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 – Invincible Vol. 8 & Vol. 9

Title: Invincible: The Ultimate Collection vol 8

Author: Robert Kirkman

Illustrator: Ryan Ottley, Corey Walker, John Rauch and Cliff Rathrburn

Format: Hardback

Published: 2013

AND

Title: Invincible: The Ultimate Collection vol 9

Author: Robert Kirkman

Illustrator: Ryan Ottley

Contributers: Cliff Rathburn & John Rauch

Format: Harback

Published 2014

 

Today, you get a two for one, which is appropriately timed, as tomorrow is free comic book day.  Yes, if you go to your local comic book shop tomorrow they may be giving out free comic books.  (Not all shops participate.)  But it is an awesome way to get a taste for some new comics and it is a load of fun.  At my shop I get a load of free comics and we have events going on and it is a blast.  If you have a good shop that is participating in free comic book day I encourage you to go!  It is the first Saturday in May every year.  Anyway, on with the review.

After my disappointment with vol 7 I wasn’t eager to go looking for the next books but I realized that vol 9 was just in and I decided why not go back and read the latest, sadly I forgot what book I left off with which I thought was vol 8 but clearly not.  So I had started reading vol 9 and realized rather quickly that I was missing a whole lot so I quickly scrambled to get vol 8 as vol 9 had a hold on it and due at the library so just before I had to turn it in, I did a binge read of both books not simply because of the impending due date but because I got that sucked in.

 

Vol 8  picks up with a good pace and clips along making up for the disappointment that was vol 7. The pace keeps up even in vol 9 such to the point that I cannot separate the two books very much.  I know in these books a lot is discovered and learned there is a lot of change and a lot of tensions. I wish I could cover all of the changes and issues that are covered in the books but at the same time I fear giving spoilers about the situation with the Viltrumites being on Earth and Mark with his ideas about how to do things to help the world be a better place to other issues that create a lot of interesting potential.  We learn more about some of the minor characters and finally get to see what happened with Robot and Monster girl while they were gone.

 

This section took up a good portion of one of the books but I highly enjoyed the read while others might find it a bit slow but I liked it. The art in this section was nice and I enjoyed it even though it was lower quality from the rest of the series.  Over all I feel like the quality of the drawing and the art has gone down with these two installments.  The art isn’t quite the same, it isn’t bad but it isn’t what it used to be to me.  I know on the cover of vol 9 Atom Eve’s eyes are bugged out and weird and it is very off putting to me that image.  Once in the story you don’t always notice it but every once in a while I would pause at the art work because it was just ‘off’.

 

Overall, I would give the books a 4 out of 5 pages because they were a good read and I enjoyed them.  If it gives you any clue I stayed up to about 3am reading these books when I had planned to read to no later than midnight that night as I was tired and had plans for the next day.  So I would highly advise that you keep with Invincible and when vol 10 finally comes out which will be quite a while till then you can bet I’ll be reading it.

Book Review – Invincible Ultimate Collections Vol 7

Title: Invincible Ultimate Collection Vol 7

Author/Illustrators: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn  FCO Plascenicia

Format: Hardback

Published:  2012

 

As promised the follow up review for the next book in the Invincible series, and I’ll start off with saying “Wow”.   There is so much packed into this one book that it is hard to believe and with that in mind I’m not sure where I stand on this installment.  Don’t get me wrong this was another great book and I enjoyed it, the art is fabulous as always and everything was vibrant and it popped but there was so much and it’s just I don’t know maybe too much in some ways and in others I just – I don’t know.

 

This time I’m going to be diving right into the spoilers of the previous books and so if you don’t want to know you want to go read the books and then come back.  Again as always you have been warned.  So Book 7 is the Viltrumite war as promised and so much more.  We are given action right off and the book flows more like a movie than a comic book I know both are visual media but I think the way the war effort was presented would be better on a big screen rather than in comic book format, particularly when the title character is not in action for a good portion of the story.  I won’t tell you why that is the case as that is for you to read. It was a good read, and it was neat getting to know Oliver and Mark’s dad a bit more but at the same time it read a little flat after the action as we prepared for the war.  That isn’t to say it wasn’t important to see it, it was needed to see the preparation it gave it a sense of reality.  Again visual audio media might have been more gripping than just images on a page but that is simply my opinion.

 

Anyway the action picks up and Mark comes back into play.  I will start by saying this is probably the most bloody of the books considering that this is a war and really how things progress and the conclusion of the war was really unique and it was kind of exciting to me because there is so much potential for future stories and really it was interesting, I really liked the imagery that went with it as well.   This gets us only halfway through the book and then things become a little episodic with small things here and there but at the same time these small things are of epic size and portions.  It was weird to me and it was different.  I think it was probably good in the overarching story to go with episodic moments instead of crafting such a large story as the series has been doing things for a while.   The characters deal with emotions from the war and it is true to human nature but it is certainly lacking in emotion.  In conjunction with this Mark is continuing to deal with the idea of who he is and what he will and won’t do – how far he is willing to go and the guilt of all the lives lost because of his failures and his actions.  Really, in a lot of ways Mark’s story bored me a little bit but it makes senses at the same time.

 

I will admit, that for me the most interesting part of the story was Robot now known as Rex and Monster Girl and what their alluded story is all about, something I very much want to learn about more because there is a lot of issues and emptions involved with that, but not much was alluded to.  I think the most bothersome and disappointing part of this latest installment was the end, it left it sort of flat and open, what Mark is doing makes sense and I like but everyone’s reactions at the same though in character just seems crazy and really it doesn’t leave a promise for a whole lot of action and I just have no clue what the next book will hold.  I always had thoughts and ideas and I was always left clamoring for more wanting to know what happens next but not this time.  Sure I’m curious and I want to know and when I can get my hands on the next installment I’ll pick it up to read but it won’t be agony to wait for the first few days/weeks after finishing the book like it usually is in the past.

 

With everything in mind, I will say the story is still good I still love invincible and there were some great moments but not enough to push this book past a 3 out of 5 pages.  Really this was a lot like the middle story in a trilogy a lot of stuff that needed to happen but not a whole lot to it.  Not to say the Viltrumite War conclusion wasn’t action enough but the war itself was maybe 1/3 of the book as the rest was the resolution and repercussions and one off stories that will I’m sure lead to bigger and better things in further installments.

Book Review – Invincible: Ultimate Collection Vol 6

Title: Invincible Ultimate Collection Vol 6

Author/Illustrators: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker, Cliff Rathburn  FCO Plascenicia

Format: Hardback

Published:  2011

 

So it has been a while since I have done a review and I am not going to make excuses about that at all.  I figure they don’t matter and you probably don’t exactly care to hear them, so I’ll get down to the brass taxes and present you with Invincible Ultimate Collection Vol. 6.  It has been a while since I picked up an Invincible book simply due to cost and the ability to find it at the library/willingness to take the time to go to the library but I happened to be in the library and saw this sitting on the shelf.  It was a no brainer to grab it and hope I was remembering the last number I read correctly.

 

Fortunately for me I was correct and I eagerly dug into the book and was not disappointed to say the very least.  I will say straight up I love Invincible.  I have found most comics that I read by Image (the publisher) are always strong comics.  I would say that Invincible is close to one of my favorite comic stories second only to my first comic love of the Red Robin/Batman.  I have always loved Batman from the start and then quickly fell in love with Tim Drake the Red Robin after that but that is beside the point.  To say this comes close to this love is actually saying something to be very honest.

 

What I love so much about Invincible is the powerful story – there is pretty much nothing that the comic is scared to do and I appreciate that it gives a realistic story the super heroes in this series are just as real and human as humans they are super powered and have the same problems as real people of the world only worse because they have super abilities, instead of these abilities making them immune to certain things and making life better, in a lot of ways abilities make things worse.

 

If you have issues with spoilers when it comes to this series I would advise you stop this review here and go get the books and read them, I always give this series a strong review and they continue to stand up to the test of time if you want more information about the series then I advise you go back and find my review for the first book in the series which got a rave review from me because I intend to give some spoilers from this point on.  Don’t say you weren’t warned if you continue to read!

 

This story picks up giving us a bit of a flash back to a previous story that was featured in vol. 4 or 5 where Mark aka Invincible faced again Angstram Levy an thought he had killed him and the regret he felt for doing what he did.  After this flashback the story picks up with the world being invaded with various versions of Invincible destroying the world.  There is a lot of clean-up and repercussions of the destructions and yet all this aftermath is made interesting as you find yourself worried about the health of Eve then to have Viltrumite come to attack set on destroying Mark and his world – it is a gritty battle as Mark as no wish to push on as he blames himself for the destruction that happened though he didn’t cause it himself to Eve waking up and getting involved which brings the fight back into Mark all the more and there is a tone of gore which is odd for me to say this but it is awesome.  The visuals are bright and vibrant the art work is always amazing something I have always enjoyed about these books, clean and vibrant and well done.

 

Any way aside from the reactions the book sets up very nicely for the next one which will be my next review.  Over all, the story was strong and good and there were a few additional surprise twists that I was not expecting that I will not reveal because I don’t want to spoil everything.  So I would strongly advise you go out and get your hands on this series because it is amazing, the characters are strong and endearing and the story is pretty much always gripping.  Over all I would give this a 4 out of 5 page review.

Book Review – Heart by Blair Butler & Kevin Mellon

Title:  Heart

Author:  Blair Butler & Kevin Mellon

Format: Paperback

Written: 2012

 

It seems that almost every time I have a new comic to present to the blog that I have read it has come at the recommendation of someone or is associated with a pre-existing love such as Robin or Invincible which both were recommended to me.  Any way it should come as no surprise that Heart came to me by the hands of my comic loving co-worker who got me hooked on Invincible.  Only this time it wasn’t Invincible, it wasn’t even a super hero comic.

 

When my coworker dropped the book on my desk he said, I thought this was good you might like it but it is very different from the norm as it didn’t have any super heroes.  Being the adventurous sort I decided to dive in because 1 it came from my co-worker who tends to be on the money when it comes to book recommendations and 2 it was an Image comic and I am quickly learning that if it is a comic by Image it is going to be something rather good and solid.

 

This was the case with Heart, it was a good story done in a basic black and while style it was clean and sharp and it told the story of MMA fighter who took on the title of “Rooster”.   The story starts with a fight in the middle of his career and shows him barely scrape by with a win before going back to show how he got into MMA fighting and covering the span of his career, showing the heart and commitment it takes to do something like it.

 

I’m not a person who is into fighting of any sort really, I just don’t get into boxing or fighting but it was still an interesting and solid story because to me there was more to the story than just fighting it was about the journey and the emotions that came with it, and I appreciated the read for that alone.  If you are curious about fighting or the world of MMA I think this book is a good read for you if you aren’t maybe not so much.  It was a well done story but not entirely my cup of tea but I can still say in the end I liked the story and I particularly found the ending to be fairly poignant the final image is rather striking to me and speaks volumes.

 

Overall, I would give this comic a 3 out of 5 page review because I wouldn’t go running about recommending this comic to people but it was still a solid good story and if you are looking for something solid and good to read then this might be for you or if you are into the subject matter than I would very much recommend this to be read.

Book Review – Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 2 by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley & Bill Crabtree

Title:  Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 2

Author: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Bill Crabtree

Format:  Hardback

Published:  2006

 

It took a few days before I could get my hands on the second book in the collection of the Invincible series but oh how glad I was that it was a quiet day so I could spend my time with my nose stuck in this book reading away at another 400ish page comic book.  Having loved the first one I was excited for this next one. Invincible is quickly becoming one of my favorite story arcs and super heroes.  He is fun he is real and the story deals with real life issues.

 

After the big reveal at the end of the first book we see Mark and those around him adjust to the changes in their life and the world around them.  The issue of alcohol abuse comes up, as well as drug use but it is done tastefully and realistically without it being an afternoon special either.  This book though phenomenal for the store it told was a big book of set up.  So many stories and so many issues are jammed into this one book, I am looking forward to the next book to see what problems Invincible will face first it was just a book full of delicious goodness as we met new villains and mixed them with a few old.  We saw a dynamic change in groups of friends and everything was just unbelievably fun!

 

I am sitting here just a day after reading it and am salivating for the next book which my comic book guru forgot to bring today so I shall be reminding him for it and demanding that the book be present by the weekend as I’m sure I’ll have the time to read then and will be salivating all the more for the next story to see what happens to these characters as what will become of the interesting plots that are developing not only for the main title character but the side characters as well!

 

Over all I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages only because this is an in between book and did not have me reeling as much as the first one but don’t mistake this rating as this book not being a worthy read because it totally is!

Book Review – Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 1 by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker & Ryan Ottley

Title:  Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 1

Author: Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley

Format:  Hardback

Published:  2005

 

Being frustrated with my obsession and love of DC comics he was determined to get me into something less main stream an deposited a rather large black book that was about 400 long.  It sat on my desk for weeks looming at me as it would not quite fit in my desk drawer.  I was hesitant and I glanced at it and found it to be something that was passable and quite possibly not my cup of tea.  Yet knowing full well I couldn’t just shove it back to him I finally had a bit of time and decided to crack the book open.

 

This is one of those books that you just sort of slip into as you learn not only about the characters but the universe as a whole you start to come to grips with the world and begin to think that the story line ins so-so when about half way through everything gets turned on its ear and you are cursing every interruption and eagerly turning the next page looking for answers to questions that you are not finding until the climactic end of the book.  Before I go further though dear reader let me take you back and give you an introduction to the story line.

 

The story of Invincible starts with a young man named Mark who has a super hero dad and eventually discovers that he actually has super powers of his own.  You follow Mark as he tests out his new abilities, figures out what his super hero name will be (Invincible) and follow him as he faces off against a villain with the help of a few fellow teenage super heroes.  He also takes the time to team up with his super hero dad Omni Man as well.  The first couple of stories are decent and mildly entertaining.  Then the story takes a break from Mark and starts to show off various other super heroes that are part of the Guardians of the Globe.  We are given a brief idea of who they are before they are called away to an emergency meeting and you find hallmarks of classic well known heroes from other comic books.  We meet, the Red Rush, Warrior Woman, Green Ghost, Aquarius the King of Atlantis… I think you get the drift.  It was funny and amusing and at the same time almost over the top for me where I was thinking that the book was going to take a turn from good to bad but with the introduction of these new characters comes one of the largest plot twists I have experienced in a long time, launching the story from good to great.

 

One I hit this point I was sold and I kept reading and re-reading the section trying to come up with reasons I was thinking surly it is a classic trope for what has happened here right? WRONG!  The story took a twist and when it explained things I was left with my jaw dropped and wishing I had the second monster book sitting on my desk.  It was literally that good. I am in love with this series and wish more people knew about it!  I say get yourself a copy of this book and read it.  If you like comics you will like this, particularly super heroes.  So naturaly I will be giving this book a 5 out of 5 page review!

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