Graphic Novels, Comics and Manga

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Volume #3: Death of the Family

I only want to do a short summary of this book, as it’s pretty similar to the other two in terms of style and everything.

First, Damian sends Bruce across the world following “clues” he’s set out, based on the Wayne family. He has a hidden agenda that Bruce soon discovers, though, which tests Bruce’s trust for his son.

And then following the “zombie” attack in the last volume, Batman and Robin find themselves facing another army of the Joker’s creation. This time, however, they’re against each other.

I love the Joker, and the way the ordeal with him and the whole Bat family took place was great. Plotting them against each other was probably the mode evil thing he could have done.

Finally we see the dreams had by Alfred, Bruce and Damian, reflecting their inner fears. I thought this a nice issue, especially since it included Alfred’s dream. I love the relationship between Alfred and Bruce, and seeing how he cares for Bruce is always lovely.

3.5 to 4 stars for this volume.

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Manga Review: Bleach 3-in-1 Volume #1

<span style="text-I haven't seen the anime of this yet, and I'm not sure which was released first. I'm definitely interested in seeing the show now though, and am certainly going to read the rest of the manga volumes (if I can find/afford them all!).

As usual, I will try not to ruin the plot for anyone who wants to read it. I’ll just say that Ichigo can see ghosts, and one day comes across a soul reaper – who accidentally gives her powers away and is stuck in a temporary human body. Together, they work as soul reapers to rid the world of “evil” hollows – which takes them through some pretty sad memories.

The writing is great – I found this so so comedic, and just enjoyable to read all the way through. I read all 500+ pages in one afternoon!

There’s also some.seriously sad stuff in there – dead family members make guest appearances, and I actually found some of the scenes so touching and painful. The entire volume was just written so fantastically.

The art is amazing, too – I especially liked the odd blank page with just a small illustration that peppered the book. It was artistic, yet still presented the story well.

This is probably gonna be a favourite of mine for a long time. I cannot wait to read on – the end of the third volume in this collection is very intriguing! 5/5 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Vol. #2: Pearl

This is the second volume of Batman and Robin comics in the New 52 universe in DC. It starts with a little flashback to Damian’s early childhood, and his growing up to overpower his mother. We’re then thrown back into the “present” – full of sibling rivalry, father-son moments, and a hell of a lot of fighting.

The relationship between Bruce and Damian will always be great to read. I loved how Damian was so headstrong in this book, but then the ending was so sweet. And I actually really liked him fighting with the other “Robins” – Red Hood, Nightwing and Red Robin – in order to prove himself better than them. Nightwing’s response was definitely my favourite.

There are a good deal of villains in here – Terminus and his army of “scarred” victims of Batman, and a zombie uprising courtesy of Batman’s favourite clown. The action is good, and the “zombie” plot was great. 

And of course, the art was as fantastic as ever. 

4 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Volume #1: Born to Kill

Damian, despite being a bit of a self-centred, arrogant little boy, is one of my favourite characters. I mean, he’s a ten-year-old superhero. That’s pretty cool.

I also love his relationship with Bruce – hence why I was so eager to read this series. Bruce as a father is great in general (I mean, he’s not great, but it’s amusing and sweet to read) but I think the clash of personalities between him and Damian makes it even more interesting.

My ultimate favourite is, of course, Alfred Pennyworth. He’s as snarky as always in this, but is no less badass than any other member of the Bat family.

The plot of this novel is based on Nobody, or Morgan Ducard as he’s actually called. Throughout the book we learn about his past with Bruce, and the reason for their rivalry. 

Throughout this story Damian is developing hugely – and will continue to do so in later issues. His upbringing turned him into the perfect killer, and he’s finding it hard to agree with Bruce’s “no killing” policy. But Bruce is encouraging him all the way, and refuses to give up on him.

The moments between Bruce and Damian can be so sweet, and I loved watching their relationship develop and become more secure. Batman will always need a Robin, and Robin will always need a Batman.

4/5 stars.

Graphic Novel Review: Tyranny

So as you’ve probably realised by now, I have anorexia. And because of that, I am always drawn to books about eating disorders, including this graphic novel I found in the library. It’s always good to see realistic and relatable presentations of ED’s, and I’m also always quick to point out when something is being portrayed wrong.

This book was a pretty accurate representation of my own personal battle with anorexia. It addressed the starving and the bingeing that many anorexics go through, as well as the body dysmorphia and unhealthy habits and routines. It included friends of Anna (the protagonist of this book) who are also suffering – one of which eventually suffered a heart attack and died. It’s not uncommon for people with anorexia to have friends who pass away as a result of the unhealthy habits brought on by the disorder.

Anna does eventually decide she wants life, and goes into treatment. She learns to tell Tyranny (the voice/persons of her ED) that she doesn’t care about being thin anymore, and eventually she gets her to leave entirely. (I can’t say that’s happened to me; it’s more of an ongoing, up-and-down struggle in my experience.)

One thing I wasn’t sure was so good about this book was the inclusion of weights – her weight loss process, the weight of another patient. This can be incredibly triggering for people suffering with an eating disorder, and can make people feel invalidated – feeling as if their ED isn’t as “bad” or “real” because their weight wasn’t quite as low. For this reason, I would be hesitant about recommending this book to people who are trying to recover from their disorder.

Overall, I felt it was a good portrayal of anorexia. It was brutally honest and included both the starving and the bingeing, which lots of people don’t often discuss. 4.5 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Harley’s Little Black Book

I love Harley Quinn as a character, so I happily agreed to review this novel. It definitely wasn’t as great as I hoped, or as good as Harley as a character in Suicide , but it still had some strengths.

So in this book, Harley basically just collects together a load of tales from her adventures with various characters. It contains a hell of a lot of innuendoes and sex jokes, and a makeout scene with Lobo that I really was not interested in seeing.

I did feel like Harley was just made out to be a bit of a sex-crazed idiot at times, when there’s actually a lot more of her character to be shown. There was a flashback to her childhood experience of being bullied, which I thought was fantastic. 

There was still the loveable, crazy character being written, and the whole stories/general writing had that kind of fun tone that I love about Harley. Again, it was maybe too light and fun, but it was a nice little read. 

Thank you to the author/publisher for giving me a review copy of this book

I maybe wouldn’t have liked this half as much if it was any other character, but I just love Harley Quinn. It wasn’t her strongest appearance, though, despite it being her own book. I’m going to give it 3 stars out of 5. 🌟🌟🌟

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland – Hardcover, Deluxe Edition, 64 pages – Published March 19th 2008 by DC Comics (first published 1988)

I went to London Super Comic Con on Friday and bought a few image books/graphic novels (I can’t wait to read them!) and decided to start taking advantage of my boyfriend’s extensive comic/graphic novel collection. As I’ve been intending to read The Killing Joke for ages now, I decided to start with that.

The edition I read included an introduction by Tim Sales, an afterword by Brian Bolland, and a final scene written and illustrated by Bolland.

This is one of the most famous and successful novels – and I can see why. The story is just fantastic – the Joker tries to prove that anyone can go insane after just one bad day, using Jim Gordon as his example. The colour palettes are so cleverly thought out, giving an eerie, creepy tone to most scenes, while the Joker’s (possible) origin story is mostly black and white with just small details in red.

Batman is obviously included, but is not a massive character in this story. The focus is on the Gordons and the Joker.

I really loved this. The origin story for the Joker that’s included can be taken as true or false – the Joker makes a comment about not actually remembering his past, and liking it to be “multiple choice”. This gives the reader the choice of believing it or not. And the Joker’s ways of putting Jim Gordon through hell are definitely in line with his character.

The Joker always fascinates me, and I would love to read all his stories. But whether you’re a “fan” of his or not, this book is definitely worth the read. 5 stars; an fantastic novel.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy by Cecil Castellucci – eBook, 151 pages – Published July 18th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published July 4th 2017)

I haven’t read Shade, the Changing Man and didn’t know anything at all about this comic when I read it. I had no clue what to expect, but it was definitely rather interesting.

The first thing I noticed was definitely the colour. The art was amazing, so quirky and expressive. Immediately, I was hooked on this book. The art alone drew me in, and I loved looking at every page.

The plot was also pretty wild. Loma Shade, a strange alien creature, steals the “madness vest” and takes control of the comatose body of Megan Boyer – leaving her ex-boyfriend behind as she ventures to Earth. Everyone believes her to still be Megan, and Shade struggles to fit in and right Megan’s wrongs. But it was only meant to be a bit of fun – not a permanent situation.

Shade eventually confides in a new-found friend about her true identity, but everyone else still thinks she’s just Megan. But Shade is nothing like Megan, and no one has missed the sudden change. But the change is welcome, for the most part – it turns out that Megan wasn’t the nicest girl around.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

There were also some mini stories included at the end, which were really interesting, about some new characters.

It is a very, very strange comic, and I loved the art. But I didn’t really connect with Shade that much, or feel any emotion for or from her. I’ll probably read more at some point, and perhaps then I’ll begin to enjoy it even more. For now, I’m giving it 3.5 stars. I loved the art, and the plot was good, too. I just hope to feel more emotion from Shade.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: New Super-Man Volume #1: Made in China

New Super-Man

New Super-Man (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Made in China by Gene Luen Yang – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 27th 2017 by DC Entertainment

I finished this novel on the car journey to Wales last week. This comic was on my to-read list, but I didn’t really know much about it. As it was available via NetGalley I decided I might as well request and read it now.

China has begun to see more and more Western-style criminals, one of which Kong Kenan decides to stand up to. Kenan, a teenage bully, soon finds himself in the spotlight – and the focus of Laney Lan. And then suddenly he’s Super-Man. He even gets to work with Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man, making up the Justice League of China, to defend the streets from the masked villains prowling them.

But when he finds out the identity and origin of a certain group of these villains, Kenan finds himself straddling the line between good and bad. Which side will he choose?

Kenan is a bully, and so he has the crappy, douchey attitude of one. But I found him too much of an idiot, too rude and stubborn and just annoying. My boyfriend said it kind of makes him more relatable, more human, but I just did not like him. The story is never quite as interesting when you dislike the protagonist.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

The story wasn’t too similar to the original hero’s, which was good, but I’m not all that keen on the whole “Super-Man” title or whatever. The hyphen is more annoying than anything, and I just feel like they could’ve taken the opportunity to be more creative. And there were a fair few similarities to Superman, too, such as him learning to control his powers. Yet, this was still made different – his way of harnessing the powers was very different to Superman’s. I kind of thought the powers would be more similar, as they are meant to be the same, technically, but oh well.

I’m not mad on this comic, but maybe it will improve later on. As for this volume, I’m going to say 3.5 stars. It’s okay, but I’m not all that interested in it.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad (DC Universe Rebirth) – eBook, 296 pages – Published June 27th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published June 13th 2017)

I went camping in sunny old Wales last week, which gave me a lot of time for reading. Sadly, I had no internet or phone signal, and so am having to write all the reviews now. First of all is the collection of comics in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.

While the Squad are busy dealing with Apex and the stolen Quake Pulsar, Batman and the Justice League are hunting them down. They’ve decided it’s too dangerous to have a team of criminals wandering around, and are insistent on taking them down. Amanda Waller isn’t about to let that happen, though!

The League end up imprisoned in Belle Reve, while the original Suicide Squad (Task Force XI) are broken out of prison by Maxwell Lord. With their help, the Heart of Darkness is found, and Eclipso takes hold of the world – including the Justice League.

I always love reading Suicide Squad comics, especially where Harley is prominent – she’s probably my favourite character. And it was really interesting to see how Batman and the League eventually work alongside the Squad. The dialogue between them, the little bits of banter that went on throughout the volume, was great. And the comedic tone of the Suicide Squad comics was present throughout, which I really loved.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

And then, just to top it all off, we meet Waller’s kids at the end. I found the ending pretty intriguing, really. It was definitely interesting to see into Waller’s life a bit more, outside of her work.

A really enjoyable novel. Funny and exciting, a strong 4 or even 4.5 stars I think.

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