Posted in Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki


*No Major Spoilers*

Harleen is a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who lives in a ramshackle apartment above a karaoke cabaret owned by a drag queen named Mama. Ever since Harleen’s parents split, Mama has been her only family. When the cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harleen gets mad.

When Harleen decides to turn her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or join The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel caught my eye at the library, and I thought I’d give it a try. I do like Harley Quinn as a character and since this was going to be a new take on her origin story I thought this deserved my attention. So let’s shatter this review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass!

First off, I love the diverse cast of characters involved. Ivy is African American and even though her parents are an active part of the community they still struggle with fighting the gentrification of the neighborhood. Ivy spends a lot of her high school days protesting the school’s film club’s non-diverse movie club. I think seeing her fight for justice as a whole and not just environmental issues makes her a more relatable character.

Harley is as chaotic as always. She’s picking fights with boys she calls ‘boogers’ and teaches them a valuable lesson about not messing with her or her family. She behaves like she’s in middle school and not in high school, which got on my nerves a bit. Harley quickly falls in love with her found family and seeing her defend them was heartwarming.

I was glad this novel wasn’t 100% focused on Harley and Joker. I do enjoy seeing the friendship dynamic between Harley and Ivy no matter what story or universe. Joker is more of a background character up until the final climax. He is still somewhat rational, and Harley even sees that eventually.

I don’t really have any major gripes with this story except Harley’s immaturity and the overuse of the word ‘booger’. Again, this is supposed to take place during high school not middle or elementary school. Just a small nitpick on my part.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fun graphic novel. It was a fresh take on Harley Quinn’s backstory and I thought this was a great found family story also. Even though Harley’s insults toward boys could’ve been more diverse, I think this suits Harley as well.

Posted in Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Comic Book Edition


*No Major Spoilers*

Batman vs Bigby: A Wolf in Gotham by Bill Willingham

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I like the video game, A Wolf Among Us and I think it was interesting to see two great detectives go head to head on a case. Small learning curve is involved because of the video game being mentioned, but I think the comic explains itself pretty well. There are a lot of literary references scattered throughout the story and I enjoyed the Easter Eggs.


The Death of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay and Lee Garbett

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I like how the comics and movies aren’t carbon copies of each other. The comics and the movies are their own separate universes. But enough about that. I have read different eras of Doctor Strange and I loved the character before I saw Benedict Cumberbatch’s interpretation of the Sorcerer Supreme. After I finished the story, I watched a video that explains the story just to make sure I understood it. The narrator seemed ‘meh’ on the story, but I thought it was fantastic. Not too much of a learning curve if you have basic knowledge of Doctor Strange, and what I didn’t know about the character was explained well in the story itself.


Lady Mechanika Vol 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse by Joe Benitez

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received this comic from 2019’s Free Comic Friday, and I never got around to reading the issue at the time. I get easily distracted by other books, so it’s difficult for me to stick to a regiment of reading. Nonetheless, the world of Lady Mechanika is terrifying yet fascinating. In the story, there was a cirque visiting the outskirts of the town, and even though they were involved in the mystery, I would’ve like to see their show.


D.C. Bombshells Vol 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I liked having a women-driven story. Seeing Batwoman play baseball, and deal with haters makes it seem like not much has changed between WWII and today. Learning that in this story Batwoman is Jewish and part of the LGBT+ community made her a relatable character in my opinion. I like how no matter the story, Harley Quinn will always find Poison Ivy, just like how Harley always finds the Joker.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

UPDATED REVIEW: Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley By Tony Lee and Sam Hart

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*Historical Spoilers*

A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been waiting for a long time to find a good pirate story. Sure it’s nonfiction, however, Pirate Queen takes the high-stakes adventures of pirating up to 11. I love how this is not just a story about pirates and how they were degenerates and on the lowest caste of society. This is a story about how a woman saw that her country needed her, and not only stepped up to the plate, but made a name for herself as the Queen of the Pirates.

I am not familiar with the time period or Grace O’Malley and I think this graphic novel does an excellent job at telling a complicated story. A story that I imagine has been lost to time to a certain extent due to the “colonization” of Ireland. I never felt lost or confused as the story progressed and seeing how not only Grace’s worldview changed over time, but the world as a whole was changing.

My favorite part was how the O’Malley clan was deep in a battle and Grace was below decks giving birth to a baby boy. As soon as the birth was complete, she wrapped her baby up and went to confront the British soldiers. So awesome to see how progressive she was for her time.

Overall, I enjoyed Pirate Queen. There was plenty of swashbuckling action as well as plenty of heart and emotion. I think if you liked the movie Brave or are itching for a good pirate story then I would highly recommend checking this graphic novel out.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Thirsty Mermaids by Kay Leyh

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*No Major Spoilers*

Fresh out of shipwreck wine, three tipsy mermaids decide to magically masquerade as humans and sneak onto land to indulge in much more drinking and a whole lot of fun in the heart of a local seaside tourist trap. But the good times abruptly end the next morning as, through the haze of killer hangovers, the trio realizes they never actually learned how to break the spell, and are now stuck on land for the foreseeable future. Which means everything from: enlisting the aid of their I-know-we-just-met-can-we-crash-with-you bartender friend, struggling to make sense of the world around them, and even trying to get a job with no skill set…all while attempting to somehow return to the sea and making the most of their current situation with tenacity and camaraderie (especially if someone else is buying).


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Most mermaid stories are romances, however Thirsty Mermaids throws that cliché out the window. Pearl, Tooth, and Eez are best friends who enjoy getting drunk together. Even when they realize that Eez may not be able to break the curse and turn them back into merfolk, they trust that Eez will find the answer and just try and make the best of a rough situation.

There isn’t much to say about this graphic novel without spoiling the humor and heart the story has. I enjoyed all of the main characters and their exploits as they try to adjust to human life. Pearl makes friends with a couple of treasure hunters who are regulars at the bar The Thirsty Mermaid. Tooth gets a job as a bouncer at a local club, which I wanted to hear if she had any crazy stories while she was a bouncer there. Eez stays at the apartment of their bartender friend in hopes to figure out a way to break the curse. All while hijinks ensue and a lot of friends are made along the way.

Overall, I think The Thirsty Mermaids is a fun story if you’re tired of the mermaid romance cliche and are looking for a fun lighthearted story with plenty of heart and booze.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Monster Tamer Girls Vol. 1 by Mujirushi Shimazaki

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*No Major Spoilers* 

When giant monsters roam the earth, “wildlife care” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s where the Tamers come in–girls trained to soothe the savage beasts. But while co-existence is a way of life, it’s still a little overwhelming for meek Ion Hidaka. Can she handle being one of the newest members of the Tatara Girls’ Academy Tamers Committee?


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been reading manga for the past several years. Most of the ones I’ve read are good, but just like anything else, there are a few outliers. However, Monster Tamer Girls isn’t an outlier in the slightest. So let’s dive into this unique monster story. 

First off, I loved our main characters, Ion Hidaka and Sora Misumaru. Ion has a talent for befriending the monsters she meets, and yet she’s still terrified of them. Her best friend, Sora, isn’t interested in becoming a monster tamer, but she’s there to support her friend every step of the way.

I even loved the background characters. I wanted to learn more about the former members of the Monster Tamer Committee, but hopefully, the author will explore this in future volumes. All in all, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like for one reason or another. 

The monsters are adorable. I know they are supposed to be large and scary like Godzilla and Mothra, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the monsters in this story. The monsters appear in a more cartoony style. For example, the monster that lives by the school his horns don’t look sharp, his eyes look mean, but throughout the story, he’s just a lethargic monster.

Overall, I enjoyed Monster Tamer Girls. The characters are dynamic, and the monsters are cute and loveable. I would highly recommend this manga for lovers of Kaiju, and the Slice of Life genre.