Lenni Reviews: "Lost Boys" vol 1 by Tim Seeley

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is best for mature audiences

In the follow up to the 1987 movie, we meet the Emmerson Brothers Sam and Michael. After defeating the vampire monster, Max and his buddied, the brothers thought their lives would go back to normal. But a coven of female vampires calling themselves the Blood Belles targets them for revenge and their lives are once again overturned with blood and violence.

Before we get into it, I have to admit I was not the biggest fan of the original movie. I didn't dislike it but I didn't feel the need to watch it more than once; which always shocks people who learn I write vampire fiction. After refreshing my memory, I found this book enjoyable. It picks up right where the movie left off, ups the stakes (no pun intended) and tells an entertaining story. The color palette and art are perfect for this genre to keep the mood haunting and dark. The character Believer had me rolling my eyes with his over the top speeches but otherwise, this book is cool. If you like vampires and love the movie, I think this is worth the read. I give it a solid 3.8 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: "Great Divide" by Ben Fisher and Adam Markiewicz

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

A fragmented human race struggles to live because a mysterious condition has made it so any skin to skin contact will cause one of those people to die an agonizing death. Whoever survives the encounter absorbs the memories of the dead person. While fumbling a heist, Maria and Paul stumble first upon each other then later upon a possible cure.

This comic is a mix of Walking Dead, Crossed, and Y the Last Man (without what made me so uncomfortable about Crossed). It has a unique take on an apocalyptic world with all the darkness that entails while still managing to maintain some humor. I'm glad it's not zombies for once...

The characters and world building here are well thought out and some really original implications of whatever sort of virus like this can do or be used are played with. Thankfully the cast members we're following around play off each other well despite the fact Paul's jokes can get tiresome. I give this a 4 out of 5 for being blessedly original in a genre that sorely needs it.


Lenni Reviews: "Batman The Dark Knight: Master Race" by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, Klaus Jansen, and Brad Anderson

*This comic was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated mature for violence

This collection continues Frank Miller's Dark Knight saga with Batman dead after the defeat of Lex Luthor. Superman is on ice and Wonder Woman has returned to Themyscira. But when a cult of insane Kryptonians lead by Quar attack the Earth and demand humanity worship them as gods, who will rise up and stop them?

This is set in a not far future where our heroes have children. Frank Miller's signature gritty, dark, and scratchy style is in full glory and perfectly sets the tone for what is a rather dismal look at the future of the heroes we know and love.

The writing and art are expertly done and I love the nostalgic feeling the art gives me I get since I read Dark Knight years ago. There are mini-comics, which are interesting supplements to the main story but aren't necessary and I found myself skipping them on my first read through so I could get back to the main plot.

There are a few confusing character motivations, I'm not really happy with the Wonder Woman here and if you have to SAY a costume is too colorful for crime fighting, perhaps it should have been designed better in the first place but, I digress...

Compelling, entertaining, but depressing, I give this a 4 out of 5 since it was a downer. A great way to end this series, though. The release date for this book is September 19th, 2017.

Your First Look at AXIS: HOBGOBLIN #1!

                              Image Source: Marvel Comics

Got a Problem? Call Hobgoblin! Your First Look at AXIS: HOBGOBLIN #1!
This October, suit up with the one and only original Hobgoblin as he flies straight into the biggest event of the year in AXIS: HOBGOBLIN #1! That’s right, Roderick Kingsley, the one and only original Hobgoblin is back and fan-favorite creators Kevin Shinick (Superior Spider-Man Team-Up) and Javier Rodriguez (Daredevil) are taking him for a spin that’ll paint New York City orange! Only, Phil Urich, the city’s newly self-proclaimed Goblin King might have a thing or two to say about that! Yet as the threat of Inversion looms, prepare for a Hobgoblin book unlike any you’ve ever seen before. It all begins this October in AXIS: HOBGOBLIN #1!
AXIS: HOBGOBLIN #1 (of 3) (AUG140735)
FOC 09/29/14, On-Sale 10/22/14

Lenni Reviews: Will O’ the Wisp by Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison

I have been devouring horror manga and comics like a nut so I was glad to have Will O' The Wisp by Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison come across my... Ok, not my desk but my tablet. Same thing, right?

Will O' the Wisp tells the story of 12 year old Aurora who's parents have recently died and she is put into the care of her grandfather. The moment she is even invited to the bayou that is his home, the magic begins, as she is told to only arrive at a certain moon phase and hour. Then as bodies start to turn up, the local hoodoo woman Mama Noonie's magic and traditions surround her as Aurora tries to unravel why people are turning up dead, why the isle is cursed, and the secret behind the strange blue lights appearing in front of her.

I was intrigued by this book. The art is very fitting for a true bayou magical mystery; haunting and sharp. There were some very abrupt skips in the story in some places but the low hum - not unlike a bass playing -  of the story pulls you right back in. I found the entire experience to be a lot like a dark coming of age story as the past meets the present and magic runs amok.

If some of the transitions were smoother, the book would be a perfect creepy read. Once you get passed that, there is a wonderfully drawn gothic story of a smart girl and her plucky raccoon sidekick moving in a darkly magical world.

Lenni Reviews: Street Fighter Origins: Akuma

Written by Chris Sarracini and illustrated by Joe Ng, this story follows a young Akuma through his childhood and along the journey to becoming a terror of the Street Fighter underground. There are a few holes in the story, such as exactly how Akuma (or anyone, really) learned to throw chi energy blasts at people, or how his brother, Goken, learned to fight; but you are given some decent insight as to why and how Akuma became seduced by the Dark Hadou.

Joe Ng's art is stunning. Every page is detailed and there are bonus character design pages at the end of the story. You can tell great care was taken to get the feel of the game into the comic and Ng succeeds in doing so.

I would recommend this book to any fan of the game or of Akuma in particular. You may wish (as I did) that it was a bit longer, but you still come away with more back story on how he came to be. Akuma's not even my favorite and I still felt emotionally attached. Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed.  
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Lenni Reviews: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Who can resist that smirk on the cover? I sure can't. And as is par for the course for me, I flipped through the pages of  Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (originally called Blue Angel when it was published in France) before I read it and my art geek tendencies were immediately satisfied by the breathy style of the art in this book. Every page is like a sigh; poignant and emotional.

The story begins with a young woman named Emma vising the home of her deceased lover, Clementine. Before she died, Clementine wrote a letter to her mother asking for her diary to be delivered to Emma after she passed. The story of how Clementine realizes she is a lesbian and her relationship with Emma is told via the entries Clementine wrote.

I am a fan of well done LGBT comics and I am a sucker for a good (honest) love story no matter the sexual orientation of the characters. As long as the characters are genuine and the relationship realistic, they could be tri-sexual for all I care (apparently that's a thing). As long as the story is good, I'll be a happy otaku.

As the story is told in flashbacks, the colors are muted, save for blue; the color Emma's hair was dyed when Clementine met her. Even the scenes set in the present have a dream like quality. This story does contain some scenes of smexy woman love so be aware if that offends your sensibilities.

I know there are readers out there who get tired of the traditional coming out story but this comic is worth picking up. It isn't just the story of how Clementine became a lesbian, its the story of two women in love who were taken from one another too soon. This graphic novel has been made into a movie and when it comes out, I plan to watch it to see if its as good as the book. If your heart can stand the ending, I highly recommend this stunning graphic novel.

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Lenni Reviews: The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta

(Image Source)

Not having read much of She-Hulk in the past (me and her books never quite were in the same place at the same time) I was very curious to read this book. The She-Hulk Diaries are set in a time where Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, is on probation from the Avengers for her rage issues and penchant for major amounts of collateral damage. As Jennifer, she sets a series of goals for herself and awards herself points upon their completion; such as 25 culture points for listening to opera or 100 points for landing a very lucrative job with a high profile law firm.

I did learn a lot about She-Hulk and have new insight to how hard it is to balance your superhero alter ego with your regular human life. In this case, it is doubly hard considering She-Hulk is a separate personality from Jennifer Walters and is difficult to contain in times of stress. However, this book struck me as a sort of Sex and the City with superheros. This is not to say the book is bad by any means; it is an entertaining piece of fluff peppered with some pretty cool superhero battles and the legal case she’s embroiled in involving bio-engineered organs failing inside their patients is very interesting; but this book was so vapid in some parts, I physically cringed.

First off, this book fails the Bechdel Test completely. I know this test is traditionally reserved for movies but when all Jennifer and her friends seemed to talk about was how to get a man, keep a man, and what men they've slept with or dated, I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little. I nabbed some of the She-Hulk trades to read to compare to this novel and it seems there’s so much more to both She-Hulk AND Jennifer Walters than who she’s boning, has boned, or will bone. On the flip side of this, the nitty gritty of the legal case against ReplaceMax for their defective organs is very touching; with She-Hulk making surprise visits to the sick plaintiffs and Jennifer getting very invested in the case. Next to the crime fighting, these were my favorite parts of the book.

Secondly? “Shulky” is a terrible nickname and seeing text speak in novels when characters are not texting always makes my brain screech to a halt. When I was about 60% into the book; anytime a character said Shulky or described a man in conversation as “OMG! amazing” I wanted to bash myself in the face with my kindle.

In summary, if you can look past the horrid nickname and occasional conversations where “ppl tlk lke this, omg so HAWT!!” this novel is not a bad ‘day in the life of your favorite super-heroine’ story. You learn a lot about the character as a person and have some fun along the way. I identified with her insecurities and cheered for her when she stood up for herself in the face of some pretty harsh criticism and very human mishaps. This book is funny when it should be, touching when it should be, and thrilling when it should be. It’s a perfect piece of comic book novel candy. Read it and have some fun.

The She-Hulk Diaries will be released June 18th 2013.

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Lenni Reviews: Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time

I have to admit, I am always a little skeptical of graphic novels for kids that try to teach them things. Can you blame me after reading travesties like Macbeth: The Graphic Novel (Dragon knights? Space armor? You have GOT to be kidding me. Watch The Lion King instead, it’s easier to follow.) So, you have to give me some credit for cringing a little at the back cover’s description of Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time, by David R. Shapiro (Author), Erica Melville (Author), and Christopher Herndon (Illustrator).

At the time of this writing, I am 32 years old but I have a 5 year old kid so I’m familiar with many different forms of tricking kids into learning something. Terra Tempo does it with style; decent art and an interesting plot. The whole thing is a mash of Magic School Bus, Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Jumanji.

I added that last one because the three main characters; Jenna, Caleb, and Ari are kids on a learning adventure that is REALLY dangerous. They travel back in time to where nearly every creature is designed to kill or maim you AND face a villain what has no problem shooting at kids.

I felt a little pandered to and the lessons are obvious and a bit forced in places. But again, I’m grown. I have a natural resistance to being “forced” or “tricked” into learning things. Its not a bad book by any means but for a proper opinion, allow me to quote my daughter, who just freakin LOVES dinosaurs: “This book is pretty cool, Mom!”

That it is, kid. That it is.

Lenni Reviews: Flutter

Flutter (Yaoi Manga) by Momoko Tenzen

**This title contains adult content**
Aren’t you glad Lenni has brought you some more man-lovin? Yeah, you know you are.
Unlike the last yaoi manga I reviewed for you guys, Flutter is a light hearted boy meets boy story. The couple Masahiro Asada and Ryosuke Mizuki end up working on the same project together after Asada has been watching the enigmatic Mizuki from a far for a long time. Asada can’t hide his feelings forth a damn so of course there’s attraction between them.
As yaoi goes, the plot is pretty standard; boy meets boy, boy has attraction to boy, one boy has a secret past to work through while the other is so woefully earnest, you just wanna smush him. This is not to say it isn’t a fun or enjoyable read. Flutter is a very sweet story; drawn and written beautifully. The art isn’t as explicit as some other yaoi I’ve read but if you know your male anatomy – and I know you do – you get the picture. The intimate scenes are handled with a certain amount of elegance and digression while still being sensual, so if you like your smut implied rather than very explicit, you’ll be happy here.
I am such a sucker for a cute love story that doesn’t get overly sappy. And I’m always happy to see some more yaoi being published in the US. If you pick up Flutter for a light, fun read that will tug gently at your heart strings, you won’t be disappointed. 

Lenni Reviews: 100 Months by John Hicklenton

            In a sea of digitally augmented art, it was the impressive brush work of the art that first attracted me to this title. I'm sure there has been some digital assistance in creating "100 Months" but the ink, pen, and paint work here is a feast for the eyes. When it came across my desk for revision, I had to stop and take a look. I immediately read it cover to cover. Twice.
            This book is a primal, visceral, personal battle with death, desire, and rage. Hicklenton was in the final stages of his battle with Multiple Sclerosis when creating this work. In it you can see the innermost feelings of a man who is railing against his fate with everything that he has; his faith shaken as his own body betrays him. His anger is expressed through the goddess Mara tearing through the artifice of worldly desires; depicted as the Pig God and his disciples.
            “100 Months” is not an easy read. The art is fantastic but gory; the theme meaningful but depressing. Stradling the line between high fantasy and horror, this comic really highlights what the medium can express when in the hands of a master. This book is completely and utterly uncompromising and a fitting last work if there ever was one. RIP Jon Hicklenton. What you have created will live forever.

Lenni Reviews: Blade of the Immortal Vol 25: Snowfall at Dawn

Warning: If you’re reading this and you haven’t read the first 24 volumes, there will be spoilers. This review operates on the assumption you have read every volume but this one.
            Are you ready? Then proceed:
            Have you ever been hip deep in a series - book, comic or television - and had a favorite villain? You almost look forward to their repeat appearances. You wonder what they will do to the hero next and if the hero will finally end their reign of terror for good. Shira is NOT such a villain. In fact, he is one of those villains who you wonder when the hell he will be finished off so you don’t have to deal with him anymore!
Volume 25 of this fantastic, award winning series by Hiroaki Samura promises such a showdown with Shira, who is known for his sick predilections with torturing and murdering women. So, I guess as a female manga fan, I am one of many psyched to see get Shira dead in a fantastic way. I don't enjoy seeing him and I almost regret him lasting so long over other villains I enjoyed seeing more. But therein lies Hiroaki Samura's genius; Shira is so fantastically created, I can't freaking stand him. I suppose you don't get rid of a villain so crazed and sick, he carves off his own flesh to make the bones of his forearm into a double blade dagger.
Rin and Manji have recovered from their adventures at Edo castle where Manji was the victim of some pretty heinous immortality experiments. But there is no real rest as they hurry on their quest to find and punish Anotsu. Anotsu is also on the move, with Magatsu in tow and the funniest pair so far in this series, Meguro and Tanpopo, get more screen time. It’s hard to really get into the meat of this volume without completely ruining all the surprises. I can say this; You will laugh, you will cringe, you will gasp, and you will scream when you get to the cliffhanger and can’t find an American release date for the next volume!
This series has never let me down. It’s one of the few I will still outright buy rather than read in the store or borrow from my library. My art idol, Hiroaki Samura, is fantastic as usual; remaining on my list of creators that I will purchase pretty much anything with their name on it. The detailed explanation on how the kessen-chu worms work lost me for a moment but not because it wasn’t interesting! I went back and read it on my second pass though the book. When your heroine is in peril and your hero embattled, you don’t want science; you want the fight. And my friends; do you ever get it. Stick with this series if for nothing more than the supreme hope Shira will FINALLY get his.