Category Archives: manga

Storytelling Is Not Dead: New Comic Book Day 22

It’s Wednesday!  That means new comic book day and a stack of number ones reviewed just for you!

I started something new a few weeks ago: I featured student guest reviews of some new titles, and we will be doing that again today!  That’s right.  I get to the comic book store at 7:00 A.M., buy a chunk of new titles, have students stop in and grab a few, they read them, we review them.  All in the course of the school day.  I hope you enjoy.  My plan is to feature two-four student writers each Wednesday.

Jughead The Hunger Versus Vampironica from Archie Comics

Written by Frank Tieri; Illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma; Colored by Matt Herms; Inked by Bob Smith and Ryan Jampole

Review by Sam V-W

I’m not going to lie, I have never read any Archie before.  That said, I enjoyed it…

Obviously this first issue is a set up to some sort of crossover fight between werewolves and vampires.  However, this was all about Vampironica, who might be a recurring character in Archie?  As a a newcomer to the Archie universe I honestly don’t know.

It was a good read; the art is amazing.  The pacing was vital to understanding what was going on, and I think it was done well. The character of Veronica is interesting; however, I’m missing an earlier story featuring the same storyline.  Honestly I might go looking for it. 

And I’ll probably also check out this Jughead dude, if both stories keep me entertained in the same way that this issue does, then I might start reading more of this Archie Horror line.  I’ve never been a huge fan of vampires in pop culture, but I thought this time it was well done.  I usually hate cheesy “jokes” in fight scenes but in a weird way they kind of worked in this issue.

Entertaining read, I’ll definitely be keeping up with this series.

(Kallenborn note: check out the amount of names in the creative team.  This ragtag group of six people coming together does a wonderful job of keeping it all consistent!  The heavy lines and dark color schemes are just what you’d want from a horror title.)


Street Fighter: Wrestlepalooza from Capcom and Udon

Written by Ken Siu-Chong; Illustrated by Panzer

Review by Anthony A.

I went into this book expecting to hate it (thanks for telling us why, Anthony). 

Initially I was pleasantly surprised, but about half way through, I lost all of that joy.  This is just some wrestler who is also a detective of some sort, I guess?  Everything ended up being too perfect for him.  Some guy approached him with the exact drugs he was looking for, he followed him and saw the kingpin, and then he fought the guy who offered him the drugs. 

The guy who originally was offering the main character drugs took the drug so he became ridiculously strong, and a bunch of random wrestlers helped the main character defeat the buffed up, “new steroid” taking guy.  The main character had no real opposing force, there was no buildup.  He just got straight to winning, and that kind of ruined the book for me.

I did not like the art, everyone is insanely buff and it just seems like an anime to me.  To be completely fair, a lot of people do like the whole anime type-art, that’s not me though. (Kallenborn note: I think the art looks pretty darn cool!)


Thanos from Marvel Comics

Written by Tini Howard; Illustrated by Ariel Olivetti; Colored by Antonio Fabela

Review by Anthony A.

I will personally be continuing with this series.  I bought the Virgin Crain variant from Scorpion Comics (Sorry, you can’t get it, they sold out of the virgin covers), and I am glad that I did that.  This series is good so far which I thought was odd because I did not like the Black Order series. 

It is definitely an origin story, but unlike what the title would suggest, it is an origin of Gamora. Thanos just plays a major role in it.  Which makes sense considering he stole her from her home planet and raised her, so that is fair.

The story so far is interesting.  It shows a different madness in the Mad Titan than I have not seen, and it completely fits him. The first book does not include Gamora very much, but it shows the reasoning behind why Thanos decides to go to the planet she lived on as a child to kill people.  The book has a huge monologue by Gamora (Kallenborn note: not that huge).  This happens on the first page so I am not really spoiling anything.  The issue is told through flashback.   

I enjoyed the art in this book.  I especially like the variant covers; the original cover is great too because it has Gamora standing on top of a skull, and that feels right: she was born out of death, or at least reborn.

I personally recommend reading this series; I don’t know a whole lot about Gamora, but after reading the first book I want to learn more.


Ghost Tree from IDW Publishing

Written by Bobby Curnow; Illustrated by Simon Gane; Colored by Ian Herring and Becka Kinzie

Reviewed by me.

I’m calling it right now: this is going to be a much better trade than an issue to issue book.

Our story open with a young boy named Brandt and his grandfather in a Japanese forrest; the grandfather asks the boy to visit him at a specific tree, ten years after the grandfather’s passing.  We fast-forward to the boy being a young man, making the trek to his homeland to temporarily escape his home life but to also visit the tree his grandfather told him to.

Littered with lots of ghosts (literal and figurative) and many beautiful panels with no words, Ghost Tree could be setting itself up to be a beautiful book of redemption and discovery.

This one is interesting.  Should you wait for the trade?  I don’t know.  It might be cool to be in on the ground floor on this one and own the issues.  I’m adding it to my pull list.  It’s only a four-issue mini-series.  I might wait until they are all out to read it though…


Punk Mambo from Valiant Comics

Written by Cullen Bunn; Illustrated by Adam Gorham; Colored by Jose Villarrubia

Reviewed by me.

I’m a fan of Cullen Bunn but not of this new Valiant Comics title.  The cover and art pulled me tight in, but as I got into it, I quickly realized that it felt like many other titles that I have read: a darker character (many times a woman) with a supernatural power (lots of times it deals with contacting the dead), fighting other dark baddies.  It’s sort of a thing.

However, that’s not what will ultimately keep this title off of my pull list.  My biggest complaint is the two major times in the issue where I became completely lost in the plot because the panels seem to completely miss chunks of the story/action.  I wish I could give you page numbers.  Two spots in the middle of the action completely lost me; and I read them about three times to see what I was missing (note: after students and I dissected it, we found a slight bit clarity to my confusion, but not much).

I don’t now if it was a disconnect between writer and artist, one of those moments where in the writer/artists’ heads it made sense, or if I’m just crazy and it’s perfectly cohesive.  But I do read A LOT of comics, so I hope I’d be able to pick up a unique transitional panel or something.


Side note:  Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge #1 hit shelves today as well.  I will have a review of it later this week with info on the Disney park’s Galaxy Edge’s opening!


There was a good amount of solid story this week, but I think I have to give the Best of the Week to IDW for Ghost Tree.  It’s beautifully constructed, original, and added to my pull list.

BOOM! Studios: 2

Image: 4

Archie Comics: 1

Dark Horse Comics: 2

Marvel: 8

IDW: 3

Vault: 1

Shout out to my shop, Alternate Reality located at 111th and Kedzie in beautiful Downtown Mt. Greenwood, Chicago…where I get all of my new books.  Check them out if you are in the Chicagoland area.  Tell Tim that Eric sent ya!

Check out the happenings of Alternate Reality by clicking here.

Happy reading!


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