Lenni Reviews: "Bettie Page" Vol. 1 by David Avallone

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for older readers.

In this collection of "secret diaries," we follow our femme fetale, Bettie Page, as she dodges the cops, secret agents, and cult members all while trying to make a living as a model and movie star of B movies with aliens... All while helping beat the bad guys.

This book is a whole lot of cheese and I kinda love it for that. I am an absolute sucker for pin-up art and all the guest art and the comic itself is lovely to look at; even with the batshit crazy ideas. However, there's this sensation of being in a glitter bomb; shiny, pretty, but confusing in all it's bright colors and movement. At the end, I had to re-read it all because I didn't remember what exactly happened. Gotta give it a 3 out of 5 for that but it sure is pretty.

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: Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Nichole Stevenson and Grace Ellis

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                                                                          (Image Source)

In this graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke Allen; April, Jo, Mal, Molly and Ripley are attending camp ‘Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types (and that will be the last time I type that…) and have all promised each other they will have the most awesome summer ever. Luckily for these Lumberjanes scouts, there are talking three-eyed foxes, yetis, tombs to explore, and magical weapons to make sure they never have a chance to get bored.

Simply put, this comic is awesome. It’s Rat Queens for kids (if you haven’t read Rat Queens, GO DO IT). Each girl has a specific talent to add to the group, completely different races and body types (major kudos for that), and smart puzzles where each girl takes turns solving. The art is perfect for these wacky (yet thrilling) adventures. You can get all the fun of super-deformed expressions without it overtly being anime (I know some people who don’t like that style). It is also a story that demands to be told in full color and I’m grateful for it. Maarta Laiho did a fantastic job with the coloring.

To sum up, this comic is sweet, funny, empowering, and just darn fun! I freely admit to reading it several times before I begrudgingly handed it over to my kid (who is 8 and this book is recommended for 5 and up). We are both ready for volume 2!

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: 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.