Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Li'l Gotham 002

The Story
In the first story Batman and Nightwing stop Mr Freeze from kidnapping a children's choir. In the second story Catwoman vows to turn over a new leaf for the new year. But a surprise visit from Harley and Ivy test her resolution.

The Review
The first thing that strikes me about this print version of the digital first Li'l Gotham is how well the pages are put together. In the digital release half a page of the printed edition is a full page in the digital chapters. I was afraid it wouldn't go well together when put into a full page, that there would be a clear line through the middle of each page. Fortunately the folks at DC are in fact professional picture people and know how to make this book look good.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Talon 008

The Story
Casey and Sarah are captured by the Court. When Calvin is brought back to life they are used to force him to do the Court's bidding. The first task they send him on is taking out the Talon currently allied with the Birds of Prey.

The Review
There's a strange realm where plot events are predictable but still satisfying. This issue falls into that realm. I think the main reason I'm not pulling out the, "Psha! I called that months ago!" card is because I'm genuinely interested to see what happens next. It's a big shift from the status quo of the book, and where we go from here will be very intersting. I'm not a fan that I'll have to buy Birds of Prey to get the next part, but I will do it just so I can see Calvin playing the role of the villain. That last page has me really excited to see what happens next. I don't usually put much importance in the whole "I want to see these characters fight" mentality. But I really, really want to see him fight the Birds of Prey.

Graphic Novel Reviews: The Dark Knight 020

The Story
Batman investigates the murders while Natalya is kidnapped by the Mad Hatter. Despite his conviction that she was perfect, after Natalya leaves a large scar on his face he decides she is not his Alice and must be disposed of. Batman realizes that Natalya has been taken and races to find her. But he is too late and the Mad Hatter throws her out a helicopter to die on the bat signal.

The Review
I could be very, very sarcastic during this review. In fact last week that was my gut reaction. Since then I've had time to cool down, realize there were more important things in life than bad comic books. But, I imagine as I get back into the books coming out this week I'll find a couple of stinkers to ruin my mood.

I don't think anyone is surprised at Natalya's death. People that haven't read any Batman books before couldn't possibly be surprised by her ultimate fate. Batman has kept his secret identity for a long time, that doesn't happen when every girl he ever revealed his secret to managed to survive their respective story.

Episode 049 - May 27, 2013 - Why Hiramaru and Aoki's Relationship Sucked | Toriko Vol. 5

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of May 27, 2013. This week Moe doesn't get to do much talking for the first half because I'm too busy ranting about how much I hate the relationship between Hiramaru and Aoki in Bakuman. Think I'm crazy? Agree with me? Listen to this week's episode and find out why exactly I believe that. We also talk about Toriko Vol. 5.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Episode 048 - May 20, 2013 - Moms in Manga | JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Phantom Blood

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of May 20, 2013. This week we talk about something we probably should have talked about last week, namely, Mom's in manga. We don't really have any kind of thesis statement going into this, we mostly just list off the moms from manga we do know, what they do, and try to figure out the general trends for how they are portrayed in manga. We also take a look at part one of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Anime Reviews: Toriko Episode 099 - Too Huge! The Giant Fortune Roll, Completed With a Pro Wrestling Move!

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The Story
Toriko and Komatsu go to get some special seaweed, called eco nori, a kind of seaweed found only in one special place. They travel to the lands of Aimaru and his Gourmet Knights, who then take them to Eco Village, where the seaweed turns out to be the out layer of a certain kind of tortoise. After Toriko charges all the solar batteries for the tortoises, they return to Monchi with the seaweed. He then creatures the fortune roll, by wrestling the ingredients into submission.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman Li'l Gotham 001

The Story
In the first story Batman explains halloween to Damian. The two run into the rogue's gallery enjoying a holiday meal at a restaurant. And in respect of the holiday Batman lets them finish their meals before the police storm the restaurant.

In the second story the Penguin attacks a thanksgiving parade, protesting against the wholesale consumption of turkeys during the holidays. Batman and Robin take him down and then return to Wayne manor to enjoy thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family.

The Review
I often have trouble reviewing books that I like. Generally I end up saying a long winded version of, "Yeah, it was good." But every once in a while there comes a series that while I initially don't have much to say, as each new chapter comes out I find myself with more and more to say. One such series is Batman Li'l Gotham. This newish series by Dusting Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs has been coming out as a digital first with new chapters being published as they coincide with major holidays.

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic 007

The Story
Nightmare Rarity and her shadow creatures overpower the ponies, while Luna is sent back to help Ponyville prepare for the upcoming invasion. The Mane Six are locked up, with only Spike left free. He sneaks into the castle, but is caught in an illusion of Nightmare Rarity's. He manages to see through the deception, but is unable to fight back against the corrupted Rarity. Now all that's left are the ponies on earth. And only one issue left to go in this story.

The Review
There's something about fart jokes that, no matter how innocuous or how only one is used in an entire issue, the simple fact that one was made lowers the esteem many readers have for the entire work. I don't really take it into account when considering my grade for this issue, but it did give me pause when I read it. "Really?" I thought, "We're going there?"

Graphic Novel Reviews: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 002

The Story
Teela reveals that she does not recognize Adora for being Adam's sister, but because she was apparently an imaginary friend of hers. Or so she thought. They fight, but ultimately have to retreat when Adora's forces start butchering civilians to force a surrender. What is left of the royal forces and the Masters of the Universe convene at Castle Grayskull. King Randor explains that their enemies are the forces of Hordak, though none of his people believe that they are being attacked by an old legend.

Adora's forces discover where the remnants of the resistance are gathering and orders surveillance on the old castle. She sends a projection of herself as an emissary, to order their surrender, but the Masters of the Universe refuse.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 020

The Story
Nine years ago a bullied girl poisoned a bunch of her classmates at a birthday party and stole a ventriloquist's dummy. Back in the present Barbara visits her psychologist and tells her most of what happened the previous night. Though it is a little confusing as to what she actually tells her and what she keeps secret. She gets into a fight with the girl from the first two pages, who has grown up and now has some what seem to be some kind of telekinetic control over her dummy and other objects.

Barbara remembers the license plates of every car in the parking lot, and runs off to trace which car the Ventriloquist took. Back by the docks Jim Gordon declares that Batgirl will pay, showing a lot more concern for the sociopath of a son than he ever showed before.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 020

Warning: The reviewer was driven momentarily insane by the contents of this book. What follows is the sum of all his vitriol. Take it with a grain of salt, since he has some bias of his own, but yes, the book was just about that bad.

The Story
I'm not even going to try to and summarize what happens in this book. Does it fit in with what is happening in Justice League of America? Absolutely not, but why bother complaining about it, clearly nobody actually creating these books cares about continuity.

The Review
I've been hanging onto this series for a while. At first it was because I wanted to have all the issues. I was waiting for things to get better. But clearly that's not going to happen. Instead we'll continue to get this mess of terrible characterization, awful continuity, shoddy art work, and just plain worthlessness. I was hoping that things would get better. I continued to review this series because bad reviews are entertaining. But enough is enough. This is the book that caused me to drop this series. It's not worth my money, and the reviews for this series just don't get enough views to make it worth the three bucks I spend on this series. Apparently Justice League of America is the only series I can count on for characterization of Catwoman that isn't awful. And if what I've been hearing about the future of that series is true then I'm going to be sorely tempted to drop it too.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 020

The Story
Dick arrives at his apartment, only to find that the previous tenant is still occupying it. After a brief misunderstanding he goes to get some rest in his other roommate's room. The police find alderman Laine, whose arm has been bitten off by the wolf. When Dick finally wakes up he gets a message from Johnny Spade. The mayor and Tony Zucco have a scene together, with Zucco coming across as more of a scared innocent than a hardened criminal.

Nightwing plays Spade in a game of cards for the information he wants. Spade tells him that while the other avenues were a dead end, the Prankster might know more. Nightwing interrupts Prankster during one of his ironic traps, but ends up with his HUD deactivated and trapped in a glass box where the only way to get out is to take off his mask so he can see.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Episode 047 - May 13, 2013 - Gender Roles in Manga | Wandering Son

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of May 13, 2013. This week we're joined by Ed Sizemore, host of Manga Outloud and writer for Comics Worth Reading, who has come out of his manga reviewing hiatus to discuss how genders are portrayed in manga, with an emphasis on women. We also discuss a series everyone should be reading, Wandering Son. If you haven't read it yet, you should, I'll provide a handy link for you at the bottom of this entry. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman 020

The Story
Clayface throws Bruce into a trash compactor, where he is keeping Lucius Fox. The two break out of the compactor with a familiar looking prototype suit. Batman sets a trap for Clayface, who has been going on a rampage. But he is overpowered by the villain, who touches him and reveals that Bruce Wayne is Batman. But once Clayface is captured, Batman reveals that he had a thin membrane with Bruce Wayne's DNA over his mouth. Clayface taunts Batman about how Wayne ignored his son, to which Batman reacts violently. Back in the Bat Cave Batman tells Alfred that he won't lose himself like he did when Jason died, but he isn't ready to let Damian go just yet. Alfred joins him in watching the footage from the cowl.

The Review
I've been putting this review off for the past few days. Not because it's bad and I'm trying to find a way to word my disappointment in a way that won't get me kicked out of Batman fandom. But because it's good. Really, really good. And I can't think of anything interesting to say!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Justice League of America 003

The Plot

The JLA fight against the robot duplicates of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Vibe is able to disable the machines with his vibrations. Later it is decided that Catwoman will infiltrate the secret society by making a lot of noise about knowing about their existence, with the hope that they will come to her. Their hopes are answered as Catwoman is accosted by two members of the society and kidnapped.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Red Hood 020

The Story
Carrie Kelley confronts Bruce about Damian's disappearance. He tells her that Damian is studying overseas. Later, Batman takes Red Hood to Africa to attack a compound of international assassins, some of whose members answered Talia's hit on Damian's head. When he takes Red Hood to the where the Joker beat Jason to death, Red Hood flips and the two fight. Jason leaves, his trust in Bruce shattered again. Elsewhere, Two Face, gun in hand, flips a coin, but seems discontent with the result it gives him. 

The Review
I really enjoyed seeing Bruce and Jason make up in Red Hood and the Outlaws. Out of the whole disaster of Death of the Family this was the one relationship that was salvaged. Too bad it didn't last very long. I hope that it doesn't take several years again to patch it all back up, but this certainly does explain why Jason decided to have his memories erased in last month's issue of his own book.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Special 002 - May 6, 2013 - Where the $%#! Is My Manga!? - A Discussion of Golden Week | Toriko Vol. 4

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of May 6, 2013. This week we don't have any new shonen jump chapters, so we're doing a bit of a special episode. We could take a week off, but we won't, because we know how you just can't do without the dulcet tones of our voices. We also talk about volume four of Toriko.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Anime Reviews: Toriko Episode 098 - Toriko Faints in Agony! Capture the World's Stinkiest Ingredient!

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The Story
Toriko and Komatsu go to the Heavy Drinker Archipelago, to get the vinegar they need to make the fortune role. While there they come across many natural occurrences of alcohol and snacks that go well with alcohol. They meet Knocking Master Jiro, who Toriko thanks for helping him out in the Gourmet World.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Micro-Series Featuring Rarity

The Story
After a stressful fashion show, Rarity's friends decide to send her on a spa vacation to give her a chance to unwind before the big show in Canterlot. Flax and What's New Age All-Natural Wellness Center turns out to not be what she expected. Every day is hard work and frustration, the only thing keeping Rarity from leaving after the first day is the small gifts of beauty products she receives at the end of the day. After a couple days, however, Rarity has had enough and intends to leave. She learns about Flax and Wheat's financial troubles, and about their business creating all-natural beauty products. With her entrepreneurship Rarity is able to help them rebrand, increase production and prices, and sell their products in Canterlot.

In a two page side story we learn the story of Hayseed, a minor character from one episode of the show.

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Issue 006

The Story
Twilight and friends, along with Princesses Luna and Celestia, use their combined magic to lasso the moon closer and climb up the rope. Once there they are confronted by the shadowy essence that corrupted Luna and turned her into Nightmare Moon. They are all faced by their worst nightmares, but are able to break free when they discover what has happened to Rarity.

The Review
I really need to get better at reviewing books that I like. It's easy finding things to complain about, but without any kind of negative counterpoint I find myself at a loss for positive things to say. That, in my roundabout way, means that I liked this issue too much to complain about it. Which leaves my review in danger of being completely unentertaining. But we shall prevail, and somehow a review about this will be written.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Worlds' Finest 012

The Story
Power Girl and Huntress fight Desaad, but discover that he has only revealed his true form to them. To everyone else it looks like two women randomly attacked Michael Holt. The two make their escape, and the scene shifts to Huntress fighting Yakuza a few months prior. Back in the present, things have not been going well for Starr Industries, and the problem escalates as Karen's aid reports that the Cambridge Lab has exploded. While Power Girl and Huntress deal with the catastrophe, Desaad attacks Karen's facility, leaving none alive. When they return to the scene, Karen laments how she made them all targets, and she and Helena decide to go under cover and finish Desaad on their own.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Detective Comics 020

The Story
Batman discovers that Ogilvy has been behind everything and goes to face him. But the mutagen enhanced Ogilvy makes short work of Batman. Thanks to a rescue by Penguin, Batman is given a chance at a rematch and he takes the crime boss down. In Blackgate Ogilvy takes out "The Boss" and further enhances his reputation.

The Review
Well, this was a disappointment. I'd been enjoying the Emperor Penguin story quite a bit, he had the makings of being a long term antagonist for Batman. But instead of that happening, Ogilvy is taken out in a single issue, and his final plan isn't even close to interesting.