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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. ūüĆüūüĆüūüĆü

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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.

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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.

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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 Рincluding 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.

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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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Graphic Novel Guide Review: DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017 – eBook, 126 pages – Published January 10th 2017 by DC Entertainment

This is a really useful guide for anyone trying to decide how to get into comics/graphic novels, or what to buy/read next. It provides a synopsis, review quotes and images from 25 of the most “essential” novels from DC to date, as well as a suggested reading order for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Flash, Robin and more.

Some of the most important graphic novels, according to this guide, include Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke, The Sandman, V for Vendetta, Gotham Academy and Flashpoint. Of course, there are 19 more novels listed, too.

The guide includes stand alone novels, and¬†Vertigo¬†novels. There is a section dedicated to comics inspiring and inspired by TV shows or films, such as¬†iZombie (a personal favourite that I’m dying to read). As well as a backlist for every DC and Vertigo graphic novel, the guide includes a selection of different collectables available.

Everything listed in this book has an RRP included, and the ISBN (and lots of other details) to make it easy for anyone to find and buy. The authors and artists are all credited, too.

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

The layout of the suggested reading order pages could’ve been a bit clearer, I feel, but I think this guide served its purpose pretty well. 3.5 stars.

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Manga/Graphic Novel Review: MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book

MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book

MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book (Originally by Rudyard Kipling) by Crystal S. Chan – eBook, 327 pages – Published April 3rd 2017 by UDON Entertainment

The Jungle Book¬†isn’t my favourite book ever, but I like this Manga Classics collection and thought I’d give this one a try, too. This one was quite different from the others I’ve read, containing seven different “books” – three of which made up¬†The Jungle Book¬†story itself. The other tales were of a white seal trying to save his friends from the murderous men, a mongoose protecting his new family from snakes, a young boy who witnessed the dance of the elephants that no man has ever¬†seen before, and finally a man and the parade of animals serving.

Four of these books I had never heard of before, so they were interesting to read. They all contained little poems like those in The Jungle Book, meaning they all fit together well as a collection.

The art was different to what I expected; it often took a comedic, exaggerated look. It wasn’t the best art I’ve seen in a novel like this, but it expressed the story well enough. I did, however, notice a few typos throughout the novel.

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

Not a bad novel, but I can’t say I’m overly amazed by it. I’d give 2.5 or maybe 3 stars at a push.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Gotham Academy Second Semester Volume #1: Welcome Back

Gotham Academy Second Semester, Volume #1: Welcome Back

Gotham Academy Second Semester, Volume #1: Welcome Back by Brenden Fletcher – eBook, 162 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published July 25th 2017)

I absolutely¬†love¬†this comic series! My boyfriend introduced me to the first semester and I just adored it right away. The writing is fantastic – the dialogue between characters is so funny. And the art is always great and easy to follow. It’s just so well written overall, I think. So much action and mysteries¬†everywhere; nothing is ever what it seems at Gotham Academy.

The characters are so well written, and I absolutely adore Olive, Pom and Colton. I’m not so keen on some of the others, but that was probably the intended reaction. Not all characters are made to be loved.

This comic ties into others in the Rebirth universe – such as¬†We Are Robin¬†– and features famous characters like Batman, Damian, Clayface and Killer Croc (not all in this particular volume, though). So whether you’re a big superhero comic fan or not, I think everyone can appreciate and enjoy this comic.

The Detective Club is on their way to discovering the true past of Gotham – and Olive’s real heritage. Unexpected allies and foes are found along the way, including Batman himself – Olive’s least favourite hero of all.

Another good aspect in this is the inclusion of homosexuality – which is brilliantly weaved in without defining the character or affecting the plot. I’m not going to give away¬†who¬†the character is, but I so¬†think they could’ve chosen a better “crush”. (Let’s just say it’s one of my favourite characters falling for one of my not-so-favourites.)

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

This has definitely encouraged my new-found love of comics to grow, and I’m going to read on right away. 5 stars. A fantastic comic.

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Manga Review: The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean Secrets Volume #1 by Sophie Chan – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 16th 2017 by TokyoPop (first published April 1st 2015)

This was a really interesting little manga. Lia, living with her adoptive family, remembers nothing of her life before adoption. When her sister takes her out in their uncle’s boat, Lia discovers a world of secrets she could never have anticipated.

Just as she thinks she’s going to drown, Lia is caught and saved by Moria and Al, sailing… through the¬†sky. They teach her about the kingdoms floating in the sky, right in the middle of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. And they tell her about the magic they wield, like the other citizens of the three sky kingdoms.

But Al and Moria can’t go back to their home. They sail around instead, avoiding capture; Al was accused of a crime involving the Queen and Princess of Lyronaz, which he had no part in. So now they are forced to roam around the skies alone.

The Peacekeepers finally catch on, though, and Al is captured. Can Lia borrow enough of Moria’s magic to rescue him? Or will she fall back to earth – to her death?

At the end of the volume, the King is finally reunited with his beloved daughter. Al is finally accepted as innocent, but is now determined to discover who is responsible for framing him.

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

The art is pretty nice, relatively simple and clear. There were a few grammar and spelling mistakes, but in general it was written quite well. If the next volume is available for review on NetGalley then I may request it.

A really interesting idea. I like the idea of the kingdoms banished to the sky. 3.5 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superman Action Comics Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics Volume 2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics (Action Comics III, Volume #2 – DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 130 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 30th 2017)

Another great comic, featuring some of our favourite people – including Clark Kent, Superman (no, they’re not the same person), Lois, Jon and even Superwoman.

Carrying on from the previous volume, we’re waiting to discover who this new Superman is after the original Superman’s death, not to mention the mysterious Clark Kent who’s turned up too. And tying into Superwoman, Lana is still mourning the death of her friend when the replacement Lois turns up.

I’ve found this plot really intriguing – what happened to Superman and Lois Lane? Where have all these “replacements” come from?

The first issue(s) in this volume touch(es) on Lex becoming the new Superman, featuring several other famous heroes. Again, this ties in to Superwoman.

I love Jon, and it’s nice to see Lois and Clark/Superman making themselves a little life together. And I like how the different Clarks and Lois’ have their little differences as characters, despite technically being the same people. And Jon is trying to cope with the change in lifestyle, with this whole new world.

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

I think this is a really interesting story currently. It’s a good comic in general, and I plan to keep up with it. 4 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Blue Beetle Volume #1: The More Things Change

The More Things Change

Blue Beetle (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: The More Things Change by Keith Giffen – eBook, 146 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 10th 2017)

I really didn’t know much about this comic before. All I knew about Blue Beetle is that my boyfriend pointed out how he, in Injustice 2, has a face like Groot. I just can’t unsee it now.

Another teen hero – but one that was not raised into the role. Jaime Reyes has a strange beetle attached to his back, found by him and his friends. With the “help” of Ted Kord, Jaime goes into some pretty interesting scenarios, playing hero. And then Doctor Fate makes an appearance, warning them about the scarab being “unreliable”. Extensive tests on Jaime bring to light what is happening to him.

He runs into The Posse, a gang who are well-acquainted with Jaime’s mother. And then Mordecai shows up, threatening Mrs Reyes’s life. But it’s not her he’s after.

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

I won’t lie, I kind of had no idea what exactly was happening half the time. I liked the banter and humour in this – especially with Ted Kord – but I couldn’t really keep up with the main plot. Maybe if I read more, I’ll understand what’s going on. I’m not sure. 3 stars for this.

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