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Nicola Mansfield (Ontario, Canada)
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UQ Holder 2
UQ Holder 2
by Ken Akamatsu
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.36
34 used & new from CDN$ 3.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Vampires, Yoikai and More, July 24 2014
This review is from: UQ Holder 2 (Paperback)
This is getting a lot more tense and dark. Tota and Kuromaru are taken to UQ Holder Headquarters where they are thrust into a deadly challenge, a test to see if they are worthy enough to become members of the esteemed UQ. While we know Tota is a vampire, we find out the world he belongs to is filled with the yokai and Kuromaru's secret is finally revealed (which makes the OT rating for this series appropriate for 16+). There is plenty of battle with just a bit of magic and it is much more mature in presentation than other shounen. They have been sent out on their first mission which proved to be violent and we don't know whether successful yet or not. The main character Tota adds the light-heartedness to the series, even though he is proving to be much more powerful than he thought, his attitude is laissez faire and remarks flippant. On the other-hand we are getting to know much more about the serious characters of his partners Kuromaru and Karin. This follows a lot of the common shounen tropes but much more serious and mature which is reflected in the 16+ age rating. I like this!

Damian: Son of Batman Deluxe Edition
Damian: Son of Batman Deluxe Edition
by Andy Kubert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.17
37 used & new from CDN$ 16.65

4.0 out of 5 stars In the Future Damian is Batman, July 24 2014
This is a little strange because we are transported to the future. A future where Bruce Wayne is a sick elderly man, Dick Grayson is Batman and Damian Wayne (alive and well) is still Robin. The book opens with the death of Batman and Damian coming to terms with himself taking over the reigns as the new Batman, at first he refuses to carry on the tradition of being just and drawing the line at killing but he finds everyone from all sides coming down hard on him after his string of eliminating the bad guys. He promises his father to carry on the tradition and live up to the respected role of a just Batman. This is a dark, gritty Batman with quite a few changes in this possible future which I won't mention. Alfred's situation becomes quite strange though, I will say. Not really sure what is up with that. I didn't like Damian when I first read him as a character, but the more he's developed the more I like him and Morrison does write him well. I really enjoyed the story and the art, finding it a gripping, serious read. There is a priest who shows up quite a lot who is a mysterious character who knows the Waynes but is never identified. Will this story arc continue? I want to know who he is. Damian's Batman costume is a bit weird, mostly it is the familiar costume but instead of a cape he wears a long trench coat with the utility belt, as the belt of course, and the coat's tails flow off into cape features. So it appears cape-like when he's jumping/flying around but it is definitely a coat, not a cape. I didn't find it aesthetically pleasing. But a serious take on the Batman mythos, and an intriguing look at a future scenario. Good reading.

Wheel On The School
Wheel On The School
by Meindert Dejong
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.59
122 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Makes a Good Read-Aloud, July 20 2014
This review is from: Wheel On The School (Paperback)
This is a re-read for me. The first time I read it aloud to my eldest about 15 years ago and we both loved it so much. I went on to read several more of the author's books after that, also enjoying them. I was looking forward to this re-read. I was a little disappointed as the story was much slower than I had remembered and at first I actually thought it was boring. So it did take me some time to get into it this time, though I hardly remembered the story except the basic plot. I did find my groove though, and settled down with this old-fashioned story, set in a different time in a different world, pre-WWII Netherlands. This is a sweet story about children and their love for animals, storks in this case. It's a time when children roamed the countryside all day long, unsupervised. The first good chunk of the book sets up the plot and not a lot of events happen, though Dejong is a beautiful writer and we soon feel the sense of this time, this place and these people. Once the hunt for the wheel begins, action enters the story and each individual child has an event happen along the way. Some of these adventures are what we would consider today, well anytime really!, quite dangerous and make for exciting reading. It dramatically contrasts what childhood was like in those bygone days compared to today. Everyone will shake their heads but, some will be with regret, others with thankfulness, that those times have passed. I do think this is a beautifully written story, with a lovely message; a sweet story in a way, but a real one as well, these children are hardly all sugar-and-spice. Unfortunately, I don't think it is a book many modern-day children will have the patience to read themselves and I recommend it be used as a read-aloud. There is so much to discuss! I'm a huge fan of Maurice Sendak but his illustrations in this book are only middle of the road, recognisable as his work certainly but nothing special.

Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes vols. 13, 14 & 15
Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes vols. 13, 14 & 15
by Akira Toriyama
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.26
30 used & new from CDN$ 7.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Battle Battle, July 20 2014
Vol. 13: Piccolo Conquers the World - Whoa! Things are pretty serious now as we come to the final volumes of the original series. Not a lot of humour now as it's become quite dark and tense as the demon Piccolo takes control. More of our heroes die and all the tough guys try their hand against Piccolo. Both he and Goku have increased their strength and the volume ends with a major, major battle between the two. Good stuff! (5/5)

Vol. 14: Heaven and Earth - Beginning exactly where we left off the battle between Piccolo and Goku continues and takes up a large part of this volume. Goku is so strong he hardly takes any hits at all until finally Piccolo lets loose with everything he's got. After the battle, ends are tied up and this current arc comes to a close. Goku is sent to Heaven for more training and 3 years go by until everyone meets up again at the "Strongest Under the Heavens" contest again. This goes quickly and the volume ends with the final rounds about to start. Very fast-paced page-turning read. (5/5)

Vol. 15: The Titanic Tournament - The penultimate volume! Complete and utter battles as the finals of the contest get underway. Everyone has special attacks and some have secret identities. Fantastic pairing off for the duels and I love when our friends have to battle each other so it ends up with us really not knowing who is going to win the round. Quite a bit of excitement mounts as the last battle with the Demon Son is abruptly stopped mid-battle as the Volume ends. Looking forward to the last volume! (5/5)

Bane on the Rampage!
Bane on the Rampage!
by Bill Matheny
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 2.07

2.0 out of 5 stars A Comic for Kids, July 20 2014
This review is from: Bane on the Rampage! (Hardcover)
The only thing that saves this from two stars is that Bane is a pretty cool bad guy we don't get to see all that often. Bane breaks out and goes straight for Batman. The rest of the issue they battle it out with each other until, well, the same guy always wins at the end of these comics. Every book is a happy ending for the Bat. Not much here for adults. Little ones looking for a fun Batman they can read have found their match with The Batman Strikes! This is a reinforced library edition of the 4th issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

Joker's Wild!
Joker's Wild!
by Bill Matheny
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 2.04

2.0 out of 5 stars A Comic for Kids, July 20 2014
This review is from: Joker's Wild! (Hardcover)
This one didn't do anything for me. Yes, it is aimed at the little kids but that doesn't mean it has to be dull. You have your basic Joker steals from Batman (oh no, his mother's necklace was taken), then the Bat tracks him down and they have a bit of a fight and you-know-who wins. Not feeling any Bat love for this one It is, however, perfectly suitable for the little ones, 10 and younger, as long as cartoon punching and fisticuffs doesn't bother you. This is a reinforced library edition of the 3rd issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

In the Clutches of the Penguin!
In the Clutches of the Penguin!
by Bill Matheny
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 2.04

3.0 out of 5 stars A Comic for Kids, July 20 2014
Here's a Batman comic for young fans. This is based on the WB cartoon series and aimed at youngsters. From a grown-up point of view this is the least "Batman" like series I've read but in an age where comics are no longer for kids, this fits the bill nicely. Batman seems to be in his mid-twenties (it's been 20 years since his parents died) and he is a younger, hipper guy than the dark broody vigilante we are used to. Penguin is the villain here and he's drawn nothing like we are used to seeing him; I kind of liked it but over all the art is very stylized and cartoonish, not what one usually expects for Batman. The story was simple but fun and introduced a new character in this TV universe, GCPD Detective Ellen Yin. Good for the kiddies who want some Batman they can read. This is a reinforced library edition of the first issue of 50 comics. The first 21 are available in digital format.

Toto Trouble #1: Back to Crass
Toto Trouble #1: Back to Crass
by Thierry Coppee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.77

2.0 out of 5 stars Black Humour, July 17 2014
I didn't finish this, reading 40 of 66 pages, but it's just the same thing over and over so I've read enough to comment on it. This is a strange selection for Papercutz. This has no plot but is a collection of one page comic "jokes" but I'm not really sure the intended original French audience would have been children. It's about a little boy and his school life and at home but he's quite snarky and a lot of the jokes could be considered off colour. There are several "dead" jokes: a dead dad, some dead pets, a dead teacher, one I read was suggestive, others are just a tad on the black humour side and could be offensive to a wide variety of audiences. Personally, as an adult, I wasn't offended, though I don't find dead pet jokes in good taste, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with my little kid or a sensitive child reading these. I thought they were all mostly worth a snicker but they did get tedious one after another. If it was a daily newspaper comic, I'd probably read it. I like the art though; it's very Calvin and Hobbes-ish.

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey
Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey
by Nick Bertozzi
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
32 used & new from CDN$ 7.43

2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, July 13 2014
I really enjoyed Bertozzi's book on Lewis & Clark so was greatly looking forward to this one. I'm a great reader of polar exploration and very familiar with this tale. I enjoy graphic biographies a great deal, not because I expect them to necessarily bring anything new to the table (this didn't) but because I enjoy experiencing the story in various formats: biography, memoirs, film, and graphic novel just adds another dimension. but frankly, I simply found this effort dull and since everyone was all bundled up it was hard to tell the characters apart except Shackleton who wore a distinctive hat much (but not all) of the time.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
by Dan Slott
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
32 used & new from CDN$ 6.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Villains Galore, July 13 2014
There is always time for a Batman villain showcase and "Living Hell" was literally a riot. I had such a great time with this gallery of "bad guys" that I couldn't put it down. The story isn't exactly heavy duty and there are a few arcs running through at the same time but it's all in the name of a grand romp and pretty crazy creepy at the same time. Most of the famous villains make little cameo appearances but the focus is more on not-so-well known villains or ones created just for this volume. I really liked these lesser known dudes such as Jason Blood and the demon Etrigan (why are they not in Justice League Dark?), Humpty Dumpty (his whole back story is told) and the Great White Shark (this book's main arc is Warren White's tale of how he became the villain). Batman shows up a couple of times and Batgirl a little bit more often, with Harvey Bullock getting some good page time as well. There are more powerful, deep reads out there but this is just some plain villainary (so not a word!) fun. I really liked it. The art is good too, though it's old style and been a while since I've read anything with that newsprint-ish look but it brings back the good old days after awhile. Fun!

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