Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 3 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 3 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 3)

Continues along in the same vein and is settling down into being a "quest" fantasy. A new deadly sin joins the team at the beginning and we get to know the most about him and other new characters this volume, with little development on the others. Some funny stuff at the beginning with intermittent battles. Another new character comes along who seems to be a friend of the sins' except he's out to kill the new guy, Ban! This takes up the action until the final chapters when a new Holy Knight arrives to finish off the Sins. She is very powerful and the book ends mid-battle. This is one of those "fun" volumes where things go along nicely. The fantasy quest angle makes a good change of pace from the plentiful battle-action mangas for this age range. And except for those few scenes in Vol. 1 I'm quite comfortable with the age appropriateness of this series and have let my (just turned) 14yo read them. He gives the series a thumbs up.

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Two Issues Teen Titans Go! by J. Torres

Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! #1: Demo by J. Torres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Titans play a virtual video game at first as individuals against the Ninja horde until realizing that teamwork will pay off better. Meanwhile the villainous creators of the game are watching the Titans every move so they can learn how to fight them. This is a book for the younger kids with a theme of teamwork which the bad guys even learn works best for them too in the end. Decent enough for a kiddie comic.








*****


Teen Titans Go! #2: The Beast Boy Who Cried Wolf by J. Torres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another comic for the kiddies. This one obviously is a retelling of the Aesop's fable with a superhero twist. Beast Boy can't stop playing pranks, mostly making the others think he, or they all, are in trouble or under attack. So, alas, when Starfire is really being kidnapped Beast Boy can't raise anyone to action. Cute and fun team work with that little bit of a moral. Definitely one for the youngsters, not much here for adults.

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Noir Volume 1: The Mohawk Templar by Victor Gischler

Noir Volume 1: The Mohawk Templar by Victor Gischler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dynamite's Masked Man 'Verse

Ahhhh! My second favourite comics to read are Dynamite's masked heroes and I always open up a new trade with glee. This one was perfectly satisfying. Most of the masked heroes are males so what a joy to meet these two kick-but female pulp heroes: Miss Fury and Black Sparrow. A fine, rollicking "Indiana Jones"-type adventure set post WWII this is an action-packed tale that features a cameo by The Shadow in the first issue. This volume is a little more mature than what I've read previously. It's a bit sexy, has adult language and quite violent with lots of blood splatters and bruises. So the noir title really fits as I'd say this is the darkest story I've read set in this universe. But there are also lots of quips and one-liners that make it a fun, entertaining read and the catty, just starting to be friends relationship between Fury and Sparrow make a great reluctant hero duo. Miss Fury has her own book, which I haven't read yet, but I'd love to meet up with Black Sparrow again too. Her costume is awesome!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

UQ Holder 2 by Ken Akamatsu

UQ Holder 2 by Ken Akamatsu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

UQ Holder (Vol. 2)

This is getting a lot more tense and dark. Tota and Kuromaru are taken to UQ Holder Headquarters where they are thrust into a deadly challenge, a test to see if they are worthy enough to become members of the esteemed UQ. While we know Tota is a vampire, we find out the world he belongs to is filled with the yokai and Kuromaru's secret is finally revealed (which makes the OT rating for this series appropriate for 16+). There is plenty of battle with just a bit of magic and it is much more mature in presentation than other shounen. They have been sent out on their first mission which proved to be violent and we don't know whether successful yet or not. The main character Tota adds the light-heartedness to the series, even though he is proving to be much more powerful than he thought, his attitude is laissez faire and remarks flippant. On the other-hand we are getting to know much more about the serious characters of his partners Kuromaru and Karin. This follows a lot of the common shounen tropes but much more serious and mature which is reflected in the 16+ age rating. I like this!

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Damian: Son of Batman by Andy Kubert

Damian: Son of Batman by Andy Kubert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman
New 52


This is a little strange because we are transported to the future. A future where Bruce Wayne is a sick elderly man, Dick Grayson is Batman and Damian Wayne (alive and well) is still Robin. The book opens with the death of Batman and Damian coming to terms with himself taking over the reigns as the new Batman, at first he refuses to carry on the tradition of being just and drawing the line at killing but he finds everyone from all sides coming down hard on him after his string of eliminating the bad guys. He promises his father to carry on the tradition and live up to the respected role of a just Batman. This is a dark, gritty Batman with quite a few changes in this possible future which I won't mention. Alfred's situation becomes quite strange though, I will say. Not really sure what is up with that. I didn't like Damian when I first read him as a character, but the more he's developed the more I like him and Morrison does write him well. I really enjoyed the story and the art, finding it a gripping, serious read. There is a priest who shows up quite a lot who is a mysterious character who knows the Waynes but is never identified. Will this story arc continue? I want to know who he is. Damian's Batman costume is a bit weird, mostly it is the familiar costume but instead of a cape he wears a long trench coat with the utility belt, as the belt of course, and the coat's tails flow off into cape features. So it appears cape-like when he's jumping/flying around but it is definitely a coat, not a cape. I didn't find it aesthetically pleasing. But a serious take on the Batman mythos, and an intriguing look at a future scenario. Good reading.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 13, 14 & 15 by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes vols. 13, 14 & 15 by Akira Toriyama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dragon Ball (Vol. 13, 14, 15)

Vol. 13: Piccolo Conquers the World - Whoa! Things are pretty serious now as we come to the final volumes of the original series. Not a lot of humour now as it's become quite dark and tense as the demon Piccolo takes control. More of our heroes die and all the tough guys try their hand against Piccolo. Both he and Goku have increased their strength and the volume ends with a major, major battle between the two. Good stuff! (5/5)

Vol. 14: Heaven and Earth - Beginning exactly where we left off the battle between Piccolo and Goku continues and takes up a large part of this volume. Goku is so strong he hardly takes any hits at all until finally Piccolo lets loose with everything he's got. After the battle, ends are tied up and this current arc comes to a close. Goku is sent to Heaven for more training and 3 years go by until everyone meets up again at the "Strongest Under the Heavens" contest again. This goes quickly and the volume ends with the final rounds about to start. Very fast-paced page-turning read. (5/5)

Vol. 15: The Titanic Tournament - The penultimate volume! Complete and utter battles as the finals of the contest get underway. Everyone has special attacks and some have secret identities. Fantastic pairing off for the duels and I love when our friends have to battle each other so it ends up with us really not knowing who is going to win the round. Quite a bit of excitement mounts as the last battle with the Demon Son is abruptly stopped mid-battle as the Volume ends. Looking forward to the last volume! (5/5)

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3 Titles in the BATMAN STRIKES! Series by Bill Matheny

In the Clutches of the Penguin! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes: #1


Here's a Batman comic for young fans. This is based on the WB cartoon series and aimed at youngsters. From a grown-up point of view this is the least "Batman" like series I've read but in an age where comics are no longer for kids, this fits the bill nicely. Batman seems to be in his mid-twenties (it's been 20 years since his parents died) and he is a younger, hipper guy than the dark broody vigilante we are used to. Penguin is the villain here and he's drawn nothing like we are used to seeing him; I kind of liked it but over all the art is very stylized and cartoonish, not what one usually expects for Batman. The story was simple but fun and introduced a new character in this TV universe, GCPD Detective Ellen Yin. Good for the kiddies who want some Batman they can read. This is a reinforced library edition of the first issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

*****


Joker's Wild! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes! #3

This one didn't do anything for me. Yes, it is aimed at the little kids but that doesn't mean it has to be dull. You have your basic Joker steals from Batman (oh no, his mother's necklace was taken), then the Bat tracks him down and they have a bit of a fight and you-know-who wins. Not feeling any Bat love for this one It is, however, perfectly suitable for the little ones, 10 and younger, as long as cartoon punching and fisticuffs doesn't bother you. This is a reinforced library edition of the 3rd issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.




*****


Bane on the Rampage! by Bill Matheny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Batman : Batman Strikes! #4

The only thing that saves this from two stars is that Bane is a pretty cool bad guy we don't get to see all that often. Bane breaks out and goes straight for Batman. The rest of the issue they battle it out with each other until, well, the same guy always wins at the end of these comics. Every book is a happy ending for the Bat. Not much here for adults. Little ones looking for a fun Batman they can read have found their match with The Batman Strikes! This is a reinforced library edition of the 4th issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

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