Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Zodiac P.I. Vol. 1 (Zodiac P.I. #1) by Natsumi Andō

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*No Major Spoilers*

Lili is just like any other girl — except she can foretell the future! This ‘Zodiac PI’ relies on horoscopes and astrology to help her solve crimes and track down criminals. When there’s trouble brewing, she transforms herself into the magic Detective Spica and looks to the stars to guide her way. Before long, she is joined by her childhood friend, Hiromi, who dreams of becoming a detective as skilled as Detective Spica. Soon, no astral investigation is too arduous for this dynamic duo!

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I originally found this manga at a convention I attended a couple of years ago. It caught my eye because the subject matter was something I think everyone becomes interested in at some point in their lives. Combining this with the mystery genre was something I thought would be interesting. Now let’s see if the stars align for Zodiac P.I. 

This manga was a fun read. I found the two mysteries featured in this volume to be intriguing. The first one surrounds the mysterious death of one of Lili’s classmates. The other is Lili going undercover to investigate this piano school rumored to be haunted. However, ghosts are the least of Lili’s worries once one of the teachers turns up dead in his own classroom.

Lili uses the magical power of a Zodiac ring her mother gave her before she disappeared. This ring brings forth the entities of the Zodiac to give her the victim’s horoscope for the day that they died, and the ominous messages help Lili solve the case as Detective Spica.

After the piano school case, Hiromi discovers Lili is actually Detective Spica. We then learn that Lili’s mom was the original Detective Spica before her disappearance. Now that her secret identity has been revealed, Hiromi promises to not reveal Lili’s secret and help her out with future cases.

As much as I want to nitpick this manga to death, I know it’s meant for a younger audience. I still had fun reading this story. The use of the Zodiac and the victim’s horoscope add a new element to old fashioned sleuthing. I would recommend this manga series for lovers of mysteries, Zodiac, and female heroines. This is a series I hope to be revisiting in the future.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Daredevil vs. Punisher Means & Ends by David Lapham

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*No Major Spoilers* 

*This is a collection of Daredevil vs. Punisher 1-6*

Daredevil and the Punisher vie for the soul of Hell’s Kitchen as half the East Coast’s underworld – in chaos since Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, was deposed – scramble for a shot at the big chair. And as the city descends into chaos – as murder and intimidation become the staples of the day – Daredevil and the Punisher each seek to restore order in their own unique way. For Daredevil this means dispensing justice at the end of a billy club. But for the Punisher, justice at the end of a billy club isn’t justice at all. For the Punisher, justice for these animals is at the end of a shotgun. Featuring more Marvel villains than you can shake a stick at – including Hammerhead and the return of the nefarious… Jackal!

This graphic novel is a must-read if you’re a fan of either Daredevil or the Punisher. They are both on the side of good, they just go about it in different ways. Daredevil believes in the justice system and locking the bad guys up in prison. Punisher has little to no faith left in society and so he only believes in killing the bad guys.

This story is mainly told from the Punisher’s perspective. So if you don’t know anything about the Punisher, the comic will fill you in. This will definitely make you see the flaws in both Daredevil’s and Punisher’s thinking and methods.

One aspect I like about this story is how we find out that the Punisher killed a prominent D.A. and Daredevil said that Punisher crossed the line. When in fact, the D.A. was taking bribes from one of the bad guys. Even though Daredevil finds out the truth later in the story, this shows a major flaw in Daredevil’s beliefs about the justice system.

Overall, if you’re looking for some superheroes fighting each other, even if it’s on a more low-key scale, then this graphic novel is for you. Fans of Daredevil, the Punisher, and Marvel Comics as a whole will enjoy this graphic novel collection.

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Posted in Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Green Arrow: Quiver by Kevin Smith

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Collection of Green Arrow (2001) #1-5

*No Major Spoilers*

The original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, reemerges after years of being assumed dead. But many people, including Black Canary, his ex-lover, Arsenal, his ex-partner, Connor Hawke, his son and temporary successor and Batman, the Dark Knight Detective, want to know how Green Arrow survived the airplane explosion and where he has been.

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Superman and Batman having an intense discussion during Green Arrow: Quiver.

I love Green Arrow! Not the one that is on TV, the one(s) in the comic books are better. I was excited to find this graphic novel at my library, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you today!

A lot of casual comic book fans like me, feel intimidated at times when selecting a graphic novel. Overarching stories, major events, and other things that cause comic books to become confusing can make selecting a stand-alone story to be difficult. However, I felt this graphic novel explains things that happened previously, in a nice way so I didn’t feel like I didn’t know what was going on throughout the story.

I felt the story was well written and well put together. Even though the story gets “trippy”  about midway through, I was still able to follow along and came out satisfied.

To elaborate on the “trippy” aspect of the story, it kind of reminded me of the Doctor Strange comics at times, with the likes of supernatural beings and realms it gave an interest to the story I didn’t really expect coming out of Green Arrow. Green Arrow is usually a traditional story without supernatural elements, but this one was a nice change of pace.

One downside I found is, there’s not much action, it’s more of deep thinking and philosophying with splashes of magic and kicking butt.

Overall, this book was a good read, the art style fit the moods really well when necessary, the story kept my interest, I would definitely recommend it for the casual Green Arrow fan as well as the comic book aficionado.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Batman: Gordon of Gotham by Chuck Dixon

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*No Spoilers*

Collects BATMAN: GORDON OF GOTHAM #1-4, BATMAN: GCPD #1-4 and BATMAN: GORDON’S LAW #1-4.

Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon stars in this new collection of crime stories from the 1990s that stars the colorful, determined cops of Batman’s home town.

The first story in this volume, Batman: Gordon’s Law, Commissioner Gordon has stumbled upon a coverup of a huge money laundering bust, the only trace is the few remaining $1,000 dollar bills.

Now, without Batman’s help, by Commissioner Gordon’s request, is a man on a mission to set things right and bust up the corrupt cops involved.

I felt like this novel set the tone for the rest of this collection. It was gritty, rough, and brought Gordon into a light not many others get to see. He might be the commissioner of Gotham City, but he’s still a cop no matter what politics may say.

Seeing him take this case on without much of Batman’s aid, makes you truly see how rough and corrupt not only the Gotham Police Department but Gotham City as a whole. Gordon is just one man, but he’s doing his best to clean up the police corruption.

The second story, Batman: GCPD includes three stories from three of Gotham City’s finest detectives. I have read some of the comics surrounding the GCPD, and I have enjoyed them. It’s interesting to see an inside look into Gotham’s police department.

The story starts when Sargent Harvey Bullock beats up a costumed low-life and his partner goes to request a transfer. Commissioner Gordon grants her the transfer, and so she reassigns Bullock a new partner. All while Harvey is dealing with a rampant serial killer, Internal Affairs breathing down his neck, and his partner getting kidnapped on her new case, Another set of detectives are on the hunt for a string of high-stakes thefts.

I found Sargent Bullock’s case the most interesting, someone in Gotham is going around killing seemingly random men and only leaving them with a teddy bear dressed up as their profession. The mystery was entertaining and intriguing.

Overall, I enjoyed this second story in this collection. I would say the writing was good, and the characters had interesting storylines and characteristics.

The final and main story: Batman: Gordon of Gotham is as fantastic as the other two stories in this epic volume. The story is about Gordon opening up to Batman about a time in his past when he was a beat cop in Chicago. An assassin who got away.

I love how Gordon is telling Batman a story about his past. Both are lonely characters and to see them bonding in this way makes me happy. I just figured the this was just Gordon getting something off of his chest. Boy, was I wrong!

After storytime is over, Batman tells Gordon something he already knew he had to do: go get sweet vengeance.

Overall these three stories, I enjoyed each of them for different reasons. I would highly recommend this collection for lovers of crime dramasCommissioner James Gordon, and of course Batman. Even though Batman doesn’t have that much of a presence in this collection, it’s not Batman’s story, it’s the hard-working detectives at GCPD who make this collection worth reading.

Check Out My Review of Gotham Central!

Check Out Some of the DC Comics I’ve Previously Reviewed!

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Noir (Spider-Man: Noir #1-4)

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*No Spoilers*

It was 1933 and the Great Depression was just getting started. And so was the corrupt mob boss The Goblin. When embittered, angry Peter Parker meets a spider and its life-changing bite, he may have just inherited the force to honor the phrase, “If those in power can’t be trusted, it’s the responsibility of the people to remove them.”

People who know me, know I love film noir. I’ve also been wanting to dive into the Marvel Noir series for a while. When I saw this at my library, I knew I had to read this.

I still haven’t seen Into the Spider-verse yet. I only recently learned that this version of Spider-Man was in the movie. I think Spider-Man in 1920’s New York is interested in the fact that Spider-Man is a “glass half-full” kind of hero. Even though Spider-Man has faced tragedies he is still hopeful and optimistic about the world around him.

Here, with the Great Depression, and The Goblin having control of the entire city, Peter Parker has a dour view on life. He is more vigilante than a hero. In that, he murdered one of Goblin’s henchmen that were after Aunt May. This caused Aunt May to be outraged by the pure violence that Spider-Man displayed and claimed she could take care of herself.

The artwork is dark and gritty. Throughout the novel, it is constantly snowing, and the art style makes the pure, white snow seem dirty and unclean.

I would recommend this graphic novel to lovers of Marvel Comics, Film Noir, and Spider-Man in general. This graphic novel definately scratched my itch for the Film Noir genre, and I think this novel might be perfect for you!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

REVIEW: 2018

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Photo by IMAMA LAVI on Pexels.com

We have come so far in the past year! I started this blog as a hobby, and I’ve been sticking with it! I am so proud of myself for accomplishing so much in just a year!

But enough about me, we’re here to talk about books.

I read a lot of books, comics, and manga that it seems a little overwhelming. I’m going to list the most memorable reads of 2018. These are oldest to newest.

Shark Island by Chris Jameson is the novel that started this crazy ride. It was a fun and thrilling read. Even though it was a bit ridiculous, I still felt the intensity of it all.

Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns when I saw the recent Aquaman movie I instantly thought of this comic. It was so refreshing to see a movie stick to the source material.

The High Climber of Dark Water Bay by Caroline Arden One of the first Advanced Reading Copy novels I read. I loved this novel, and it’s one that I’d like to reread in the future. A good novel for an outdoor-lover.

Delicious in Dungeon Vol. 1 by Ryoko Kui This manga takes a unique take on the dungeon crawler genre. I enjoyed this manga, and I’m eager to read more from this series in the future!

Four Months in Brighton Park by Larry Ehrhorn I was requested to read this book by Mr. Ehrhorn. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It needs more attention and recognition, so I highly recommend if you love a good “coming of age” story!

2018 was a great year! The start of a reading adventure, and hopefully a future full of more fun and books! Cheers! I hope to see you in 2019!

Posted in Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels, Manga, Marvel Comics

Free Comic Book Day Review!

So this year’s free comic book day was a good selection of graphic novels. My fiance and I mostly picked the ones rated Teen and Mature. I will list the titles in which order I read them, and hopefully, this will make sense.

Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi – This manga is about alien goldfish that invade Japan and start devouring the citizens. It is up to Hiro, to guide the others to safety. I first discovered this Manga through a Facebook group I casually follow. So, when they had a free preview of this I instantly grabbed it and couldn’t wait to read it. I found the preview to be interesting and definitely couldn’t wait to read more!

Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro – A cyborg soldier readies himself for battle against Alita and her friends. Who will come out of this match alive? This free preview of this manga caught my eye by the cover art. I am a country girl at heart. This issue was brief and I am curious to know more, but I wasn’t sold on the plot. I would recommend reading the whole story.

Aposimz by Tsutomu Nihei – In this futuristic dystopian land, the land is frozen solid, disease rampant, and it’s up to one small group of survivors to survive. I enjoyed this preview into this manga. I liked the art style, it brings how desolate and barren the world is. I will definitely be checking out this manga in full volume.

Frankenstein by Junji Ito – A re-imagining of the famous story by Mary Shelley, this is from one of the most famous horror manga writers, so get ready for this terrifying story! I personally enjoyed this preview. I haven’t read the original story by Mary Shelley, so I can’t compare the two. However, I did enjoy this and I would recommend this for sure!

Jughead: The Hunger #1 by Frank Tieri – In this Archie Madhouse Comic Spinoff Series, beloved character Jughead Jones discovers his family’s curse, and is on the run. Betty: Werewolf Hunter along with Archie is hot on Jughead’s trail to stop the destruction their friend is causing. I’m not familiar with the Archie Comic Universe, however, I enjoyed this horror take on a classic and beloved series. Seeing Jughead handle the consequences of running away is heartbreaking. I would definitely recommend checking out this series.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 #1: Phantom Hand and Kelpie by Mike Mignola – Hellboy is in the 1950’s with his friend and the owner of the mansion. The supernatural goings-on has killed and maimed the guests of the mansion, and it’s up to Hellboy to destroy whatever is causing this mayhem. I am not familiar with the Hellboy comic series. However, I found that this comic gave me a good idea about what Hellboy is all about. He fights paranormal evil.

John Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 by Neil Gaiman – This issue starts off with a dead homeless man wandering through the London underground. Meanwhile, John Constantine has his own problems to sort through. I love John Constantine. He is an awesome character that fights the monsters that go bump in the night as well as help others. I will definitely be reading more Constantine graphic novels in the future.

So, in conclusion, here are the graphic novels I’m going to be reading in the future!

  • Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi
  • Aposimz by Tsutomu Nihei
  • Jughead: The Hunger by Frank Tieri
  • John Constantine