has forgotten who he is and where he came from, his past, and is searching for clues and people who can help him find that information. Lots of action and battles and a decent read. I'd like to read more about him.

Deathstroke (New 52), Vol. 1: Legacy by Kyle Higgins

Deathstroke (New 52), Vol. 1: Legacy by Kyle Higgins; Joe Bennett (illus)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by DC Comics
Source: Purchased print edition

New 52
Deathstroke

Not exactly a compelling story or anything. But introduces an older, tired Deathstroke, bringing in his son and father,showing why he does what he does. Lots of action and violence. Worth a read if you like that.

PS: also has a tie-in with The Blackhawks (New 52) volume.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 2 & Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski;

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by J. Michael Straczynski;  Shane Davis (illus)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by DC Comic
Source: Library

Superman & Family
Earth One (#3)

Very satisfying follow-up to Volume One, giving us a new take on the Superman story. This volume is all action as some old villains with new twists return to Metropolis. The main story concerns a serial killer who accidentally gets zapped by some sort of radiation and turns into Parasite. This gives Parasite a new origin story and identity. The fight between Supe and Parasite gives some good old fashioned superhero battles as the main story, but behind the scenes, the military is wary of Superman and trying to discover a way to kill him, if he ever turns against mankind. Entering on the scene are Lex Luther and his wife Alexandra. So far Lex seems to be a decent, moral kind of guy while his wife is the one with grandeurs of power. The art is fantastic too. Especially the nice modern take on Jimmy Olsen, getting rid of his nerdy image for a more attractive, hunky look.



Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski; Ardian Syaf (illus)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by DC Comics
Source: Library

Superman & Family
Earth One (#5)

Excellent! The best of the Earth One Superman books. I'm really enjoying this origin story! The art is by a different person this time, but they've kept to the same style and look. There are new characters we haven't had in the Superman-verse before and I'm liking them, but also there is a return of familiar ones. This volume has Superman working to save the world when another survivor of Krypton arrives to destroy him. Since Earth isn't taking too kindly to Supe's interfering with world affairs they turn a blind eye to it, but everything works out in the end. I love that Lex Luthor is a good guy in this, but Superman makes an enemy of the Luthor family nevertheless. Great read!

Now I'm all caught up with the Earth One series and looking forward to Jeff Lemire's Teen Titans Vol. 2 coming out this August, which will be Vol. 7 of the entire series.

Nichijou: an ordinary life, 2 by Keiichi Arawi

Nichijou: an ordinary life, 2 by Keiichi Arawi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Vertical Comics
First published in Japan, 2007
Source: Purchased print edition

Nichijou (2)

I absolutely loved the first volume but volume two was a big letdown. It wasn't as funny, hardly any scenes took place at the school and the sketches were all over the place. At least the first volume had a cohesion which is entirely missing from the second volume. Disappointed. I'm not going to continue with this series at this time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 15 by Kiiro Yumi

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 15 by Kiiro Yumi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 189 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: own print copy

Library Wars: Love & War (15)

Last volume! Sigh ... The mission is all wrapped up. The Library Forces have brought about some change and the future looks bright. Then we have Dojo and Iku, true love, and pages and pages of them kissing.

School Judgment, Vol. 3: Gakkyu Hotei by Nobuaki Enoki

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

Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

School Judgment, Gakkyu Hotei (#3)

Excellent finale to this 3-volume series. The book starts off with one last case involving a locked room (almost) murder. This was my favourite case of the whole series! Then the plot finally settles on solving the "Bloody Classroom Session" which has been the overall story arc since the first volume. I found the wrap up quite intense and satisfying even though it seemed to be a more culturally Japanese solution rather than one would find in an American mystery. Even though it's only three volumes I really enjoyed the characters and thought they had real development over the entire series. I really enjoyed the legal aspect of the story and will have to look for more manga in this genre.

Black Clover, Vol. 1 by Yūki Tabata

Black Clover, Vol. 1 by Yūki Tabata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Black Clover (1)

This is packed with just about every element you can imagine from shounen: magic users, guilds, battle spells, spell books, weird odd characters, sexy puns and an immature self-confidant main character. Asta wants to become the Wizard King but he has no magic so he's trained his body with physical strength. This first volume sees him join the lowest guild filled with misfits, receive the magic of "anti-magic" and go on his first mission. We can see a lot of influence from other manga, especially "Fairy Tail" and Zatch Bell", so nothing unique about this first volume. It's a lot of fun, though, tons of battles and humour, and we get introduced to a bunch of characters.