A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{April 1, 2014}   Comics and manga of March

DelilahDirk_Cover2nd Love: Once Upon a Lie, volume 1 (French) by Akimi Hata

  • Sumi has been in love with Natsuki for 10 years but she never worked up the courage to tell him. Now he is getting married and she is heartbroken but his younger brother Satsuki, who works as a waiter in her company, is determined to make her forget Natsuki. An entertaining josei with some funny twists. I was personally not charmed by Natsuki and his pushy nature but he’s certain to have his fans. It’s not revolutionary but it’s an entertaining romance.

All New X-Men, volume 2: Here to Stay by Brian Michael Bendis

  • The original X-Men have been brought from the past to stop the present day Cyclops and they have decided to stay. But Jean’s emerging powers are creating her some trouble and her teammates are troubled by what they become in the future. This is an interesting twist on the X-Men mythos and Bendis handles the story and the characters very well. There are amazing things going on in the X-Men universe, both in this series and in X-Men, I have been this excited about the world in a few years.

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Rift, part 1 by Gene Luen Yang

  • I make no secret of being a huge fan of the Avatar TV series and the comics are a worthy successor to the cartoon. This volume begins with Aang trying to reclaim airbender rituals but in the process Toph is brought face to face with the issues that led her to leave her parents.  Yang perfectly captures the characters and he is beginning to bridge the gap between the end of Avatar and the beginning of Korra. I await the next volume with impatience.

Avengers: The Emeny Within by Kelly Sue DeConnick

  • DeConnick is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic writers. This volume continues the story in Captain Marvel. The Captain riskss her memory and her life in order to defeat a Kree villain. The art takes some getting used to but the story makes it well worth it.

Chew, volume 8: Family Recipe by John Layman and Rob Guillory

  • Tony’s deceased sister Toni has left him a bit of herself in order to help him find her killer. And since his power is to see the past of things he eats… yeah, connect the dots. This volume doesn’t advance the mystery much but it is a crazy, funny and occasionally gross adventure.

Chi une vie de chat, volume 2 & 3 (French) by Konami Kanata

  • The adorable story of a kitten named Chi and her human family. She explores her world and meets a huge frightening cat. Meanwhile her family has to figure out whether to keep Chi or their cat-free apartment. An adorable colour manga with a wonderfully realistic kitten.

Deadlock, volume 1 by Saki Aida and Yuh Takashine

  • Yuto has been sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit but he has a chance to break free: he must use his skills as an investigator to find a dangerous cult leader in the prison. This is an interesting mystery with hints of BL romance. A great story but fans of romance and smut might be a bit disappointed with this first volume. Still, if you like crime mysteries and you can wait for the payoff, this series is worth a read.

Death by Neil Gaiman

  • This is a collection of Gaiman’s Death stories from his Sandman universe. It deals with people who want to die and some who want to live forever. It deals with Death’s once a century day as a mortal. Also included is an amusing sex-ed short. A must for Gaiman and Sandman fans.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

  • When Selim is sent to interrogate the mysterious, adventurous woman known as Delilah Dirk, his life is turned upside down. Soon the timid Turkish Lieutenant has become the reluctant sidekick in her thievery and adventure. I’m new to Cliff’s work but he’s definitely an artist to watch. He has created a great cast of characters and sent them on exciting adventures. Plus I can’t help but appreciate Selim’s love of tea.

Gambit, volume 2 & 3 by James Asmus

  • Gambit wants to distance himself from the X-Men and the Avengers and get back to his roguish roots. He tries to help a femme fatale and then competes to become the King of Thieves. The writing is weak and the dialogue can be cheesy but it’s an entertaining read for a Gambit fan.

Ippo, volume 47 (French) by George Morikawa

  • This is the beginning of the 3rd season of the classic boxing manga. Ippo is preparing to defend his title against a powerful fighter from Okinawa who shares Ippo’s strengths. But what he really craves is a fight with his rival Miyata, a fight his coach won’t let him accept because the technique that Ippo considers his strongest weapon could be turned into his greatest flaw. Another great, exciting volume, dripping with testosterone. Somehow, even in so long a series, Morikawa manages to keep raising the stakes.

Itsuwaribito, volume 10 by Yuuki Iinuma

  • Seeking another Kokonotsu treasure, the liar Utsuho and his companions arrive in the country of Sasaka. Sasaka is recovering from the rule of a tyrant princess with a surprising resemblance to Neya. This is a truly underrated shonen manga, full of twists and action. Fans of Naruto and Bleach and the like should be reading this.

The Last of Us: American Dreams, volume 1 by Neil Druckman

  • The Last of Us was one of my favorite games of 2013; I got so caught up in it, the characters and the world seemed real to me. So I was thrilled to meet Ellie again. This comic takes place before both the game and the recent DLC, it deals with Ellie’s first meeting with Riley and with the Fireflies in the post-apocalyptic, zombie-overrun world of the game. It’s a fast paced story with strong, female protagonists and illustrated by the wonderful Faith Erin Hicks (love her!). It can be understood without having played the game and I for one can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Mercury by Hope Larson

  • In 1859 in Nova Scotia, Josey falls for the mysterious man who has found gold on her father’s land. And in the present, her descendent Tara has returned to high school after years of home schooling. Her home burnt down months before and her mother is in Alberta for work. Their stories come together in an unusual way. Larsen weaves a fascinating story, enhanced by her black and white art, which brings Nova Scotian history to life.

Paul a un Travail d’Été (French) by Michel Rabagliati

  • Paul quits high school after an incident with the principal but his is quickly disillusioned by his full time job in a print shop. When he is offered a job in a summer camp for disadvantaged children, he jumps at the chance. He gets off to a rocky start but soon he grows close to his fellow councillors and to the children. The experience changes his life. It is no surprise that Rabagliati is one of the most recognized comic creators in Quebec. He has mastered nostalgia. He has perfectly captured the pains of growing up and Qubec in the 70s. A must read series.

Silver Spoon, volume 5 (French) by Hiromu Arakawa

  • Yugo adopts a puppy and struggles to jump obstacles in his horseback riding club in preparation for the school festival. Arakawa’s manga about an agricultural school in Hokaido continues to impress. The pacing, the humour and the characters are spot on and I learn so much from each volume. But I never expected less from the author of Full Metal Alchemist.

The Stuff of Legend, volume 4: The Toy Collector by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith

  • The toys continue to search for their kidnapped boy, but they are now separated. Meanwhile the Boogeyman has called upon the Toy Maker to put all his armies back together. This is a brilliantly constructed and drawn comic which adds a touch of creepiness to our childhood toys.

Switch Girl, volume 9 & 10 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • Nika’s ski trip with her boyfriend turns into a disaster when her hair dresser tries to get between them. Volume 10 takes a turn for the fantastical when a curse turns Nika into an old lady just before Valentines day. I found volume 9 a bit less light hearted with it’s attempted rape and all but the ludicrous, gross humour remained and volume 10 is back to the fun I’ve come to expect, though it stretches credibility a bit. I also continue to love how the series plays with shojo manga conventions.

Uncanny X-Men, volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

  • Cyclops is gathering mutants in order to start a revolution but the Pheonix Force has broken his powers and some suspect his sanity. I am anything but a Cyclops fan but Bendis has done an interesting things with the storyline. It’s not as good as the current runs of X-Men and All New X-Men but well worth reading.

Yakitate Ja-Pan, volume 6 to 18 (French) by Takashi Hashigushi

  • I’ve been speeding through my reread of this series which says something about it’s quality; it is funny (occasionally ludicrous) and entertaining. These volumes cover the end of the Monacco cup and the beginning of the baking competition TV show that will probably close the series.

Young Avengers, volume 3: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space by Kieron Gillen

  • I wanted to love this volume. It’s a great series with amazing characters and Gillen is an amazing writer but I couldn’t understand what was happening half the time. Still, I hope this is only the end of the storyline, not the story.

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