A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 8, 2014}   Comics and manga of August

ManifestDestinyVol1Amulet, volume 6: Espace from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

  • Navin and his classmates enter the city of Lucien, filled with ghostly creatures and seemingly abandoned, on a mission. Meanwhile his sister Emily and the other stone keepers and meet with Max to confront The Voice. The is an amazing all ages fantasy adventure comic and I highly recommend it. Each volume is better than the last.

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

  • An alternate universe origin for Batman, in the same spirit as Superman: Earth One. It shows a new Batman bumbling with inefficient equipment fighting against the corrupt mayor responsible for his parents’ death. If you like gritty, it certainly delivers and their are quite a few nods to fans.

Batman: Li’l Gotham, volume 2 by Dustin Nguyen

  • The art and the gags continue to be cute but the holiday theme that informs each issue is growing a little thin. I do like that, though lighthearted, Nguyen is true to the DC characters; you have to really know them to poke fun at their quirks as he does.

Billy Bat, volume 11 (French) by Naoki Urasawa

  • Kevin must use his prophetic art and his connection to the mysterious bat to stop a serial killer. Urasawa continues to reveal the origins of the bat and the ways in which it has influenced world history, little by little. Another great suspense by one of the manga masters.

Black Butler, volume 17 by Yana Toboso

  • Thank goodness this private school storyline is almost over; it has dragged incredibly and the cricket match that took up most of this volume and the previous one was boring, even to someone who enjoys sports manga. Hopefully we can now go back to horror and mystery, with just a touch of humour, that I love about Black Butler.

East of West, volume 1 & 2 by Jonathan Hickman

  • I’m not quite sure how to describe this sci-fi western. The horsemen of the apocalypse manipulate a group of world leaders who follow a mysterious prophecy but Death has separated from the group and is intent on stopping their plans. This is one of those series that takes a long time to unfold: there is action and surprises aplenty but it is not Firefly in case that’s what you’re expecting. I would compare it instead to Image’s Pretty Deadly. If you liked that series, you’ll probably enjoy this one too.

Ippo, volume 53 to 55 (French) by George Morikawa

  • This is an intense storyline: Ippo prepares for his battle against Sawamura, a real brute of a fighter who cheats and enjoys causing pain. Not only Ippo’s belt but the very honor of boxing is on the line. The fight is brutal and I really had no idea how it was going to go. This is some edge of your seat stuff.

Kaze Hikaru, volume 22 by Taeko Watanabe

  • Saito decides to finally act on his feelings for Sei but in doing so he risks discovering her secret: that she is a girl posing as a samurai in order to avenge her family. This remains one of my favorite historical manga. A must for anyone interested in the shinsengumi.

Kids on the Slope, volume 7 (French) by Yuki Kodama

  • After many misunderstandings, Ritsuko and Kaoru begin to grow closer and understand their feelings for each other. There’s is a quiet, innocent and slow romance. But just as thing begin to look up for them, Sentaro gets some news that might change his life again. The next volume is sure to have a lot of drama.

Lazarus, volume 2 by Greg Rucka

  • Volume 2 of Rucka’s brilliant new sci-fi series gives us a glance at Forever’s childhood, training to protect the family. But the main story concerns a terrorist plot and a family hoping to improve it’s lot by being lifted to the status of serf to the family. Action, intrigue and amazing world-building. I’m already eager for more.

Lucifer, volume 2 by Mike Carey

  • This volume follows the Basanos’ slow, intricate plot to take over the universe that Lucifer created. And he comes so close to losing that he gets a visit from Death. Carey tells Lucifer’s story, much in the same way as Gaiman did for Sandman, through the interconnected, fantastical stories of side characters. It works brilliantly and has the art to back it up. This series is a must for every Sandman fan.

Manifest Destiny, volume 1: Flora & Fauna by Chris Dingess

  • I bought this on a recommendation from a friend and I’m very grateful for it. This is an enthralling and unique series that follows Lewis and Clark’s voyages into a world of fantastical creatures, sentient flora and much worse. There are deadly surprises at every turn. This is one of the must read series of the year.

Mass Effect: Foundation, volume 1 & 2 by Mac Walters

  • Foundation takes place between Mass Effect 2 and 3 as Cerberus searches for Commander Shepherd. A lot of the storylines revolve around the Cerberus agent Rasa, her infiltration missions and her interactions with the Mass Effect characters like Jack, Miranda and Jacob. These weren’t as good as some of the other Mass Effect comics, and doesn’t include any of my favorite characters but it’s a must read for fans of the game.

Master Keaton, volume 7 (French) by Naoki Urasawa

  • Our intrepid archeologist/insurance investigator/former military operative faces a variety of mysteries and dangers again in this volume. This is such a hard series to review in a few sentences: it is episodic with a great variety of stories (over 10 different stories in this volume). But Keaton is an endearing character and his adventures are intriguing and exciting.

Mon Histoire, volume 3 (French) by Aruko and Kazune Kawahara

  • The unconventional shojo romance between the very manly Takeo and his girlfriend Yamato continues. It is adorable and unusual. Takeo is clueless but sweet and Yamato genuine loves him for who he is. And I admit that it’s refreshing that Yamato is the one who want a more physical relationship.

No Longer Heroine, volume 7 (French) by Momoko Koda

  • Hatori and her friends go on a ski trip. She wants to strengthen her relationship with Nakajima but Rita’s new feelings for her are a distraction. Should she be loyal to her boyfriend or bask in the love of her childhood crush? Either way, she quickly learns that she can’t have both. This volume also includes a time-travel short story about a girl who loves samurai.

Piece, volume 10 (French) by Hinako Ashihara

  • This is the final volume of Ashihara’s dark, emotional mystery and all the puzzle pieces have finally fallen into place. She doesn’t give us a traditionally happy ending but it’s an ending that is true to the characters. This was a series that looked honestly at human complexity and I loved that about it.

Scott Pilgrim, volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley

  • Scott now lives with Ramona and continues to face off against her evil exes – this time a pair of Japanese twins with robots. But it is his ex that will cause trouble in his relationship. This hard cover, full colour edition of the series is well worth the price. I’m looking forward to the last volume.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

  • This is the long awaited sequel to Smile. This is another comic memoir, this one dealing with Raina’s relationship with her younger sister, a cross-country trip and her parents’ separation. The art is fun and colourful and the story is told with honesty and humour. Telgemeiers books are fun for all ages and belong in all libraries.

Trillium by Jeff Lemire

  • Nika is one of the last humans in the universe. She is negotiating with a race of aliens for the Trillium plant that might same humanity from the sentient virus that plagues them. What she discovers instead is a kind of time machine that allows her to meet William from the early 19th century. Lemire gives us an unlikely romance and a fascinating, mind twisting sci-fi tale. He tells it with his usual gorgeous art and with some innovative panel work. A great stand alone.

Wandering Son, volume 7 by Shimura Takako

  • Wandering Son follows Nitori, a boy entering puberty who wants to be a girl. But being transgender is hard enough without having to negotiate a changing body, a girlfriend and lack of understanding. Around him his friends and classmates also struggle with friendships, relationships and identity. A quiet, sweet and respectful tale about transgendered children.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga

  • I love this quiet series about two gay men living their day to day lives and cooking delicious meals. I’ve tried several of the recipes already.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom by Brian Michael Bendis

  • When Beast brought the original X-Men from the past and they decided to stay, many warned of the danger to the time stream. This event, spanning 4 different X-Men series, deals with this danger. Future X-Men, including the grown version of past Jean, come back to send the X-Men back in time. But they may not be honest about their intentions. If you have been enjoying All-New X-Men (and who hasn’t?), you should check out this event.

Yakitate Japan! volume 22 & 23 (French) by Takashi Hashiguchi

  • The televised baking competition continues. Now Azuma must compete against Yukino in a pie competition. Then things reach a new level of weird. It turns out that Kirisaki of St-Pierre has a mind controlling bread and has used it to turn his son, Meister, against Pantasia. I’m continuously impressed by Hashiguchi’s ability to come up with new and creative storylines around bread… no matter how far fetched. It’s good fun.

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