Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual

Writers: Kyle Higgins, Anthony Burch, Caleb Goellner, Adam Cesare, Becca Barnes, & Alwyn Dale
Illustrators: Marcus To, Dylan Burnett, Patrick Mulholland, Hyeonjin Kim, & Simone Di Meo

Recent Release Date: April 25, 2018

Synopsis: Featuring fan-favorite teams from across the Power Rangers universe—Dino Charge, RPM, Time Force, Ninja Steel, Dino Thunder—the entire fabric of reality is under threat as Drakkon invades!


Review: I have absolutely loved the past two Power Rangers annuals. They have shown little glimpses into stories that take place away from the action or delve into minor characters' backstories. This annual is a little different in that it is part of the Shattered Grid event, but each short story in this issue each follows a different team of rangers. 

The first story was my favorite, probably since it features the Zeo Rangers. I think that was really the last season I watched before falling out of Power Rangers as a kid. I obviously came back into the fandom since then. Kyle Higgins has done such a good job at finding interesting emotional points from the tv show and actually letting them happen. In the show, there isn't much shown about leadership dynamics or tension between characters that can't be resolved in a half hour. The first story takes place right after Jason lost his Gold Ranger powers. 

Lord Drakkon is at the center of all these stories, trying to harness different Ranger powers. The second story shows the SPD team. The third has RPM, with Drakkon trying to persuade Dr.K to join his cause. The fourth story is In Space. This is another example of a great emotional conflict that wasn't accurately shown in the show, in my opinion. TJ goes from being the leader to just another ranger. The last story showcases Ninja Steel, which I am not familiar with, but I still enjoyed the story.

There are different art styles for each of the stories. I liked seeing Drakkon drawn different ways. I'm interested to see how each of these stories fits into the greater Shattered Grid story. I give this issue a 5/5.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Puerto Rico Strong (comic anthology) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Lion Forge via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Puerto Rico Strong

Edited by: Hazel Newlevant
Recent Release Date: March 27, 2018

Synopsis: Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today's most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators. All profits will go to towards disaster relief and recovery programs to support Puerto Rico. Despite being a US territory, Puerto Rico is often thought of as a foreign land, if it's even a thought in the mind of the average American at all. Its people exist in all corners of America; some of them have parents who immigrated from the home island, others are a part of families that have been on the mainland for generations. Then there are those who have come to the states in search of a dream but struggle to integrate into an unfamiliar culture, while there are those who have lived in the United States all of their lives but still have the same struggle because of the color of their skin or their sexual identity. These stories follow individuals from diverse walks of life but are all part of the culture that is Puerto Rico.Puerto Rico Strong features art and writing by Rosa Colon, Vita Ayala, Naomi Franquiz, Javier Cruz Winnik, Sabrina Cintron, Ronnie Garcia, Fabian Nicieza, Joamette Gil, and many more!


Review: This comics anthology features stories from all different aspects of the Puerto Rican people. There are stories about the history of the island and its people, the present day reach of the Puerto Rican people, and the future. There's romance. There's historical facts, mythology, and more. There's even some fantasy and sci-fi stories.

I wasn't familiar with the Taino culture before this. The island has such rich history, merging many different cultures through many different means. I loved seeing a peek into a world I'm not very knowledgeable of. 

This comics anthology is a great effort to raise support for and knowledge of the Puerto Rican people. Every story is full of so much heart. I give this book a 5/5.   


Friday, April 13, 2018

My Boyfriend is a Bear (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

My Boyfriend Is a BearAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: My Boyfriend is a Bear

Author: Pamela Ribon
Illustrator: Cat Farris
Upcoming Release Date: April 17, 2018

Synopsis: The delightful story of Nora who, after a succession of terrible boyfriends, finds a much happier relationship with a 500-pound American black bear. 

Bear meets girl.

Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?


Review: The artwork and storytelling in this graphic novel about a girl falling in love with an actual bear is adorable, but I don't understand it. I have mixed feelings because I expected there to be a "lesson" sort of ending. Something about modern dating or how people in "non-traditional" relationships are treated by even family and friends. But there wasn't really any of that. It seems to just be a quirky story about a girl that is in love (and having sex with) an actual bear. So, obviously, there's quite a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary. 

With all that aside, it's a fun comic. I liked how the art changed when they were in a drunken state. It's fun to see L.A. locations featured. 

I give this graphic novel a 3.5/5. This is mostly because I didn't understand what I was supposed to get out of this story. It felt like it was missing something to make it deeper. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Star Wars, Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars, Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Salvador Larroca & GURU-eFX
Recent Release Date: April 3, 2018

Synopsis: The possibility-and destruction-of the Death Star has changed everything. The Death Star's destruction proves the Empire is not irresistible. But a Death Star has been built, and it can't happen again. The specter of the Empire's true power has brought together a patchwork cloth of people, united in hope. From the desolation of Jedha to the search for new bases, these rebels continue to fight for a better tomorrow for a galaxy far, far away in these all-new adventure written by Kieron Gillen (DARTH VADER, DOCTOR APHRA).



Review: This graphic novel is a tie-in to Rogue One essentially. It takes place on Jedha. Characters from the movie are both mentioned and appear. This ongoing series is beginning to stagnate in my opinion. There's only so much that can happen with the main crew just going on small side missions that don't lead to change. I hope more original characters are introduced so that we can see growth in some characters. Or, the ongoing series could jump to post-Empire.

I have mixed feelings about the art style used in this book. The semi-realistic, photo-like panels sometimes work really well, but also sometimes fall flat and seem out of place. I really liked the design of the steeds they use on Jedha. They reminded me of The Dark Crystal

Overall, this was a self-contained story with Rogue One seasonings that was just not that interesting to me. I give this book a 3/5. I'm hoping for more from this continuing series.  


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu
Writer: Matt Owens
Artists: Denys Cowan, Roberto Poggi, & GURU-eFX
Recent Release Date: February 27, 2018

Synopsis: One of the most revered Jedi Masters of all stars in his own solo series! Learn all there is to know about the man, the myth, the legend -Mace Windu! For over a thousand generations, the Jedi have been the peacekeepers of the galaxy...but now, at the dawn of the Clone Wars, they fi nd themselves in a new role: generals in the Army of the Republic. As Mace Windu, one of the order's greatest warriors, leads a small unit into battle, can the Jedi make peace with their new role - or will they be lost to the violence around them? 


Review: When I first saw that Marvel was making a limited series focusing on mace Windu I was super excited. I really got into Star Wars comics during the prequel and Clone Wars era. So many great stories and characters were introduced in those books, which are now non-canon. I was hoping this book would take place prior to Episode 2, where there currently isn't a lot of canon material, but this comic takes place during the Clone Wars. Which is still pretty cool to see in this new Marvel era. 

This comic follows Mace Windu and a few other jedi on a mission against the Separatists' droid army. Kit Fisto is one of the jedi on the mission. I always liked him as a character, ever since I saw his smiling face in the Battle of Geonosis. There's some nice touches to the other jedi as well. There is a lightsaber with a cute name. 

The parts of this comic that I liked the most were flashbacks to Mace Windu as an apprentice. I want that book! It was only a few pages, but it was the most compelling part of the story. This book overall deals with the moral complexities of the jedi acting as army generals. Is there a place for grayness in the jedi order? Mace Windu is a perfect character to address these questions and I liked seeing him as a young jedi jumping to action first. 

I want an explanation for the purple blade! The artists used the colors of the blades so beautifully in this comic. Towards the end of the book though, there is some bad art in the background. In the jedi council scenes, the council members are drawn so poorly. It doesn't match the rest of the book or the standards I've come to expect with Marvel's comics. 

I want to see more comics focusing on different jedi like this. I hope the Jedi of the Republic title becomes a series. I give this book a 4/5


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and RespectAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect
Author: Zander Cannon
Release Date: March 8, 2016

Synopsis: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE! On a remote island in the South Pacific lies KAIJUMAX, a maximum security prison for giant monsters. Follow doting father Electrogor as he stands up to the cruel space-superhero warden! See corrupt guard Gupta manage his illicit uranium-dealing empire and pay off his gambling debts to the Queen of the Moon! Watch Mecha-Zon battle his own programming when the monster he was created to destroy shows up on the pound! These stories and more will assault you from every angle in the cesspool of corruption that is KAIJUMAX.


Review: This fun story brings empathy out for giant rampaging monsters. It's a look into their side of the story. This comic book takes place in a giant prison full of these kaiju. The designs of all these characters are cool, fun and original while still referencing well known giant beasts. 

I give this comic a 3/5. The book didn't keep my full attention, but that could be because I'm not very familiar with kaiju.   


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1 (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1 (Night's Dominion, #1-6)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Night's Dominion, Vol. 1
Author: Ted Naifeh
Recent Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis: A thief, an assassin, a mage and a cleric walk into a tavern in the ancient city of Umber. Awaiting them is a mysterious bard with a dangerous scheme: to break into the dungeon of a powerful death cult in search of treasure. For these five desperate criminals, it's the last chance for hope in a city of corruption and despair. But what they find instead is an undead army preparing to conquer the world. Now, they must fight to protect the city that pushed their backs to the wall, or watch it burn. The acclaimed fantasy epic from New York Times Best-Selling author Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Princess Ugg) begins here!


Review: This comic starts with a bard singing in non-standard English and I took a long sigh. Throughout the book, I found the dialogue difficult to follow.

This is a heist story taking place in a very D&D world that has some very superhero-y elements. A group of adventurers meets in a tavern. A bar brawl happens. It has many classic fantasy tropes, but doesn't seem to add much originality to it. I felt like I was reading someone's D&D campaign. I think I would have preferred this story in novel form to get more in depth overbuilding and to be more inside of the characters' heads. Everything seemed very surface level. 

Although this graphic novel didn't keep my attention very well, I did like the artwork and character designs. I just wanted a lot more depth. I give this book a 2.5/5.