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 – Teen Titans: Team Building by J.T. Krul & Fabian Nicieza

Title: Teen Titans: Team Building

Author: J. T. Krul & Fabian Nicieza

Illustrator: Nicola Scott, Marcus To, Adriana Melo & Georges Jeanty

Format: Paperback

Published: 2011

 

Recently I decided to re-read my favorite comics in the world Red Robin. I had a blast reading it and I have decided it is high time for me to try and fill in more of the back story gaps I have and see what I can learn about Tim, his background and the background of the characters surrounding them. Thus, I concluded to read this particular comic as it is directly referenced in my Red Robin comic as the events of this comic lead right into the Red Robin I was reading.

In picking up this particular comic I was all the more in the middle of things but I was still curious and so I went along with it and I saw a bit more of the story surrounding Damien joining the Teen Titans for the brief stint that he was with them and it introduced a lot of other stories and ideas that I am curious about but it didn’t give me what I really wanted and that was more of my favorite Robin, Tim. It did give me a little bit of my second favorite DC comic book character Super Boy but it was more a Cassie AKA Wonder Girl centric which isn’t a problem because I also like her and I am fascinated and curious about her story but again not much was given and there are a lot more questions than answered for me in this particular comic.

Additionally, in this comic there is an Issue of Red Robin featured in it that I have already read in my Red Robin trade book, so there was a large section that was nothing new or of additional interest to me because I had already read it, and recently too. To be honest the vaule of this book to me is slim until I read it in the context of other Teen Titian comics. So as a stand along I rate this particular trade at a 3 out of 5 pages. Of course once I read more surrounding stories that may change and I feel it should have a higher rating after I have more story, till then my rating stands.

Book Review – Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale

Title: Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale

Author: Skottie Young

Illustrator: Jake Parker

Format: Hardback

Published: 2015

 

While we are far removed from Free Comic book day, this is one of the comics that I found myself picking then and I am so glad I snagged it. The comic is discontinued now but it was still a treat to read. To start off from the Guardian’s of the Galaxy franchise, Rocket is by far my favorite character, not because of the movies but because of the comics. For some reason, it entertains me to no end how Rocket goes around with a big huge attitude and calls out “Blam Murdered you!” when in a fight. That and his snark are massive wins for me and I simply adore the character. Thus when there is a comic that is all him, how could I pass it up. Particularly when the cover art for one of the issues is this:

Yes, that is massively entertaining to me. Anyway the comic is a collection of stories all of course pertaining to rocket and his faithful side kick Groot, who is also amazing to me with his three word dialogue of “I am Groot” which of course all mean different things when he says it, based on the responses Rocket gives him.

The story over all is bright and colorful as Rocket deals with the fact that he may not be the only one of him, and deals with all the women he’s wronged in his life as they have teamed up to take him down, then of course the most memorable of all the comics to me is the section where Rocket and Groot are telling stories of their adventures. In the end Groot tells one of the stories and every bit of dialogue is either “Groot” Or “I am Groot”. I know this can be annoying to some people but it amused me the story was all told via inflection and pictures and it was an entertaining story made all the better after you see the reactions of the campers who were being told this story.

Over all I spend a good portion of the book smiling and giggling and I am happy to have it in my personal collection. This book easily ranks in at a 4 out of 5 pages and is something that I would recommend as a great story to read through and one of the best comics I’ve read in a long while.

Book Review – Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1 by Bill Willingham

Title:  Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1

Author:  Bill Willingham

Illustrator: James Jean and Alex Maleey

Published: 2003

 

To start this review I have to make it known that I am a huge fan of werewolves.  You tell me a book has werewolves in it and you have my attention at the very least.  So when I heard about fables it was Bigsby who drew me in.  Bigsby is the Big Bad wolf from the fairy tales turned human and working as sheriff of the fair tale community known as Fabletown, which is located in New York.  When I first heart about Bigsby and Fables was actually via the video game series the released.  I have only played a demo of it but I fell in love with the concept, the story and the character Bigsby as he is a no nonsense kind of guy.

 

Though the story in the game is different than the story in the books it was still interesting as we follow Bibsby as he tries to solve the mystery of the murder of Rose Red the sister of Snow White. The story serves as a great introduction to the situation that is found in Fabletown, how the residents of Fabletown known as Fables. The mystery and intrigue keeps pace as the reader learns of the world and how Fables hide their true nature and how they came to be in our world, as they were forced out by one known as the Adversary.

 

The end revelation is rather good and the character are vibrant and real and the relationships between them are most intriguing.  This is a world I can happily get lost in.   Though, I think my favorite part of the book was a small section in the back that was in all prose.  It told of the life of Bigsby before he came to our world and gives some interesting insight into what happened to certain characters before the created Fabletown and why Bisby does some of the things he does in the main story.  The story crafted in prose is compelling and heart warming in some ways.  I would love to read more and will look forward to when my pocket books can afford me the next installment, or I can bum it off a friend who bought it recently.  Till then I shall wait and leave this review stating that this comic is a solid 4 out of 5 pages, with nothing but promise for future installments.

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!

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