A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{March 2, 2015}   Comics and manga of February

eldeafoBlack Widow, volume 1 & 2 by Nathan Edmondson

  • This is the comic that Black Widow has long deserved. It deals with the spy and assassin jobs she takes on when not working for the Avengers and what this means for her career as an Avenger. Edmondson gives us a strong, cool, morally ambiguous Black Widow that I definitely want to see more of. Another great female led title from Marvel: keep it up!

Cyclops, volume 1 by Greg Rucka

  • Now this was a conflict: I love Greg Rucka and everything he writes but I can’t stand Cyclops (though I will admit the young one is slightly more bearable than the old one). But Rucka has done it again. He sends Cyclops on an interstellar adventure with his space pirate father. It is exciting and it is fun. Rucka has done the impossible: he has forced me to admit that I enjoyed a Cyclops title.

Does the Flower Blossom? by Shoko Hidaka

  • A chaste story about the busy business man who meets the odd, taciturn younger man. They grow close. Tragic pasts are revealed. It’s nothing new but it is a pleasant read with nice art.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

  • This is a brilliant all ages comic recounting Bell’s experience growing up with a hearing aid. It is honest, insightful and very touching. The art itself is very colourful and all the characters are endearingly rendered as rabbits. A must read.

Gokusen, volume 4, 5 & 6 (French) by Kozueko Morimoto

  • These volumes continue the story of Kumiko, the heir to a yakuza clan and teacher in one of the worst high schools in Japan. Kumiko tames more trouble students, the clan’s first lieutenant drags one of her students on a night on the town, and we learn more about her parents. If you liked GTO, you should definitely check this one out. I find it as funny, if less crude.

Hokuto no Ken, volume 6 (French) by Tetsuo Hara

  • Ken confronts the tyrant Souther but he isn’t ready and comes away seriously injured. Shu saves him, as he did when Ken was a child, so that Ken can discover the secret to Souther’s invulnerability and face him again. I love this series, it is intense, action filled and over the top (“You have 3 seconds left to live!”). But it always lacked a certain tension: Ken was always certain to win. On this volume, Ken finally faces an opponent who is a real threat to him.

Magneto, volume 1 & 2 by Cullen Bunn

  • After being possessed with the Phoenix force, Magneto tries to master his reduced powers of magnetism. To do so, he travels the world attempting to avenge wrongs against mutants. I wanted to like this series but I came away disappointed. I didn’t care for the character designs or the grittiness of the atmosphere but mostly I was unimpressed by the lack of scope: Magneto goes from rescue to rescue only to come to an uninspired epiphany. Give me Magneto Testament any day.

Manifest Destiny, volume 2: Amphibie & Insecta by Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni

  • Lewis and Clark continue their exploration of an American West full of monstrously fantastic fauna and flora. But their advance is slowed when the party is separated and threatened by giant frogs and mosquitoes. This is a unique and engaging fantastic twist on American history is a must read.

Nailbiter, volume 1 by Joshua Williamson and Mike Herderson

  • Buckerro is a town infamous for its serial killers: 16 of the worst killers were born with the town limits. Eliot Carrol, an FBI profiler obsessed with discovering the town’s mystery, has gone missing and Nicholas Finch has come to find him, though he has troubles of his own. But in a town where anyone could be a killer, who can you trust? Dare I say that this is a nail-biting mystery? I wasn’t sure that I would like it, I was afraid of gore but though there is a little, it pales beyond the twisty mystery and the strong characters. This is a new favorite.

Olympians, volume 7: Ares Bringer of War by George O’Connor

  • The seventh volume of O’Connor’s brilliant retelling of the Greek pantheon deals with the Trojan War, the perfect setting to talk about the god of war. He focuses not of the human and demi-human heroes, as many modern tellings of Troy do, but rather on the intervention of the gods. O’Connor continues to impress me with the way he condenses the myths and brings them to vivid life. A must read for all mythology fans.

Parapal, volume 4 & 5 (French) by Takumi Ishida

  • Komaki and her friends continue to investigate their enhanced senses and the aliens parasiting them. Komaki discovers, to her dismay, that one of the side affects of her enhanced sense of smell is that she attracts the spirits of the dead. But she is also increasingly distracted by her own feelings: for her new boyfriend and her friend Tsurumi. Meanwhile Rika feels jealous towards Komaki and decides to address her feelings in a HIGHLY problematic manner. A very unique and interesting shojo manga but it’s definitely triggering in the way it approaches rape so beware.

Rachel Rising, volume 5: Night Cometh by Terry Moore

  • Rachel begins to investigate the apparent suicides plaguing their town. She suspects that it might be tied to their past lives and Lilith’s dark magic. She also suspects that Zoe might be key to getting to the bottom of the town’s mysteries though she is an odd and dangerous girl. A deliciously creepy comic, Zoe, with her child-like looks and twisted actions, most of all but I’m begining to be impatient to see how it all comes together.

Shutter, volume 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca

  • Kate learned to be an explorer from her father. Then he disappeared and she gave up that life. But when attempts begin to made on her life, she is forced to confront her past and her family. This story unique, both in art and story, full of odd creatures (including a Felix the cat clock robot and a sentient Platypus) and literally bursting with adventure is well worth a read.

Tora & Ookami, volume 5 & 6 (French) by Yoko Kamio

  • In these final volume, Mii organises a cafe for the school festival and attracts the attention of some restauranteurs. Her grandmother’s restaurant is shut down and she might the opportunity to reopen it, but first she must confront her feelings for her former teacher, Ookami. Not Kamio’s best series, I prefer Boys Over Flowers and Cat’s Street but it is a short, enjoyable romance.

Uncanny X-Men, volume 3: The Good, The Bad, The Inhuman by Brian Michael Bendis

  • As the old Weapon X laboratory becomes more like a school for mutants, we begin to explore the new mutants’ powers and their relationships. But outside their walls, new threats and opponents are brewing. Bendis delivers another solid X-Men title. I look forward to more.

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