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review 2017-08-21 01:16
What The What Did I Just Read?!
Lumberjanes Volume 1 - Noelle Stevenson,Grace Ellis

This was not at all what I expected!  I honestly thought it would just be girls having adventures while camping; and while it is, it also isn't.  There is a whole other story going on and it's all bizarre and supernatural.  Strange things are afoot and the poor Lumberjanes keep stumbling into weirdness. It's kinda like a female cast of the Goonies meets the Brothers Winchester.  They are quirky and fun characters.  Their reaction to things and their terminology is so 80's!  It's like stepping back into my childhood.  I got this because I thought it would be something fun that both my daughter and myself could read and enjoy.  Well, this was a really fun read, and I have a feeling my daughter will like it even more than I did!

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review 2017-08-19 21:36
Lady Mechanika - Vol. 1
Lady Mechanika, Volume 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse - Joe Benitez

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Set in an alternate Victorian (circa 1879) England, this comics deals with Lady Mechanika, a private investigator/adventuress whose limbs are actually mechanical, and who’d like nothing more than to find out who made her like that and where she comes from; all the while being pitted against the sinister Blackpool Armaments Co. and both its shady employer and soldiers. In this arc, Mechanika investigates the death of a mysterious young woman with mechanical arms similar to her own, only to realise that a lot more players are involved, including Commander Winter and a circus full of characters each with their own secrets.

The drawing style itself is, in general, well-balanced and elegant, and the colours match the mood of the various panels and situations. It’s probably a little overkill on the steampunk aesthetics (in that at some point, there’s going to be a lot of leather and corsets and goggles on top hats etc.), so depending on one’s mood about that, it may not be a selling point. On the other hand, there’s a lot of attention to details, which makes it a joy to look for those in panels, and even if they’re of the, well, aesthetic persuasion in spite of usefulness, there’s plenty to keep your eyes busy. (I usually tends to like steampunk aesthetics, so count me in the second category, even though I tend to criticise lightly. ^^)

Not bonus points on the boobs, though, and some of the extreme ‘female body poses’ that I see in a lot of comics. Eye candy and all that, I get it. It’s just... it detracts from the overall badassness of the characters. (And large boobs are seriously not convenient, especially since they easily hurt during stunts. Whatever.)

The characters as a lot were likeable enough: from Mechanika herself, with her doubts but also her resourcefulness and her desire to do what’s right, to Lewis the inventor whose bottle problems hint at dark events in his past. And the little Alexandra, with her gimmick ‘you’re an impostor’atttitude, which made her quibs with Mechanika quite funny—apparently some authors in the comics write stories about M, and the kid thinks these are the truth. There seems to be a current of underlying relationships that beg to be developed in later issues, creating a sense of an over-plot that will be gradually revealed (which I sure hope will happen in later issues because if it doesn’t, I’ll be disappointed). So far I’m not too happy with the two enemy women apparently becoming enemies because of a man (as it’s a pretty boring reason), but it may still turn out to be something slightly different, so we’ll see. I could do with a little less wordiness, though—it doesn’t fare too well in some panels, making pages difficult to focus on—yet I’m also torn about that because some of that dialogue was of the banter kind, and I think this fits well with Victorian/steampunk themes in general.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars, going on 4.Quite an enjoyable comics in spite of the (typical?) eye-candy. I still liked the artwork and additional covers no matter what, as well as the story and its slight cliffhanger/ominous tones at the end.

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review 2017-08-14 03:56
New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China
New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man - New Super-Man (Rebirth)) - Gene Luen Yang,Viktor Bogdanovic

This book had a weak start, but a stronger finish. It started off with Kong Kenan bullying a classmate. When that classmate was attacked by a supervillain, he threw a can at him and managed to save his classmate. This was caught on camera and Kenan pretended to be a hero to impress the cute reporter interviewing him. Based on this action alone, Kenan was chosen by a secret government organization to be turned into the New Super-Man and be part of the newly created Justice League of China along with the Chinese Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man. The two people chosen to be Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were both vetted and trained before given powers, but not Kenan. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to give him the powers without any further research into him.

 

Kenan then had difficulties controlling his new powers, understandably, so was told to research the original Justice League members to learn more. When Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were sent out to save someone, Kenan convinced the leader of the project to let him go to because he knew the passcode to get into the place the woman lived. I didn't understand why they didn't just make him tell them the passcode or even just have Wonder-Woman fly herself and Bat-Man over the gates since she can fly. Kenan's powers were unstable and he'd had no training at this point. And he did indeed proceed to mess things up in a huge way. The secret organization just made a lot of highly questionable decisions in the beginning of the book that had me wondering how they'd managed to get this far.

 

Luckily things improved once the story focused more on Kenan's relationship with his father and his maturing as a person as he began to realize the new responsibility he suddenly had with these powers. Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were a good balance for him as more veteran heroes who have a better handle on their powers and the responsibility that comes with it, while still having room for character growth as they bonded with the New Super-Man. I liked their group dynamics.

 

I do feel like there were too many characters introduced in just one book though. In addition to the 3 superheroes of the Justice League of China, there were 2 opposing teams introduced, resulting in about 20 superheroes and supervillains introduced in just 6 issues. And that's not counting the non-supers also in the book. One of the teams didn't get fleshed out at all, so I'm guessing they'll get more focus later, but it was just hard to keep everyone straight with so many people getting introduced.

 

Despite a weak start due to a lot of questionable decision-making from the government agency giving the powers to the New Super-Man, the 3 members of the Justice League of China made an endearing team that were fun to watch work together. And with Kenan's relationship with his father, this book created a nice foundation for Kenan's journey to being a hero. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next.

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review 2017-08-13 04:26
Lio: Making Friends by Mark Tatulli
Lio: Making Friends - Mark Tatulli

Genre:  Horror / Comedy / Fantasy / Animals

Year Published:  2013

Year Read: 6/8/2017

 

Series: Lio

 

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

 

Lio

What is this story about? 

Check out more adventures of Lio and his spooky friends in this graphic novel series as Lio gets into more hilarious and creepy situations such as sending a “thank you” note to the Grim Reaper, trying to attract the attention of his love interest, a girl who constantly beats him up, receiving a birthday cake that explodes on impact and taking Godzilla to Tokyo! 

What I loved about this story: 

After I had read the previous volume “There’s a Monster in my Socks,” I wanted to check out more of Mark Tatulli’s hilarious and creepy “Lio” series and I was certainly not disappointed with this installment! I loved the way that Mark Tatulli manages to weave both horror and comedy into this volume as I found myself laughing at some of the situations that Lio gets himself into, especially the “exploding birthday cake” scene which I found to be the funniest strip in this volume! Mark Tatulli’s artwork helps narrate the stories in this volume as this series does not have any text to narrate the stories and yet, the artwork itself tells the stories and bring out the punchlines of the dark jokes. I also loved the appearance of Lio himself as he has blank eyes and slick hair and he really stands out from the monster characters he is constantly hanging out with as he looks adorable while the monster characters look creepy and goofy.

Lio

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

A bit of a warning for anyone who does not like dark humor; this volume contains some punchlines that might be too dark for some readers to handle such as a child being eaten by a shark when Lio holds a bobbing for apples game and Lio’s toy bunny eating up a bully.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “Lio: Making Friends” is another fantastic read from Mark Tatulli’s legendary “Lio” series!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-08-04 19:50
Bizenghast Collectors Edition 1
Bizenghast Volume 1 - M. Alice LeGrow

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I've had this comic book on my shelf to read and review for quite some time, I just didn't get to it until now. (I've known about it for quite, quite some time, back when the author posted on deviantART, and when I saw it on NetGalley, well, it reminded me that at some point, many years ago, I used to check on the related art from time to time.) The copy I got is the Collectors Edition, vollume 1, gathering the first chapters of the Bizenghast series, and I'd say it's more an introduction for now, but still giving the reader to see enough.

A strange girl who isn't getting over her parents' death and whose health seems to suffer in consequence; a boy who seems to be her only friend, in the small remote town where she lives with her aunt who doesn't know what to do with her; and a contract signed in a mysterious castle with a strange arachnoid-slash-humanoid being, with the goal of freeing spirits who couldn't find solace in death, following a trail of riddles. I am not sure yet where this is leading, but in themselves, the first 'tasks' involved sufficiently creepy elements to keep me hooked.

The art is sometimes confusing and inconsistent, though, potentially because it's a work that started years ago, and one can see the author's style changed over the years. Still, it's worth a read.

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