A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{February 9, 2015}   Comics and manga of January

tmntAfterschool Charisma, volume 10 by Kumiko Suekane

  • Clone Hitler has been denouncing St-Kleio’s Academy in the media, hoping to destroy it and it’s legacy of creating clones of famous people. But Kai, who has recently discovered that he is the founder’s clone, has begin to fight back using clone Napoleon’s charisma to counter Hitler’s. He is prepared to be ruthless to save his friends. This is an interesting series about genetics and self-determination with a lot of twisted political machinations. I feel like it’s starting to drag a bit and the series has not ended yet so hopefully the author has something exciting in store for us in the next volume.

All-New X-Men, volume 4: All-Different by Brian Michael Bendis

  • Kitty Pride and the X-Men from the past join Cyclops’s mutant rebellion, track down X-23 and fight off Stryker. I much prefer Immonen’s art to Peterson’s (seriously, just flip through the trade, Peterson’s but shot just jump out at me 😛 ) but on the whole the story is high action and interesting. I really like what they’ve been doing with the X-Men from the past, it’s something new in a universe that had been getting stale. The volume also includes several shorts in celebration of X-Men’s 50 years. They are silly and cheesy but we’re early X-Men comics too? 🙂

Amazing X-Men, volume 2: World War Wendigo by Craig Kyle

  • Oh, Amazing X-Men, you really let me down. You should have let Immonen keep writing this title (she did do the first stand alone issue in the volume). I had nothing but good to say about the current X-Men series but Kyle’s World War Wendigo is eye rollingly bad, and not just because of his painful and lazy attempt at French or because he thinks Canada’s capital is made up of cabins in the woods. Unless you desperately want to see some accidental canabalism resulting in a wendigo outbreak or Wolverine turned into a wendigo, skip this one.

Gokusen, volume 3 by Kozueko Morimoto

  • Kumiko’s link to the yakuza is revealed to some of her students. But she isn’t the only teacher at the school with a troubled past: one of Shizuka’s students tried to commit suicide, and it’s happening again. If you like GTO, try this series. Kumiko is less perverse than Onizuka but just as funny, quick to fight and good for her students.

Master Keaton, volume 8 (French) by Naoki Urasawa

  • So much goes on in a single volume of Master Keaton, I never know how to capture it all in one of these blurbs. Volume 8 contains 12 stories that range from the quiet and domestic to murder, assassination and terrorism. Through his mix of observation, negotiation and McGyver-like ressourcefulness, Keaton helps everyone from a  British man who wants to become a Chinese cook to a former bomb expert, paralyzed by fear and alcoholism. This is a series even those new to manga could enjoy.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, volume 6 by Ted Anderson & Jeremy Whitley

  • Another great collection of fun and funny stories staring our favorite ponies. They must catch a diamond thief, escape a hypnotic kelpie (with the help with their pets) and Discord takes the cutie mark crusaders on a time-travelling adventure (his time machine is smaller on the inside). Great for fans of the series.

Saga, volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

  • This series. There isn’t a single thing that I dislike about it. Vaghan writes a unique, enthralling space opera with deep and complex characters and Staples’ character designs and expresses art takes it even further. Sheer brilliance. In volume 4 Alana’s work on a kind of futuristic soap opera starts to get to her and her relationship with Marko begins to be strained. Prince Robot’s life also takes a turn for the worse. But I don’t want to give anything away. Read it. Read it now.

Say I Love You, volume 5 by Kanae Hazuki

  • Mei and Yamato continue to grow closer but fashion model, Megumi is determined to break them up using whatever underhanded means she can think of. I love this shojo manga. It follows a lot of the standard tropes but it is critical of them at the same time and gives a lot of depth to its characters. It is thoughtful and honest about high school love. Plus I have a huge crush on the new character, Kai, Mohawk, geekiness and all.

Swampthing, volume 4 & 5 by Alan Moore

  • In volume 4, Moore wraps up Constantine’s plot. Swampthing follows him and other mystical people beyond the living world to defeat a great evil. In the process, we learn more about the nature of the Swampthing. Volume 5 takes a completely different, but fascinating turn: Swampthing’s lover Abby is prosecuted for her relationship with him and he besieges Gotham in order to get her back. I love Moore’s examination of humanity and of unlimited power in this thoughtful series. This is definitely one of his best.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, volume 3 & 4 by Kevin Eastman

  • Though I have a special place in my heart for Nickelodeon’s TMNT cartoon, this new comic remake has been blowing me away. It is dark, action packed and Eastman has been giving some fascinating new origins for all our favorite characters. In these volumes, the Turtles team up with April to save Splinter, we learn more about Krang and a new mutant turtle is set loose on the city. If you love TMNT as much as I do, you’re missing out if you’re not reading this series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures, volume 4

  • 9 short stories in the world of Nickelodeon’s TMNT. They are a bit of a mixed bag. Some are a bit sillier and more moralistic than what I’ve come to expect from the cartoon. April gets to save the day, Donnie makes a love potion and it goes wrong, of course and Splinter masters a fighting game, among other things. Not as good as some of the previous volumes but still fun.

Les vacances de Jesus et Bouddha, volume 2, 3, 4 & 5 (French) by Hikaru Nakamura

  • This is a silly gag comic about the stay of two heavenly beings on earth. A lot of the jokes have to do with their misunderstanding of mortal life, recurring gags (Buddha’s followers are constantly trying to fatten him up and animals follow him everywhere while Jesus turns everything into bread when he’s happy) and ludicrous anachronisms (Jesus is addicted to MMORPGs and Buddha acts like a stingy housewife). It’s all good fun, even when they don’t always get Christianity quite right, but don’t come in expecting a logical, sustained narrative.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 6 by Fumi Yoshinaga

  • I never get tired of this manga. It’s very quiet, about shopping and cooking with only the most minor professional and personal upsets. And yet that very quiet, the way Yoshinaga captures the comfort and banality of every day life is half the fun. The other half comes from the many delicious recipes in every volume. Besides, it’s quite nice to see a manga that normalizes gay life rather than make it all about scandal or female desire. This one is for all the foodies out there.

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