Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool, by Poehsen, Duggan, & Moore

deadpoolI should explain why I put full story spoilers in these comic reviews. Because of how short they are, and the fact that comics are a visual book. I try to engross you in the story without the images, of course this isn’t that easy but I do my best. So without further delay, here is DEADPOOL!

This has to be the most interesting part of the comic for me if only for how absurdly stupid and funny it is. It’s a disembodies voice talking over the many noteworthy problems like the amount of homeless people, and overweight people fighting which I will not go into do to this turning into a political rant. Turns out, instead of everything else, it’s a necromancer. (Fun fact: A necromancer is a wizard that uses what is normally but not always considered dark magic to revive the dead.)

Of course, this necromancer LOVES America so he has an idea! He’s going to bring back all of the dead presidents to help fix the country. (An idea that many people that I know think would be cool.)  This of course is a no-no. He brings back a very demonic Harry S. Truman. (Fun fact: The S in Harry S. Truman doesn’t stand for anything. Instead of a middle name he had middle initial.) Instead of helping the country he wants to DESTROY it. Happy, right? Some where in all this, Captain America comes in and has to fight President Truman. The next scene skips ahead to the Shield flying fortress.

I can only assume that the person screaming at Agent Preston is Nick Furry. He is of course upset that CAPTAIN AMERICA is using his shield to DECAPITATE President Truman. They have a problem, of course, because the dead presidents are coming everywhere and causing problems; but they can’t send their heroes after them because after all, that would be horrible for the press. Who you gonna call? DEADPOOL. …but that’s later.

The next page is literally a Godzilla spin-off destroying the city. And then stops. You see a small sword go all the way down the front of him and dead pool’s head sticks out going: HERE COMES DEADPOOL. Once again proving Deadpool is the funniest thing in Marvel.

Easily a 8 out of 10. I love this comic series, and this is only the first half. There’s far more to love and I can’t wait.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer

eighth_grade_bites_coverFirst might I start out saying I love The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. I read the entire series and would love to own all of them. The story follows our current eighth grade hero Vladimir Tod. He is a vampire– but he doesn’t sparkle. Vampires are hurt and even killed in the sun light in this mythos about vampires.

Vladimir has a very depressing life; his parents died when he was much younger. They died in a fire at his house and he now lives with aunt Nelly. Nelly isn’t his real aunt, but she and Vlad’s mom were best friends so he refers to her as aunt because she practically is. And the most important plot point in the early story is Vlad’s teacher– his favorite teacher goes missing and is never seen in the series ever.

Of course, Vlad is bullied and not many people besides his best friend Henry like him. That being said, he does have a crush on a girl as most boys around that age do. As she is put up to be the most beautiful girl in the school, Meredith tends to hang around Henry more, which throws up a bit of tension between the two till further in.

Down to the good old heart of this book: it’s a vampire story; but no matter how hard you look at, it’s not Twilight. It’s more for men. It’s funny, it’s mean at times, and it can be rather clever. No matter what you think of vampires, the book is at least mildly interesting, and it can be a great way to read away a late Sunday night. Personally I love these books, and it makes me very happy to read them over again.

And lastly, the most important joke of the book for me; in the first few chapters Vlad and Henry go to a Halloween party of Elm Street; clearly a reference to Nightmare on Elm Street.

There are a few problems here and there, but I really enjoyed this book. I would go more into detail, but that would spoil a lot of the book, which I think is just sick. The story works really well, and of course it’s a nice story for kids and teens. It’s more child friendly than, say, Van Helsing, but teens will like it because it is rather relatable. It has a lot of points where it can hit home for all those kids who were loners, who can sympathies with this character. Teens should give it a look even if your not sure if it’s your type of story, you will enjoy it as long as you like a good tale of vampires who hate garlic, don’t sparkle, and bite people like they are supposed to.

Vladimir Tod gets a 7/10 for his first outing in the book world, and the books only get better and more emotional. I strongly recommend putting this on your “must read” list as soon as you can.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Graphic Novel Review: The Walking Dead, vol. 1, by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

walkingdead1This has to be one of the best comics I have ever read, just based on the fact that it’s such a good story. I should say I am a huge fan of the Walking Dead TV series, so finally reading the first comic in the series that started it all made me really excited. I was not disappointed, except for two major story parts: (SPOILERS!) Shane’s death and how it happens, and Laurie’s past before rick comes back.

The story is a very interesting kind of zombie story; a really good way is to call it a soap opera with zombies. The characters work in new ways and show emotion, stress and how life can be in a zombie apocalypse world when you’re not a total commando using every gun possible and ripping through zombies. Part of what got me into The Walking Dead is that they never heard of zombies before this. They are entirely new to this scenario. The title even has one of the biggest changes to the idea of zombies; instead of zombies, they are called walkers, dead heads or biters. Tons of variety and it ads that aspect of confusion and truly can show how little these characters know.

The Walking Dead comic is vastly different than the show, do not expect the same thing from the show because it changes drastically. They didn’t just make a show based on the comic, they took the basic ideas of everything and they changed how it works and added new events along with taking some out. Overall, I think the comic is happier than the show so far.

I love The Walking Dead and in my mind, this lived up to the hype big-time. I give it a 9/10. If you have ever heard your friends talking about it or you ever thought, :Hey that looks cool,” go read it. It will be totally worth it, and frankly I think they are going to keep making this for a long time. So check it out now before it gets to book number 600.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Loveless, vol. 3, by Yun Kouga

loveless3For those who have read ALL the reviews I’ve written of this series (see volume 1 and volume 2) and still think this book series isn’t interesting, you have to read the third book. This is where it starts getting intense; were we meet a member of Sempimal Moon.

The book starts off again with Soubi fighting Zero. Of course, the fight goes on but we first see Soubi’s true skills. This is where the first real mature violent content comes into play: Zero almost defeats Soubi; they step on his hand and hammer a nail into his hand. Being the fact that he is a beast when it comes to fighting, Soubi uses a frost spell that completely freezes them. As explained earlier, Zero and the others feel no pain, almost nothing at all– so they have no idea when they get hurt. That is their downfall; they get frostbite and have no idea. This, instantly ending the fight; of course good guy Soubi lets them stay at his house. If they lost, the person who sent them would not let them back at the school so they had nowhere else to go.

This is possibly the best of the three books so far. The combat is really good and I mean there fantastic. Once you get the hang of how they use the attacks with their words and how the partner system works the story is fantastic. Of course the minor amounts of mature content is still there; I didn’t notice nearly as much in this book as the rest of them, but a fair warning never hurt.

After all, I give the book a solid 9/10. A must-read if you like the series and a great reason to start reading it. Making the series get better is hard to do.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Loveless, vol. 2, by Yun Kouga


I cannot stress this enough. This series is for mature readers. The first issue had some minor sexual tension and it wasn’t so bad; but this one– if you thought the first one was bad, this one is waaay worse. There’s no actual sexual content in this volume; just tension. This isn’t a bad thing for the right reader. Just be prepared for mature content. If you liked the first volume, it’s a great story and is worth reading.

That being said, this is now one of my favorite manga series. The story is developing slowly and at a rather reasonable pace. The characters are great and this one is far more towards Soubi, who wasn’t talked about much in the first book. I’m very glad about that because he is my favorite character, with questionable motives. The good news is this is rather good chunk of the book so more is explained throughout this book. I like having the focus more on one character for this book, so I hope it switches between the two main characters more. This is also the first time we get a major battle scene where Sobui and Ritsuka were working together, this is a great turn around for me. But still, kind of had some were tension between the two in my mind.

Overall, I give it a 9/10. A fantastic read I’m loving this more and more. If you couldn’t handle or didn’t like the content in the first one this isn’t really much better in that respect, but frankly, if you enjoy this series, it only gets better.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Elemental Gelade, vol. 4, by Mayumi Azuma

elemental_gelade4Check here, here, and here for reviews of previous volumes in this series.

I have a love/hate relationship with this issue.

It’s not bad. In fact, it’s great. It has some strong character development and it shows a lot of new characters. The reason why I don’t like it is because they go through the trials and fails of Cou to get him to be stronger. Frankly, that in itself is fine. It plays well… it’s very enjoyable; but for some reason, I have a very horrible feeling about the first 100 or so pages as Cou trains. That’s not the main focus.

You learn a lot about Edel Raids in this issue, and it’s a lot of interesting mythos. It’s interesting to learn about the universe and how these people/weapons work because it does show that they are people through this knowledge. The thing about it is that this is no longer about practice, and Cou goes back to the arena and fights for money. Of course, being that this is the hero’s story, he wipes the floor with them; in some cases it’s total domination– until he fights the champ, Rasati. At this point, I would add an epic soundtrack and just watch how epic this fight is.

This is a really good book in this series, no matter how I feel about it. I really liked the second half over the first half, due just to the fact that I prefer the combat. This is the first issue that Rowen and Keuea wear normal clothing. Personally I like the change; it adds more of a humanizing effect. And somehow Keuea is wearing more clothes now then in the first two issues; I never noticed this until now.

I give this volume a 9/10. I loved this one a lot, and it has a cliffhanger, setting up for what could be an epic battle for this. I’m really excited for it and if you liked this one, you should be too!

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Elemental Gelade, vol. 3, by Mayumi Azuma

elemental_gelade3Check here and here for reviews of previous volumes in this series.

This is a character-developing book. It takes one character and for the majority of the time there is only focus on one character: Cisque. This takes place around the time of the end of the second book, which this series makes a habit of doing.

In this volume, Cisque has to save Kuea and the others. While she battles the hunter Wolx, Cou has to save them using Ren, which doesn’t really work, as normal. He works to keep off the guard while the buyer is watching the fight. Of course Cisque just barely wins by pulling out a pistol. Wolx’s Elemental Raid jumps in front of him and takes the bullet for him. Of course, being that this is the happy story, Cisque makes a deal where he finds elemental raids and sells them to her agency so instead of being sold on the black market they will be protected. Once they arrive at the town, they go and meet up with the agency. This is also the first time we will see Rowen and Cisque in regular clothes as they go on vacation.

Onto the book itself; yes, it is very good. I liked it a lot, like the second one. And seeing Cisque in the regular clothes is a nice change of pace for her. Rowen doesn’t really change; he just wears a suit instead of the work outfit. Cou and Rin don’t change by the end of the book, but they do play a major part in the next book.

I give this volume a 8/10; it’s a great book and fans should keep reading on and if you’re still sketchy, it’s still doing really well, so read on– it only gets better.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Loveless, vol. 1, by Yun Kouga

loveless01_coverLoveless is an… interesting manga. The story follows a sixth grader named Ritsuka whose brother is murdered before the book takes place. Some time later, a college student, Soubi, approaches him, telling him repeatedly that he loves him and that he knew his brother.

The middle of this manga is slow and kind of boring, but the start and end are very well done and kept my attention. It’s weird, it’s funny, it’s cute, and it’s engaging. The protagonist, Ritsuka, has a lot of emotional trauma which makes for an interesting character. Soubi has a lot of mystery around him and I hope it is revealed later, because that in my opinion is a great angle and I want to hear more about his life.

Note that there is some mature content in this manga. Though there is only one brief kiss between the two characters, there’s a certain amount of sexual tension between Soubi and Ritsuka that makes this story far more adult then most other manga series aimed at the same age group.  

Overall, if you can get through a couple awkward scenes, the first volume of Loveless has a lot of great concepts and I loved it. I give this manga an 8/10. The story is great and enjoyable, characters are lovable and frankly I can’t wait for more.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Elemental Gelade, vol. 2, by Mayumi Azuma

elemental_gelade2Note: this manga contains mature content and may be best suited for an older teen audience.

The second volume of Elemental Gelade takes place mere seconds after the first volume ends. The tyrant is holding onto Ren and Cou is having a minor breakdown over the fact that his Edel Raid is saying horrible things about him, and that she is considering working for the enemy. After Ren uses her powers to blind the leader; his Edel raid is now hurt and betrayed that he would choose to pick the “object” he was about to sell over her, and he lashes out at her to work properly. This gives Cou and Ren time to unify and she turns into her weapon form. They take care of the bad guy with haste and they all leave the village. The steam factory is destroyed and the windmill is spinning again providing free power to the villagers.

The story of this issue is given far more room to work with than in the first volume, as there is already a basis for the plot and characters are defined well, with more depth. The comedy in issue is also slightly better, but still the main focus is on the characters and the action– and there is plenty of action.

Out of the first two, this is the better issue and if you were only “meh” on the first issue give the second one a try. It broadens the universe and frankly it’s worth checking out if you liked the first enough to finish it. (See my review of volume 1 here.)

Overall: 8/10. A great read.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga Review: Elemental Gelade, vol. 1, by Mayumi Azuma

elemental_gelade_coverI should start out saying this is my first real manga that I ever read, or at least, entirely to as much as I could. It helped form my current opinions on the style of Japanese comics. It is also the first time in a long time I wanted to skip reading a part in my book.

The main plot of the story is about Eldel Raids, or one of the 7 Glittering Jewels known as Ren. In the Glittering Jewels line, she is the last. She is the only living member now, and this is where the journey begins. After a very good start, I find the middle to be slightly lacking. However, it picks up extremely well when the story takes a sudden twist. Sadly the first issue ends on cliffhanger, but the Mission Viejo Library has all of them available up to issue 9! (Shameless plug.)

Now onto the book itself which is overall very good and done well. The art style isn’t well used outside of the weaponry in my opinion. That being said, when it is used well it is downright fantastic. The weapons all look unique and special giving them all a reason to be remembered. I think the characters could be a bit more fleshed out, but it put them at a great starting point. The story is well crafted in its entirety, and I personally really like it. The next issue is even better, and this one is worth a look.

Overall, I give this volume of Elemental Gelade a 7/10. A great manga. If you think it’s worth a shot I give it a full recommendation.