Comics Review – November Volume 2 by Elsa Charretier and Matt Fraction

November volume 2 picks up in the immediate aftermath of the first volume that came out last year. This volume is about the same length as the first volume, coming in at about 80 pages. I think the release model for the series is pretty interesting. You'll end up with amounts to a pretty hefty graphic novel coming out in three chunks over the course of about 18 months.

Manga Review – Crocodile Baron, Vol. 1 by Takuya Okada

This was absolutely bonkers. Usually I start a review by giving a brief synopsis of what the book is about, but I felt this one warranted a bit of commentary first. Crocodile Baron is a manga about a talking, high-class crocodile novelist who is always on the search for the finest culinary treats that Japan has to offer. Donning his top hat, with his side-kick, Rabbit, in-tow, Crocodile departs to a new area of Japan in each chapter after hearing about the best place to get Japanese favorites like Udon or Takoyaki. If that sounds like a pretty crazy premise for a book, it's only because it absolutely is.

Book Review – Star Wars: Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston

Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston is the latest entry in the Disney-era line of Star Wars novels. It's the second time that Johnston has penned a novel about Queen Amidala, after writing Queen's Shadow last year. Whereas Queen's Shadow found Johnston expanding on Padmé's time in the Galactic Senate after stepping down as Queen of Naboo, Queen's Peril bookends the Padmé story by going back to the time immediately after she was elected Queen. Johnston again focuses heavily on Padmé's relationship with her handmaidens, and fans of the series are sure to recognize some familiar faces as the Queen assembles the group. Much like Queen's Shadow, Queen's Peril is mostly targeted at a YA audience.

Comics Review – LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford

LaGuardia is a 4-issue series written by Hugo award winning author Nnedi Okorafor with art by Tana Ford. The series is part of the Berger Books imprint at Dark Horse that's run by legendary former Vertigo editor Karen Berger. Taking place an indeterminate amount of time in the future, LaGuardia finds an Earth where aliens are now integrated with human society. Future, a pregnant Nigerian-American doctor, is returning home to New York City after several years living in Lagos, Nigeria. Future's stated reason for returning home is to raise her child at home in America, but some mystery surrounds Citizen, the father of her child, and the sentient illegal plant named Letme Live that Future has smuggled into the United States.

Book Review – The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became is the latest from acclaimed sci-fi/fantasy author N.K. Jemisin. Building off of the short story The City Born Great, The City We Became is a fantasy/horror novel about a group of 5 people that have been chosen by New York City to protect itself from an evil threat seeking to destroy it. When I say chosen by New York City, I'm not talking about a democratic election. Jemisin utilizes the mythos of New York City as a core fabric of the book and personifies the city to make it both a character and setting. It's something that I felt to be very unique and original.

Comics Review – Batman: Blink by Dwayne McDuffie and Val Semeiks

Batman: Blink collects issues 156-158 and issues 164-167 of the original Legends of the Dark Knight series. Originally published in 2002 and 2003, it's written by Dwyane McDuffie and drawn by Val Semeiks. There are two different stories collected here. The first is the initial 3-issue Batman: Blink storyline and the second has the pair returning to the same characters a short time later in the Legends of the Dark Knight series.

Comics Review – Bitter Root, Vol. 1 by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene

As part of an effort to boost Black voices in the comics and book community, I'm trying to mostly only read works by Black writers and artists for the month of June. This time I pulled down one I've been looking forward to for a while. Bitter Root , Vol. 1 collects the first 5 issues of the series written by David F. Walker and Chuck Brown and drawn by Sanford Greene. A sci-fi/horror series about a family of Black monster hunters living in 1920's Harlem, it felt like a natural fit to read this month.

Comics Review – Paying the Land by Joe Sacco

Paying the Land is the latest work from acclaimed comics journalist Joe Sacco, who is best known for his works like Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza. In Paying the Land, Sacco turns his eye towards the Dene, who are the people indigenous to the Mackenzie River Valley in the Canadian Northwest. Sacco recounts the the impact that the booming mining and oil industries have had on the lives of the Dene Nation. Sacco then works his way back through other struggles the Dene have faced as they continually weigh the benefits of industrialization with the costs to their way of life.

Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

South of the Border, West of the Sun is one of the most famous works from the acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It is the shortest book that I have read from Murakami, at just over 200 pages. South of the Border tells the story of a man named Hajime. Murakami tracks Hajime's life from a childhood love through adolescence and then through middle-age, which finds him married with two children. At the heart of the book is Hajime's struggle with never having lost the obsession of his childhood sweetheart, Shimamoto, and the threat this obsession poses to his domestic life when circumstances find her re-enter his life.

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