Book Review – Batula by Steven T. Seagle

Title: Batula

Author:  Steven T. Seagle

Illustrator:  Marco Cinello

Format: Hardback

Published: 2012

 

Tomorrow is Halloween so I figure this is probably the most seasonably appropriate book I shall read. While it is seasonably appropriate it is not scary in the least.  It’s all about a fruit bat turned vampire.  Yes you read that correctly.  A fruit bat who has been bitten by a vampire.  Okay with that out in the air, I would like to back track into how I came to read this book.

 

It was a while back from now that I found myself perusing the comics at my local shop when I found the book.  It hat my attention at the title.  I mean really what is there not to love about bats?  Yes I am fond of the little winged rodents of the night.  Not my favorite critter in the world but a fascinating creature all the same.  Of course the title alone speaks of Dracula so I was intrigued further to the point of reading the back of the book.  It was at this point that I found myself having the need to possess this books at it makes many a promise that was just too good to pass up.  Generally speaking when we hit the three win mark I know it is a book I’m interested in.  This book promised me more than 3 win points, and I shall list out the win points this book has beyond the fact of being a children’t comic (which is a neutral point as this can be both a good and bad thing depending on the content).  Win 1 – The story is about bats,  Win 2 – The story is about Vampires  Win 2.5 – The story is  about a bat that is turned into a vampire (I mean really that has to count for something!  Win 3 – There is a ‘werewolf’ in the story (really for me this should count as a double win as I love werewolves even if this ‘werewolf’ is a werewolf spider named Wulf).  Win 4 – This book was published by Image Comics which is a publisher I generally trust as most everything I’ve read produced by them has been quite good.  Win 5 – The back cover is enticing in format Win 6 – The cover is really cute/good in my opinion.  (See image bellow.)

 

Needless to say 6 wins told me that this as a must own book! Of course, there is the adage of never judge a book by it’s cover and honest to goodness I didn’t judge on cover alone – I did use the blurb on the back as a guide as well.  Now I will say now that book isn’t bad but it doesn’t deliver on the promises it makes or at least the immense potential that this story could produce.

 

To be honest, the story was very direct and straight forward even for a children’s picture book.  It told a rather bland story about Livingston the fruit bat who was turned into a vampire bat met the spider Wulf and stopped an attack on his orchard all the while garnering attention and adoration from the other bats who didn’t notice him much because he learned to like himself.  Yet, while the story was lacking the pictures held up very well, a lot of the images were adorable and I loved looking at them, even as I write this post I’ve flipped through the book a few more times taking the time to examine the pictures and appreciate the art work for what it is.  In looking through the book a second time it has won and charmed me a bit more than the first time through.

 

Also, I feel it should be noted that while this book was done by Image Comics and was in the comic book store, it is not fashioned like a comic book, it is more fashioned like a children’s picture book.  In the end, the book wasn’t quite what I expected and didn’t live up the the win score it promised me from the start but it was still a decent read, I still love the art work and if there were to be another Batula adventure I would probably read it as this story was still something of an introduction to the character and there is a lot of potential when it comes to the character and the stories one can tell with him.  So because of the adorable artwork I think this book can come in at at 4 out of 5, particularly for a children’s book.  If you judge it on story content alone (which you can’t really and shouldn’t as the art tells a story too) or on a book among all books the story would be a 3 out of 5 for me.

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Book Review – Batman Heart of Hush by Paul Dini

Title: Batman Heart of Hush

Author: Paul Dini

Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen

Format: Paperback

Published: 2008

 

Hush is a character I had heard of before in the world of Batman but didn’t have a lot of experienced with. Truthfully, I didn’t know much aside from the fact that he was a mad man who did plastic surgery to make himself look exactly like Bruce Wayne. I know that he was an enemy and a nuisance to Batman on many occasions making it look like Bruce is doing something that he really wouldn’t do but at the same time he has been on some level been used to the advantage of the Bat Family, such as during the time when Batman was ‘dead’. In my Red Robin Comics it is Hush who is masquerading as Bruce which helps in some ways make things not overly obvious, but the problem in that particular comic is that he was attempting to fritter away the entirety of the Wayne and Wayne enterprises fortune. Of course this in some ways isn’t a big threat and really Hush didn’t seems like the big time villain that I am sure he is meant to be. Thus I concluded that I needed to read more of Hush and stumbled upon this particular comic.

 

In reading this comic, all I can is ay “woah”. Hush is so much more than I would have ever imagined him to be. He is dark, his is sick, he is twisted, and he is an awesome opponent to the Batman. What I love about this story is it also plays with things with Catwoman and Batman’s feelings for Catwoman and I love it and it is intense . This is certainly not a feel good comic but honestly I don’t exactly red Batman for the feel good concept. He is the Dark Knight for a reason after all! Anyway this was a good read and it has me wanting to read more stories that have Hush as a villain for Batman and thus sitting on my desk is Hush volume 1 and I am looking forward to reading it along with a lot of the other comics books I have piled up to read. In the end I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and if you are looking for a fairly stand alone dark comic to read, this is the comic for you.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover The March Hare Revolution by Quin Rose

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: The March Hare Revolution

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator:  Ryo Kazuki

Published: 2012

Translated: 2015

 

It has been a while but I bring you yet another Alice story.  Since my last binge I think I have covered all Alice books but the latest releases which I am at the mercy of my library to eventually get in at this point.  Of course, knowing that I am a massive March Hare/Eliot fan, I have been chomping at the bit and salivating for this manga.  Then when you toss in the title and the content of past Eliot centric books I was certain that this book was going to be about Eliot’s past and how he broke the rules and shouldn’t be around but Blood rescued him.  (A lot of this is covered in country of Joker and in other Eliot centric stories.) Yet, this story was not what I expected it to be, not to say that it is bad thing.

 

The first thing that jumped out at me in this story was the fact that there is a lizard and a spider on Eliot’s scarf when it comes to the art work something that has been very subtle in the past if it has always been there.  It threw me off a bit but at the same time not enough to break the story for me to say the least.  What did throw me though was the art work, it was different than what I am used do.  Of course the characters are recognizable as always and of course I expect the art work to be different considering that it wasn’t Mamenosuke Fujimaru’s work as most of the books are.  However, there are artists who manage to come close to drawing similar to Mamenosuke while other’s fall short, such as Job who draws thinks long and lean.  Ryo Kazuki is another artists who does things differently but instead of long and lean Ryo goes more for a soft bubble look.  The hair instead of sharp angles as most manga I’m used to is, has a softer more curved look to it.  It threw me off for the first few pages.  Eventually however I got lost in the story and the art became second nature.  I do know that I did appreciate how clear emotions were on the faces of the characters giving the story added life instead of constantly having sound effects notate emotion, or ambiguous drawings that left me guessing at times (the latter of which Job is occasionally guilty of).

 

Anyway the story is of the developing romance between Alice and Eliot. There isn’t a lot of action, such as an epic plot to pull Alice away from her love or massively put her life in danger.  The focus of the story as on Alice and Eliot, as they spend time together and Alice realizes that there is more to her and Eliot than just friendship.  The twist and pull of the story that helps give things momentum is the fact that Alice is having dreams of her sister and is wavering on whether to stay or to go back home.  She is also frightened by the kind of dangerous life she would have if she stays with Eliot as he is the second in command of a mafia and they were attacked during one of their outings.  (Honestly I loved that bit as Eliot was so amazingly protective that it made me a little bit giddy.)

 

In the end the story was sufficiently cute though not overly heavy or dramatic in regards to romance, very light and airy.  Yet it was still rather good and sweet and I found myself giving out a sigh as I closed the book and content that only a very small portion was devoted to a preview of another story rather than a 1/3 of the story being devoted to a preview.  Over all I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages.  While there are several Eliot centric books that are on my ‘wish to  own’ list (read as most – if not all)  this one will not be making the list.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol 4

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol 4

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

Yes, I am bringing you more Alice. I am aware that I skipped over book 3. I feel bad that I missed reviewing that particular book but I don’t remember the exact details of what happened in that book and just know the general plot and it was something I enjoyed. Any way this book is pretty fresh in my memory and it was rather good. As you know from my past reviews that the March Hare is one of my favorite people to pair Alice with second was Boris till Bet on my Heart which was a fantastic read! (You can see my review to see what I rated it and I would recommend any Alice fan pick that novel up!) Any way the Mad Hatter is my second favorite person to pair Alice with and there are some moments in this book that made my inner fan girl get a little giddy with delight.

 

In addition to the fun little romance moments in this book there is also the matter of there being more information about Alice and her past and what being in the country of Joker entails. A running theme in a lot of the books features the concept of trying to make Alice forget her past and her regrets of the past. This becomes more prevalent as Alice finds herself falling into Joker’s prison and seeing her sister locked up. This bothers Alice as her sister is not deserving of such treatment. Joker and his prison are an ongoing theme as well as Alice tends to just fall in and the others try and pull stunts to rescue and pull her back out.   It is a concept that I am intrigued to learn more about and add a level of danger for Alice that is new and exciting to me.

 

One of the best reveals of the book isn’t entirely a reveal but an allusion that was given a little more detail than the last time I saw it. This allusion and my theory is one that I feel could be a spoiler though it is only a theory. So skip to the next paragraph  In another book I think it was the Art Book (I’m not sure) there was an allusion to a death that Alice was certain that it was a vision of her mother’s death but when I read the scene I had a feeling that wasn’t the case and that it was actually possibly her sister. In this book there is more revealed about this allusion that makes me think it all the more and I am most intrigued and excited about this because in a lot of ways it turns things on its ear. Alice might be finding Wonderland as even more of an escape than I originally though and there isn’t a sister to return to. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn the truth here but it is an exciting idea to allow to play in my head.

 

Over all I think I would give this book a sold 4 out of 5 pages as I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learning more things about this world that I have so fallen in love with. I look forward to learning more as Joker has by far been one of the most interesting story arcs to me.

Book Review – Fruits Basket vol 4 by Natsuki Takaya

Title: Fruits Basket vol 4

Author/Illustrator: Natsuki Takaya

Format: Paperback

Published: 2004

 

Today I bring you the 4th volume in the Fruits Basket Series. Yes I am aware that I skipped right over the third volume but I figured I would save you yet another review of it brings me warm fuzzies and is good. It was true of the third book and there wasn’t much to review on it save to point out that we are introduced to more of the Shoma family and it was cute and sweet.   So I thought I’d skip ahead till I got something worth talking about and that was the case with volume 4.

 

To me this volume is packed with a lot of great things and ‘new’ characters who have to be mentioned and remarked on. The story starts with the bone chilling idea that Akito the head of the Shoma family is coming to visit the school. This is a huge deal as Akito is not painted in the best light in any of the book. Akito seems to be rather harsh and cruel from the beginning and for him to be at the school says a lot and you can see right off how this effects and bothers Yuki. There wasn’t much that came from the story save to show Akito’s cruelty a bit more and to show how much he affect Yuki.

 

After that even the story progresses forward Tohru meets a new Shoma family member know as Ayame who is the Snake. Ayame is the older brother of Yuki and I will say he is probably one of my favorite characters. He is a rather amusing character who cares for his brother despite the fact that there is a rift between them. It is really sweet to see how Tohru is trying to bring them together and I love the animated stories that Aya tells. It was amusing in manga form and even more so in Anime in my opinion, though both are amazing. I love the dynamic that Aya brings to the story and the characters.

 

There are other great chapters in this book that I absolutely love such as learning more about Momiji. All a worth read and highly enjoyable.   I would most assuredly give this book a strong 4 out of 5 pages. I think Fruits Basket is a cute series and a great way to break into Manga in my opinion as the story is good, and there is a great balance of humor and sadness with a good fantasy element thrown in. Needless to say I am looking forward to the next book in the series which is already waiting for me in my bag!

Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

TITLE: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers

AUTHOR: Brian Michael Bendis
ILLUSTRATORS: Steve McNiven, Sara Pichelli, etc
FORMAT: Graphic Novel/Comic Collection
PUBLISHED: 2014

This collection covers Guardians of the Galaxy 1-3 and 0.1, and also Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers #1, and has bonus artwork in the back as well.

So, the story starts with Star-Lord’s origin story, where we meet his mother and find out who his father is, etc.  Then we have Star-Lord in space with the rest of the Guardians.  Earth is in trouble, they have to protect it, etc.  Oh, and Iron Man shows up.

The comic is a little different from the movie – for starters, the origin story is different, because Cancer makes a better movie apparently.  And I can totally see where the idea for the movie came from in this comic, although the comic is a little different.

But that’s not a bad thing.

Honestly, if they had been more true to these comics, I think the movie would have been better.  Iron Man was an interesting addition, and I kind of liked it.

I’ll give this one a 4/5.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz Vol. 7

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz Vol. 7

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

If you have been following my posts you have seen that I have reviewed several books in this particular series. The last volume I reviewed was volume 4. I stopped reviewing the later book in the series because I felt that the series was getting dry and it was only giving a small snapshot of what was happening in the over arching story. With volume 6 it was an exceedingly small snap shot as about half or more of the book was taken up with a second story of Alice and Boris set in the country of Hearts, where Alice choose to work and live at the Amusement Park. There wasn’t much to tell about either story as we didn’t get much in save for Alice debating to move in with Boris in the main story and Alice and Boris trying to determine if they really had feelings for each other in the side story.

 

Either way volume 7 concluded both stories and I felt were worth reviewing as it is the conclusion of the series and some things happened, at least they happened in the main story. The books for a while have been setting up for a plot against Hatter and using Alice as a form of bait in this plan as she lived in Hatter Mansion before Alice started to consider living with Boris. (If you don’t want spoilers don’t read further and skip to the last paragraph which will be spoiler free.) In this installment the rival mafia decided to finally act and kidnapped Alice. There were a few surprise twists and turn and it was really neat to see pretty much every role holder work together to save and protect Alice. It was something that one does not usually see in any of the books. There were some surprises with some characters that I don’t wish to reveal here that I liked and it was good story particularly showing the great heart of Alice in it, as she was torn up by the death of a faceless.

 

The second story was decent as well but there wasn’t much to it really it was more a matter that things ended where Alice did decide to stay in the Country of Hearts because she has learned to care for those there in Wonderland, particularly Boris and that there is a closeness between Alice and Boris that they both know exists, but at the same time things leave off with nothing super serious between the two of them either.

 

Over all I would give the book a 3 out of 5 pages, and argue that with the way things were so terribly broken up that it would have made more sense to condense the Cheshire Cat Waltz by a book or two and in return create a new book or two for the Country of Hearts story instead of doing half and half in two books it would have made the read more interesting for both stories and a lot better and wouldn’t have cut into the sales of the books either as it would be an equal number of books to sell.

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