Comic Book Review: FCBD Lady Mechanika

Synopsis:

Introduce new readers to this steampunk bestseller, which has been remarkably successful with female readers as well as fans of the popular steampunk genre, with this FCBD special that includes the original 14-page one-shot introducing Lady Mechanika, a young woman in Victorian England with mechanical limbs and no memory of how she got them, searching desperately for the secrets to her past, plus excerpts from the Lady Mechanika trades and comics!

What I First Thought:

I got this comic from the local store during Free Comic Book Day 2017. I’ve seen Lady Mechanika floating around at the various comic book stores that I’ve been into and I’ve been interested in reading about her for a while. So when I saw this edition I decided to finally take the plunge and see if this dark, steampunk lady would suit my fancy!

Ratings:

Art: 4/5

I really liked the art. Everything was well drawn and detailed. You could see the detailing in her outfit real well, specifically on her vest. The patterns on the vest were faint so that it didn’t distract from the overall scene, but you could see it well enough to give her clothing a distinctive and authentic feel. The action scenes weren’t too congested with unnecessary lines, sounds, etc. that would draw you away from what was happening. Some of the facial expressions were a bit too dramatic but overall the people looked decently designed. My one complaint it that Lady Mechanika looks to have Barbie’s proportions. I understand how corsets work, they make the wait look thinner and the boobs stand out more, but her body just doesn’t look right. Overall the designs, detailing, and the colors are fantastic.

Story: 4/5

I really enjoyed the intro to the character, it was enough to a good glimpse at her personality and what drives but still leaves you wanting more. And boy do I want to read more about this dark, mysterious heroine! The other two previews to the later volumes were interesting, they were shorter than the excerpt from the prologue. I think I would have enjoyed the other two more if I knew more about the story and they were just too short. I’m really curious as to what happens in those volumes now, but I wish there was a little more to let me know what to expect. Either way, I’m interested in reading more from this series!

Overall: 4/5

Details:

Title: Lady Mechanika

Issue: Free Comic Book Day edition

Publisher: Benitez Productions

Writer: Joe Benitez

Art: Joe Benitez

Colors: Peter Steigerwald

Lettering: Josh Reed

Released Date: May 5th, 2016

Pages: 28

Genre: Mystery, Science-fiction, Teen, Action, Steampunk

Comic Book Review: Empress #1

Synopsis:

Imagine you’re married to the worst bad guy from your favorite sci-fi movie. An alien dictator feared throughout the universe, who will kill you if you leave — but you need to escape for the sake of your three children. All you have are your wits, your bodyguard, and three guns.

What I First Thought:

I found this comic one day when I went with my boyfriend and his family to their local comic book store. They had the first four issues and it looked interesting enough, so I grabbed it. I’m still new to comic books, I still haven’t quite figured out how to judge whether or not I’ll like it before buying it. This time I went with my gut, so hopefully that was enough!

Ratings:

Art: 5/5

I loved Stuart Immonen’s art! Not going to lie, but at first I was a little leery about the heroine’s character design because from the cover it looked like she would be an unrealistic “space babe”. After seeing the artwork, time and again Emporia was portrayed with realistic body proportions that weren’t too over the top. I think what I liked most about the artwork is that it already appears pretty smooth, some of the past comics I’ve read were a little rough in the beginning. Every line has a purpose, the scenes aren’t cluttered with too much detail, there’s just enough to give the readers all the information they need. The action sequences weren’t overcrowded or overpowered, just enough explosions when needed.

Story: 4/5

This was a pretty good beginning to the series. I’m really intrigued with the setting of this story. The story is set 65 million years ago with dinosaurs, aliens, and space travel; to date I don’t think I’ve ever read a story (outside of watching those few episodes of Doctor Who) in which those three are combined. I’m excited to see where Millar will do with this setting. Already I’ve seen a T-Rex fighting in an arena and a ship having to avoid a flock (?) of pterodactyls, but will there be more to it and will the dinosaurs actually play some sort of role in the story.

This story had just enough information to keep me from getting lost, but still left me with questions. I would’ve liked for a little more background, but I think that’s more my speed. I’m still curious to see what happens next!

Overall: 4.5

Details:

Title: Empress

Issue: 1

Publisher: Icon

Writer: Mark Millar

Illustrator: Stuart Immonen

Colors: Ive Svorcina

Letters: Peter Doherty

Released Date: April 6, 2016

Pages: 32

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Manga Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (vol.1)

Details:

Title: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-4

Written by: Magica Quartet 

Artist: Hanokage

Translation/Adaptation: William Flanagan

Lettering: Alexis Eckerman

Publisher:  Yen Press

Published: February 12, 2011

Pages: 144

Genre: Manga, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Young Adult

Synopsis:

            When a new girl joins her class, Madoka Kaname thinks she recognize the mysterious, dark-haired transfer student from one of her dreams…a dream where she is approached by a catlike creature who offers Madoka an opportunity to change destiny. Madoka had always thought magic was stuff of fantasy…until she sees the transfer student fighting with the very cat being from her dream! And just like in Madoka’s dream, the cat gives her a choice. Will Madoka become a magical girl in exchange for her dearest desire? What will be the cost of having her wish come true?

What I First Thought:

            Last year my roommate convinced me to watch this show with her. The anime was fascinating and it broke me. When I found it on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble I decided to read the manga, just to see how it compared to the anime.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

5/5

            I thought I was prepared enough when I read volume 1, because I had watched the anime, I thought that the big plot points wouldn’t affect me as much the second time. Oh, boy was I wrong! Nothing really changed, this volume is a pretty good adaptation of the first few episodes of the anime. With that said, I still squirmed at the same spots as the anime, and some of the emotional scenes actually affected me more than when I viewed it the first time. There were little changes between anime and manga, mostly in little character designs such as added weapons and minions.

I’m a little on the fence about the magical girl genre, mostly because if it’s not done just right then I end up hating the idea all together. I was drawn into this idea, however, because I heard it was a different, darker take on the genre, and they weren’t kidding either. Don’t let the cover fool you, this isn’t some cutesy story that’ll make you feel all good at the end of the day. It’s a story that will burrow in your head and remake you think about somethings that you might’ve thought were pretty solid.

I really enjoyed reading this volume and seeing the characters again. It has a really cutesy art style that may be a turn off for some, but it serves a purpose. Again, it’s not a super cute story like a lot of the magical girl stories are, it may look the part but beyond that it’s vastly different. I found it interesting how the artist took the scenes from the anime, because in the anime there’s a lot of psychedelic animation that was really trippy to look at. A lot of that feeling I think was lost from screen to page, but I loved how the artist still brought a lot of creativity from those scenes to life.

I don’t recommend this manga to the faint of heart. It’s gory with a lot of false hope and questions that aren’t answered until later. Some of the characters may seem a little cliché now, which may be a turn off for some people, but by the end they won’t be. If you want something different, and don’t mind a dark, hopeless story, then this manga may be for you!

Manga Review: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 2)

Details:28118570

Title: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 2)

Chapters: 13-24

Written by: Natsuki Takaya

Artist: Natsuki Takaya

Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka

Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

Publisher: Yen Press

Published: June 2016

Pages: 384

Genre: Manga, Romance, Young Adult, Shojo Manga

Synopsis:

When she was living in a tent pitched on the Sohma family’s land, Tohru Honda’s primary concerns were dirt and slugs. But now that she’s living with the Sohmas, magical powers and ancient curses are the order of the day! With Yuki and Kyo at each other’s throats like cats and… rats, life at the Sohmas’ is lively enough, but it all heats up as Hatsuharu joins the fray, spoiling for a fight! And even before the new school year can get underway, the mystery surrounding the family escalates when Akito, head of the Sohma clan, confronts Tohru without warning…

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

Once again, this volume of Furuba is very introductory. We’re introduced to several more characters, including two of my favorites, Hatsuharu and Ayame, and the hijinks only seem to escalate. This volume also includes our first encounter with the head of the Sohma family, Akito, who all the members of the Sohma family seem to fear. We start to dive into the troubled pasts of the Sohma family members, as well as the complicated relationships that bind them all together. We also see Tohru’s relationship with Kyo and Yuki get stronger, and we see more examples of just how devoted Tohru’s best friends, Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima, are to her.

I honestly love every volume of Furuba that I have read, but this volume is one where we start getting into why I find this series so good. While we’re still being introduced to characters and crazy, hilarious things are still happening to them, we are also starting to see the more dramatic, more serious turn that this series is going to take. I find this series is so reflective of life and real relationships. It starts out very superficial and steadily gets deeper, just like any friendship (normally) works.

This is also the only volume that I feel qualified to truly judge the new translation, since volume 4 of the original release is included in this volume of the collector’s edition, and it is the only one of the original release I ever actually owned. I really like the new translation! I feel everything that was changed was changed to make more sense, but all of the changes are really minor. According to a review I read online, “the inaccuracies from the Japanese still haven’t been fixed,” but since I don’t read Japanese and never knew that the translations were inaccurate to begin with, I really couldn’t care less. Translations are never truly accurate, anyway. They just follow the gist of the story, and this one is still telling the story that I loved long ago.

Blogger Note: Please don’t forget that we are also involved with Inkitt’s Novel Writing Contest! It was announced recently by Jessica in this post. If you’re interested in entering the contest or want to read more about it, you can do so here!

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Manga Review: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 1)

28219400Details:

Title: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-12

Written by: Natsuki Takaya

Artist: Natsuki Takaya

Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka

Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

Publisher: Yen Press

Published: June 2016

Pages: 400

Genre: Manga, Romance, Young Adult, Graphic Novel

Synopsis:

After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out…into a tent! Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn’t long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own–when embraced by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac!

A perennial favorite of fans and librarians alike, Natsuki Takaya’s beloved bestselling Fruits Basket series returns to print in gorgeous deluxe English-language omnibus editions with beautiful full-color illustrations that are not to be missed!

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

I started reading the Fruits Basket (from now on referred to as Furuba) when I was in middle school. It was one of my very first manga (the actual first was Tokyo Mew Mew, I believe), and it was the first one I became obsessed with. I only ever owned a couple of them, I would borrow them from a friend as they came out and she completed them. When that friend went on to high school without me, I would check them out from the library. It’s a series I don’t think I ever managed to complete because there were 23 volumes and I think I may have skipped a couple. I never managed to own more than a couple of the original series because TOKYOPOP went under and stopped printing them before I had any source of reliable income that would allow me to buy them all.

So, imagine my delight when I found out that Yen Press was re-releasing the entire series in 12 volumes with new (more accurate) translations this year. I believe I squealed. I have officially preordered the remaining books in the series and am eagerly awaiting the final two release dates for the manga that introduced me to an entire genre I would never have thought about approaching if not for my friends back in middle school.

This volume is the introductory volume of the series. Most of this volume is introductions. We meet our lead, Tohru Honda, and journey with her as she becomes entangled in the lives of the cursed Sohma family. She learns of the Zodiac curse and is introduced to the key players of the series. By the end of this volume, even though we haven’t met all of the Zodiac members, we have met most of the key players in the series, and we are seeing the relationships of the characters’ form. There’s never a calm day in the Sohma household, and we are set up for a story full of fun, drama, and growth in this first volume. 

Blogger Note: Please don’t forget that we are also involved with Inkitt’s Novel Writing Contest! It was announced recently by Jessica in this post. If you’re interested in entering the contest or want to read more about it, you can do so here!

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Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke (from me to you) (vol.2)

kimi-ni-todoke-vol2Details:

Title: Kimi ni Todoke (From me to you) (vol.2)

Chapters: 4-7

Story by: Karuho Shiina

Artist: Karuho Shiina

Translation/Adaptation: JN Productions

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Published: October 6th 2009

Pages: 187

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Romance, Slice of Life, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Rumors start flying about Sadako’s new friends claiming that Yano’s been around the block and Yoshida’s a former gang member. And the source of all this tattle? Sadako herself! Will Sadako retreat to her former life as a loner because of a simple misunderstanding?!

Rating:

5/5

This volume is basically the continuation and the finish of the mini story started in the last volume (~chapter 3). It was beautiful; I loved reading every single page! There’s a lot of character growth for Sadako, who realizes that she can’t just go back to how she was, and that communication is key in all friendships. We get to see a lot more from Yoshida and Yano as they try to figure out what all of this means, stumbling to the realization Sadako meant more to them than they thought. They’re characters get even more fleshed out from chapter to chapter, allowing you to clearly see the difference between the two. There’s a lot of heart and crying in this volume, it’s so beautiful to read and reflect on, and the lessons learned here can be applied to your own relationships!

There’s no real cliffhanger at the end of this volume. There’s a possible peak into who might be the story’s new antagonist, but nothing for sure. This volume is a nice wrap up to the drama presented at the end of volume 1. Final note, I love reading the little blurbs from the author/creator! Her thoughts and stories are so interesting to read about, especially her explanation of one of the events in this volume.

Manga Review: The Seven Deadly Sins (vol. 6)

the-seven-deadly-sins-vol6Details:

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 6)

Chapters: 38-46, plus a bonus story (broken up into three parts)!

Written by: Nakaba Suzuki

Artist: Nakaba Suzuki

Translation/Adaptation: Christine Dashiell

Lettering: James Dashiell

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published: January 13, 2015

Pages: 200

Genre: Manga, Historical-Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Young Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Blast from the Past!

Howzer whips up a huge storm in an attempt to defeat Diane, but even a human-sized giant can stand strong against the fiercest tempests. In the next match, Meliodas faces Cain, who conjures terrifying fire magic while also leveling fiery accusations at Meliodas about his rumored involvement in the destruction of Danafell. How will Meliodas respond? Can he take the punishment for his alleged sins?

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

Volume 6 brings an end to the fighting festival with an interesting turn of events. The action doesn’t slow in between transitions, instead it picks up rather quickly. Griamore still has his ever changing body size, though the muscles don’t get too drastically large this time around he looks a lot better with his helmet on. In this volume you get to see more into Meliodas’s past and you’ll start asking more questions about his character. There’s also a bit of character development for the team in general as they start asking the same questions that the readers are.

As a whole, this volume is rather explosive with activity and new character development. There’s more action and fighting sequences than there are major plot points, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s rather interesting to see how the Holy Knights differ in not only abilities, and where they get their strength, but also in ideology. You get to see the beginning of just how different the two fractions are. Overall, the fighting sequences are great, though there is one character that frustrate me. So far this manga has done a great job with the armor of the knights, making them appear more logical than others of the genre, however, there is one character with rather impractical armor and it more sexual than anything. I mean seriously, why would you allow your breasts to be exposed when a sword can easily stab through your chest and kill you?!

Warning: If you read this volume you must have the next one in hand because the cliffhanger is quite a doozy!