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review 2017-05-24 00:59
5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior - Mark Siegel,Alexis Siegel,Xanthe Bouma,Matt Rockefeller,Boya Sun

Since you are all well aware of my obsession with Middle Grade fiction at this point, let's go ahead and skip that. Can we instead please focus on the growing existence of Middle Grade graphic novels? I am so pleased that there are more and more of these out there, and I'm determined to champion all of them! Kazu Kibuishi's blurb had me from the moment I saw this book. So I was thrilled when I was asked to join the blog tour. Warning: there's some gushing ahead. Let's go ahead and get the small qualms that I had out of the way first, though.

 

I think this graphic novel could definitely have benefited from a bit more action. It was heartening to see that the authors weren't afraid to bring the real idea of war alive on these pages. I love when MG readers aren't treated with kid gloves. However I think this book needed to move at a bit quicker of a pace. The illustrations are gorgeous, (I can't wait to actually see them all in color.) but some of the filler panels felt like a bit much. I wanted more of Oona's quest, more of their desperate rush to save the day, and just more tension in general. This first volume was missing that epic feeling that stories like this usually have for me.

 

That being said, the characters were absolutely lovely. Oona, An Tzu and Jax were all vivid, and easy to fall in love with. I loved how each of them came from a different background. The concept of race is alive and well in this book, and the idea of racism is gently touched upon as well. It makes me happy to see authors putting these things out into the world for readers of this age group to start to digest. Oona overhears people of different worlds talking badly about people of other worlds, and making mean jokes. She sees some people get upset about what others are saying. Young readers can start to get a grasp here on unity, diversity, and especially empathy. It's an amazing thing.

 

Add in the fact that the ending of this book has a twist I wasn't expecting, complete with a cliffhanger, and you have my complete attention. Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel have started something beautiful and magical with the 5 Worlds series. They've opened up a dialog that I think is important, in a way that is easy to digest and a lot of fun to read! Readers, young and old alike, will love this series. My only regret is that there isn't more of Oona's story to devour yet. I NEED to know what happens next.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-08 15:33
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New Volume 2 by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 2: Enemies Old, Enemies New - Kevin Eastman,Tom Waltz,Mateus Santolouco

Genre:  Action / Ninjas / Animals / Superheroes / Retelling


Year Published: 2016


Year Read:  2/11/2017

Publisher: IDW Publishing


Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  #2

 

Ninja

I would like to thank NetGalley and IDW Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars


Introduction:

Now, I have to tell everyone this: I am a huge fan of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” I may not have the toys or the video games to prove that, but I sure as heck got a lot of movies and DVDs to prove that theory! So, after I read part of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original 1980s run of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (the comic book series that jumpstarted the entire franchise), I was looking forward to checking out more “Ninja Turtles” comics and lo and behold, NetGalley happened to have a volume of the legendary IDW series of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” available for free called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New Volume 2!”

What is this story about?

In this reboot of the famous franchise “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” the story starts off with Master Splinter explaining to the audience about how he remembers a previous life in Feudal Japan where he was known as an honorable ninja named Hamato Yoshi, who was a member of the Foot Clan. But one day, when Hamato Yoshi’s former ally Oroku Saki wanted to kill a group of innocent people to show everyone that the Foot Clan was powerful, Yoshi disagreed with him and left the clan. Yoshi’s depature caused Oroku Saki to go to Yoshi’s house and murder his entire family and also Yoshi himself and at this moment, the audience wonders what became of this life that Master Splinter was reminiscing about. Meanwhile, during the present time, April and Casey Jones had finally met each other due to April needing someone to teach her self-defense, which Casey was obliged to do and Casey needing a tutor to help bring his grades up in school, which April could do. Later on, Baxter Stockman is up to no good as he creates a set of machines called “Mousers” in order to take down the Ninja Turtles and to grab Master Splinter so that way he could use Splinter’s blood to make super powered mutants for General Krang’s army!

What I loved about this story:

Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz’s writing: I will admit that I was a bit interested in seeing how a reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” would look like since we were going to get a reboot of this long running franchise eventually. So after reading this graphic novel, I was actually quite impressed with how they rebooted the origin story of the Ninja Turtles while remaining faithful to the original series. I loved the fact that Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz retold Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Saki’s backstory to the audience since I have always felt that it was important to explain about Master Splinter’s backstory to the newer audience so that way, they could understand the world of the Ninja Turtles much better if they know about Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Saki’s backstories. Even though I wished that more was explored with in this department, I enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other, especially the turtles with Master Splinter and April and Casey with each other! I like the fact that the turtles refer to Master Splinter as their father as it made their relationship much more heartwarming to watch and actually gives a closer emphasis on how the turtles see Master Splinter as more than their sensei. I also enjoyed the growing interaction with April and Casey as I enjoyed seeing them share their personal lives with each other and I was also interested in how April was able to witness the turtles and Master Splinter’s transformation into the mutated heroes they are known as now and I am really interested to see where April and Casey will go after this volume!

Dan Duncan and Mateus Santolouco’s artwork: Even though the artwork is a bit too scratchy, I do enjoy the dark and gritty feel of the artwork as it shows that this retelling of the Ninja Turtles is dark and edgy like the original Mirage Comics and I also enjoyed the action sequences as they are shown in great detail.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this book a three and a half star rating was because while the story was interesting, I felt that the story tended to jump around a bit too much due to having so many events happening in one volume (the turtles learning about their origins, April and Casey meeting each other, Baxter Stockman building his mousers, Krang trying to create an army) and the story felt a bit cluttered as a result. Also, I felt that while the artwork showed the action sequences in great detail, it was a bit too scratchy for my tastes and it was hard to see exactly what the characters were doing with the artwork being halfway blurred out and not being able to fully see the characters’ actions.

[****SPOILER ALERT****

This is a bit of a small nitpick, but I find the fact that in this version, the turtles and Master Splinter were actually Hamato Yoshi and his sons reincarnated to be a bit too far-fetched for my tastes. Maybe as a long-time fan of this series, I was so used to the turtles just being mutated by ooze and the fact that they are reincarnated in this version just seems a bit odd to me. Maybe once I read future volumes of this rebooted series, I might start to get used to the idea of the turtles and Splinter being reincarnations of their former selves.

****SPOILER ENDED**** (hide spoiler)]


Final Thoughts:

Overall, even though “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New Volume 2” was an interesting read and a pretty decent retelling of the Ninja Turtles stories, the cluttered storytelling and scratchy artwork made this volume a bit difficult to read through at times and I hope it improves in the next volume.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-03-14 00:23
Garfield Brings Home the Bacon by Jim Davis
Garfield Brings Home the Bacon: His 53rd Book - Jim Davis

Genre:  Humor / Animals / Relationships



Year Published:  2012



Year Read: 1/14/2017



Series:  Garfield #53

 

 

 

Publisher: Ballantine Books 

 

 

 

Garfield

Introduction:

Since I have been reading “Garfield” comics like almost every year since I started this comic book series years ago, I have decided to make it a tradition for myself to read a “Garfield” comic every year and this year, I picked up another “Garfield” comic called “Garfield Brings Home the Bacon” and it is just as hilarious and witty as the previous “Garfield” comic books I had read!

What is this story about?

In this collection, Garfield continues to have fun adventures with his dorky owner Jon Arbuckle, his dim witted sidekick Odie and the sane Liz as his adventures go from having dreams about food falling from the sky to smacking spiders left and right!

What I loved about this story:

Jim Davis’ writing: Jim Davis’ writing continues to be witty and hilarious to read through as I thoroughly enjoyed Garfield’s snarky comments about Jon’s dorky ways and Odie’s simple mindedness and I also loved the fact that Garfield and Liz seem to bond with each other due to both of them being snarky towards Jon’s odd lifestyle, although Liz is a bit more understanding of the two due to dating Jon. I also enjoyed seeing Arlene, Garfield’s love interest, in this collection since it is rare that we see storylines that revolve around Arlene and I hope that the future “Garfield” comic book collections feature more of Arlene just so we can see another cat who can match wits with Garfield!

Jim Davis’ artwork: Jim Davis’ artwork is as usual hilarious and creative to look at as all the characters are drawn in an exaggerated manner. But the two characters that really stood out in this volume were Liz and Arlene themselves as they are drawn with huge lips and eyelashes that set them apart from the rest of the goofy cast!

Garfield

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Garfield Brings Home the Bacon” is another fantastic collection of “Garfield” comics that anyone who is a huge fan of “Garfield” will enjoy greatly!


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-02-27 11:26
Wraithborn
Wraithborn - Marcia Chen,Joe Benitez

[I received an e-copy of this comics through NetGalley.]

This first volume collects issues 1 to 6 of the 'Redux edition. Most of the book is actually a flashback (explaing what led to the events of the first pages), but reads as a full story nonetheless. It introduces us to the main characters of 'Wraithborn', starting with Melanie, a normal and shy teenager who only wants to go through high school life relatively unscathed and unbullied, and thus does her best to remain invisible and not attracted unwanted attention. Only that's what she does when she accidentally receives the power of the Wraithborn, intended for another, and finds herself pursued by an antagonist who wants nothing more than this power for herself.

I found the art in general fairly good, with dynamic action scenes and vibrant colours, although (as often in such cases) the women's clothing is nothing too practical, and Melanie's features seemed maybe too... mature? Including when she's still a clueless teenager. So at first I thought she was more like 25 instead of 15, which felt a bit weird.

Some characters were likeable, like Zoe, with her weird fashion sense and the way she helps Melanie. Mel herself was more subdued, so it took me more time to warm up to her. Val... well, I still kind of wonder if he's going to tell Mel the truth, or if he'll do the not-so-nice thing. Could go either way. He didn't act like the vindicative, jealous type he could've been, all circumstances considered, so bonus point.

The story itself was interesting enough, albeit not too original compared to other works with similar themes. The villains are ruthless, the heroes may or may not be set up for betrayal later by those they trust most, and there's the lingering mystery of why the original 'carrier' of the Wraithborn was outside, instead of preparing for the ceremony (and therefore had to give his power to the first passer-by who happened to be around): either there's something fishy here or it was a plot hole, and I really hope it's the former... but, of course, this is the kind of information that is likely to be revealed only later.

Conclusion: I may pick the next volume in ebook, but probably not in paper version.

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review 2017-02-23 16:37
DNF @ 25%
Kaijumax Vol. 1 - Zander Cannon,Zander Cannon

So, I gave this a fair shake! One of my best reader buddies was totally in love with this series, and then it popped up on Comixology Unlimited. Free, and loved by someone that I adore? Sold. 

 

Alas, despite the fact that the art is pretty cute, this just wasn't for me. Maybe I'm just not that into Kaiju. Maybe it drove me slightly mad because of the way they talk. Maybe this was actually a lot more violent than I thought it would be... but yeah. Not in love.

 

DNF, and onto the next comic!

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