A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{June 2, 2014}   Comics and manga of May

sex-criminals-vol-01-releasesAll New X-Men, volume 3 by Brian Micheal Bendis

  • Beast has brought the original X-Men team – Cyclops, Jean, Angel and Beast – forward from the past and it has created chaos. Past Angel has left them in favor of current Cyclops’ mutant rebellion. Meanwhile Jean is having trouble controlling her emerging powers and dealing with the terrible things she knows about her future. If that weren’t enough, Mystique and her team are committing grand theft and impersonating the original X-Men to do it.  This is Bendis at his best, he perfectly captures the relative innocence of the early X-Men days and all the things I loved about those characters while, to be honest, messing with their heads deliciously. A must for X-Men fans.

Andre the Giant by Box Brown

  • An biographical account of the famous wrestler and his struggles with acromegaly – the condition responsible for his great size – and alcoholism. This is a loving but honest account of Andre’s life, including his flaws as well of as his great accomplishments. You will leave with a very good understanding of his life and struggles. I also love the way Brown addresses the mythology of wrestling and how this sometimes obscures the truth of Andre’s life. Give this to fans of wrestling and anyone interested in Andre the Giant.

Mon Histoire, volume 1 & 2 (French) by Aruko and Kazune Kawahara (Released in English as My Love Story)

  • This quirky twist on shojo manga stars a teenaged boy but is everything but the bishounen type: he is big and macho and has watched all the girls he has liked fall for his best friend. But after saving a pretty girl from a groper, he is shocked to find that she has fallen for him. Thus begins their saccarine sweet romance. It’s a really sweet story with moments of humour and very nice art (if you don’t mind non-bishounen in your manga ;)).

The Movement, Volume 1 by Gail Simone

  • This is an interesting New 52 title that starts an entirely new cast of super powered teens. They have tasked themselves with protecting the poor and disenfranchised from those in power. Simone has given us a great team with interesting varied powers and backgrounds. There are also some interesting plot lines revolving around murder, corruption and betrayal. And though The Movement are heroes to the people. Simone doesn’t shy away from pointing to their hypocrisies and ethical dilemmas. They are heroes but they are still people. who do not always agree and who are sometimes wrong. An interesting new title that, honestly, doesn’t even need to be in the DC universe.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, volume 4 by Heather Nuhfer

  • I was a huge MLP fan as a child by the 80s continuity had nothing on the quality of the current show and comic. These stories are fully adventure and friendship and give a positive message without being preachy. And I love all the pop culture references sprinkled throughout the comics. This volume has two adventures: first the ponies team up with a suspicious pirate and then they must travel through stories to stop a bookworm from destroying them all. Great all ages fun and don’t let me hear you say this series is only for girls.

Oresama Teacher volumes 10 to 12 by Izumi Tsubaki

  • I’ve been marathoning this series after neglecting it for a while and so much happens over the course of these volumes, most involving attempts by the student council to shut down the Public Morals Club . A wacky manga whose plot doesn’t quite hold together but it’s a light read and worth an occasional laugh.

Otodama, volume 2 by Youka Nitta

  • I loved the first volume of this series and I’ve been waiting years for a follow up. It’s finally here! In this volume we go back in time to the meeting between police detective Yasuhide and his friend Kaname with the extraordinarily keen hearing. We also learn the tragic fate of Kaname’s sister and Yasuhide’s fiance. A fascinating and touching police procedural that brings a lot of depth to the series.

Pretty Deadly, volume 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick

  • I love Deconnick and the work she’s done of Captain Marvel but to be honest, it took me a few issues to get into this series. The art is beautiful and the story is wonderfully macabre (with a touch of western) but it is a bit meandering at first and I didn’t really follow what was going on for the first couple of issues. But it’s worth hanging in there, DeConnick weaves a fascinating story about Death’s daughter and the young girl who is destined to replace him. It is part western and part mythology. If that sounds appealing to you, definitely give this comic a chance. I expect that it will only continue to get better.

Princess Jellyfish, volume 12 (French) by Akiko Higashimura

  • A rich entrepreneur is fascinated by Tsukiko’s creativity and wants to take her to Hong Kong and groom her to run a fashion label but Kuranosuke is unwilling to let her go. Meanwhile his older brother is in Italy, selecting an engagement ring for Tsukiko. Another fun volume starring my favorite girl geeks. They are on the brink of saving their home, which has driven the plot so far, I wonder where Higashimura will take us next. Still one of my favorite manga.

Real, volume 12 by Takehiko Inoue

  • This is one of my all time favorite manga series. The art is gorgeous and the story has been known to overfill me with feelings, good and bad. This isn’t the strongest volume, more of a bridge as Ryo and Togawa go to a wheelchair basketball camp to learn some important lessons and Nobu gets serious about his rehab. I can already  tell that volume 13 will be amazing though. *shivering with anticipation*

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

  • Just stop what you’re doing and go read Knisley’s memoir in food. In her comic, she recounts growing up surrounded by foodies – chefs, reviewers, gourmet food store owners and more – and the way this shaped her view of the world. The whole is punctuated with recipes from chocolate chip cookies to sushi. I’m not even much of a foodie myself and I loved it. But a warning: don’t read when hungry, it’ll leave you salivating.

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

  • She’s back! I don’t know what to say about this all-ages sci-fi adventure except that it is pure, undiluted fun. It is full of wild adventure and great characters (Pizzicato love!). Reading it made me feel 12 again. Hatke better be planning more volumes of this amazing story. Every children’s department should have this comic.

Say I Love You, volume 1 by Kanae Hazuki

  • I wasn’t expecting much from this series, just another generic shojo manga, but it’s surprisingly entertaining. Mei has decided to go it alone after years at being betrayed by friends when playboy Yamato falls for her and tries to open her heart.

Sex Criminals, volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

  • This new Image series just blew me away. It is about two people who stop time when they orgasm and use this power to rob banks, to save a library. It’s brilliant. Fraction only begins to explain where this power may be coming from but more than the crime or the actual sex, I was fascinated by the exploration of the effects such a power would have a person and their intimacy with others. This is my favorite new series of the year so far.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Animated Adventures, volume 2

  • The new TMNT cartoon is probably my favorite thing on TV right, and the comic, while more episodic and with slightly weaker writing, is a great way to keep me going between episodes. This volume contains 4 stories starring the first season villains. It adds nothing in particular to the series but they are fun adventures. Fans of the show will enjoy it.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Kariko Tamaki

  • The Team that brought us Skim, offers us the tale of two girls on the cusp of adolescence enjoying their summer together while the adults around them seem to self-destruct: Rose’s mother is tormented by events of the previous summer and fights endlessly with Rose’s father and the local teens have their own drama. A beautifully illustrated and delicately drawn tale of growing up and coming to understand one’s parents as people.

Tora & Ookami, Volume 2 (French) by Yoko Kamio

  • Mii slowly realizes that she is falling for Tora, just as her new friend discovers the same and actually acts on it. She struggles to figure out how to be a good friend in the face of her conflicting emotions. Another great shojo series from Kanio. I don’t yet like it as much as Cat Street or Hana Yori Dango but it has a lot of promise.

Ultimate Comics X-Men, volume 2 & 3 by Brian Wood

  • Let me just start this by saying the Brian Wood has done an amazing job on this series. I had given up on the Ultimate universe but he has made me love the series again. These two volumes follow the creation of Utopia and the attempts by factions, mutant and human to destroy it. Ultimate Kitty really comes into her own in this series while Jean Grey begins to lose it. I’m also fascinated by what he’s doing with Rogue. What can I say? Wood writes the X-Women better than anyone in a very long time (both in Ultimate Comics and just plain X-Men) and I hope he keeps doing so.

Vampire Knight, volume 17 and 18 by Matsuri Hino

  • Kaname is on a quest to kill all the pureblood vampires, even though his beloved Yuki is one of them. Yuki, meanwhile wants both to stop him and save him. This vampire romance has shifted into high gear as the end approaches with more battles and hard decisions than ever. A must read for fans of paranormal romance. I was a bit ambivalent when I first started this series but now I’m genuinely curious how she’s going to end it. Only one more volume left to go.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga

  • THE manga for fans of BL and cooking. Yoshinaga continues to recount the daily lives of two 40-something gay men, interspersed with delicious and easy recipes. It is a quiet manga with few grand events but it is oddly engaging. A great gateway manga for new manga readers.

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron

  • This is the final volume of the Wolverine and the X-Men series and Aaron leaves us on a high note. The various stories deal with the student’s love for and loyalty to the school, whether they are transferred (Kid Gladiator) or must stop SHIELD spies who want to take down the school. The last issue gives us both a graduation and a grim view of the future of the school. But it ends with hope. Not the best X-Men comic on the market at the moment (as a X-Men fan, I feel honestly spoiled right now) but a really good read.

X-Men, volume 2 by Brian Wood

  • Lady Deathstrike returns, sharing her body with the young and rich Ana Cortes, and she brings several hard-hitting female X-villains with her. I’ve set it earlier but Wood really knows how to do justice to the female characters of the X-Men continuity: he gives us an action-[acked story that brings foward each of the women’s strengths. I can’t wait for the next volume.

XxxHolic Rei, volume 1 by Clamp

  • XxxHolic was my favorite Clamp series so I’m glad that they are continuing it… kind of. Rather than starting where the previous series ended, Rei returns to when Yuko still ran her shop and brings us more troubled people and their oft-disturbing wishes. They also seem to be delving into some of the mysteries that were never cleared up in the previous series. A must for fans and easy to pick up from here… though if you like this sort of dark and fantastical tale, you really should start with the first series.

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