A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{March 17, 2013}   Comics and manga of the week (84)

hawkeyeHawkeye, volume 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

  • Hawkeye is unique among the Avengers: he has no powers, no technology, only a simple bow and arrow and great aim. He uses his skills to punish unscrupulous landlords and thieves, help gorgeous women on the run and go undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. Things always seem to go wrong on his missions but courage, determination and the help of the new Hawkeye get him through it all. The whole thing feels like the best kind of action movie. Some of the dialogue is really obnoxious, however (for example the villains who are constantly saying bro). It wasn’t enough to spoil the fun but like I said, it was annoying. David Aya’s art in the first 3 issues makes me forget all of that though. It’s unique and pleasantly sketchy; I want to see more of his drawings. This volume also includes a Young Avengers issue where the new Hawkeye tries to prove herself to the old.

His Favorite, volume 3 by Suzuki Tanaka

  • Awakward, ugly Yoshida has been dating selfish, sadistic Sato in secret for quite some time when another boy, almost impossibly good, also shows interest in him. Who will Yoshida chose? This is not my favorite BL series but it’s cute and funny and I appreciate that Yoshida isn’t traditionally attractive. It’s a nice change. But I can’t get over the fact that Sato really is a terrible boyfriend. Yoshida you can do better!

Koibana, volume 5 & 6 (French) by Nagamu Nanaji

  • While Hanabi’s school prepares for the school festival, Sasa’s homosexuality is revealed as are Mii’s feelings for Chikai. Heartbreak and tension between friends abound. I still think that Chikai would make a terrible boyfriend for anyone and for Hanabi in particular but I love how complex love and friendship are in Nanaji’s manga. There are no easy happy endings in sight.

Parmi Eux, volume 8 (French) by Hisaya Nakajo

  • In this double volume we learn more about Umeda’s past and the man he’s been in love with since High School. The sarcastic doctor is my favorite character so this was a real pleasure for me. Sano and Nakatsu’s friendship is also tested by their rivalry over Mizuki’s affections. But for me it’s all about Umeda. 🙂 This series is a classic and this edition is absolutely gorgeous, if you don’t own it yet, you should.

Silver Diamond, volume 9 & 10 (french) by Shiho Sugiura

  • Rakan and his friends stumble upon a haunted field and one of the ghosts seems to have some tie to Chigusa… only he doesn’t remember her. Then Rakan is plunged into a deep sleep and dreams of his former life. His friends begin to regret taking him from him safe world to their dangerous, desert world. I continue to enjoy this unique, environmentally conscious fantasy.

Virtus, volume 4 (French) by Gibbon and Hideo Shinagawa

  • While Takeru and the other time traveling Japanese inmates continue their brutal gladiator training, the senators in Rome set in motion a plot to assassinate the cruel Emperor Comodus. Beautiful, detailed art, an intricate story and thrilling (occasionally gruesome) action… I can’t think of anything bad to say about this series. It even introduces another strong, fascinating female character… though I worry her fate won’t be a good one. There is only one volume left and I can’t wait to see how the story will be wrapped up.

Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega by Brian Wood

  • Bitter young telepath Quentin Quire decides to take his revenge on the new headmaster of The Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, Logan. He traps him in a video game-like mental construct along with Armor. This is a fascinating concept and very well executed. The action within the construct is exciting and Quire’s rapid degradation due to mental strain is fascinating. The ending is, on the surface, a good one but there is something truly chilling about it. This is well worth a read, even if you haven’t been following Wolverine and the X-Men.

X-Factor, volume 19: Short Stories by Peter David

  • Pip the troll reveals his invaluable contributions to X-Factor and seems to die in the line of duty. Meanwhile Jamie and Layla’s honeymoon is interrupted by the murder of several Lincoln impersonators. The whole thing seems to signal a hellish invasion and the end of X-Factor. The Pip issue was especially interesting; he is one character who has not been developed much in the past. The rest is your typical X-Factor fare, which is a great thing, but this volume doesn’t stand out.

X-Treme X-Men, volume 1: Xavier Must Die! by Greg Pak

  • Dazzler is drawn into an alternate dimension with other world versions of Emma Frost, Wolverine and Nightcrawler. They must kill evil Xaviers from various dimensions before they can destroy the multiverse. The plot of this volume borders on the absurd but I can’t say that it’s lacking in action. And if this is an attempt to make me feel attached to Dazzler and respect her powers, it hasn’t succeeded yet. The young Nightcrawler is, however, adorable.

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