Co-authored by PJ Holden, illustrated by Kathy Fitzpatrick and Rob Stein
I personally love World War II stories, so I enjoyed this story immensely. This book follows the trio of Pop, Ollie, and Archie, operators of a Swordfish biplane bomber that proved to be quite the thorn in the side of Adolf Hitler. The planes were so slow and obsolete that "modern" German and Italian forces couldn't battle against them. The trio become involved in three battles where the Stringbags were instrumental: the bombing of battleships at the Italian port of Taranto, the sinking of The Bismark, and the offensive known as the "Channel Dash."
Illustrated by Kyung-Il Yang
In this volume, we have unrelated stories in one: The Kingdom of the Gods, where small Prince Yi Moon is trying to escape assassination and death at the hands of The Living Dead, and Burning Hell, a story of two cannibals exiled to a deserted island battling it out to see who gets to carve the other up. In The Kingdom of the Gods, we travel with three rag-tag people to a city of doctors, only to find out that a plague turning corpses into zombies is raging through the land. The prince is determined to figure out how this started, and at the end of the volume, we are left with him fleeing the city, vowing to come back and cure everyone. In Burning Hell, our two criminals have a distinct appetite. One is a skilled doctor who likes to slowly cut people apart. The other is a raving cannibal determined to eat the "good" doctor. Then, after an absurd time jump leaves us without resolution during their big battle, pirates show up to make their sacrifice of a holy young virgin to the Loa gods in order to amass more power. This turns in to a three-way battle for who gets the girl for their own purpose, and the story ends with two still embattled.
Ran is a spunky 4th-grader who has magical shoes that turn her into a beautiful high-school girl. Her entire family all has magical abilities, as her brother has a fur coat that can turn him into a wolf-type creature. For some of this novel, Ran tries many different methods to go visit her magical mother. We see Mom in her home village, destined to guard a gigantic door which potentially could let out some big-bad. Towards the end, Ran meets a snotty rich man who becomes obsessed with her older self.
Alchemy, lead lines, magic, miasma, mirror monsters. Does this sound like a lot for one volume? It is!
The summary (and title) is what drew me to this story - "all she wants to do is relax, take things easy, and live at her own pace!" That is not what this book was about at all. Mariela uses suspended animation to avoid horrible monsters coming after her. When she wakes up, she immediately makes as many potions and vials as possible. She has to try to fit in to a much different society after her 200 year slumber, a world where Alchemists are all but gone, and her potions and magic are extremely rare and profitable. Mariela is so far perfect at every piece of magic and alchemy she attempts, so her storyline isn't nearly as interesting as the second to last chapter we get from her slave's point of view. Sieg's very quickly summarized backstory was more interesting than anything Mariela did in the story.
Vol 1, If I Only Had a Heart: illustrated by Drew Zucker, colored by Vittorio Astone
Canto is a charming fantasy that is 1 part Labyrinth, 1 part Wizard of Oz, and 2 parts entertaining hero's journey. In this story, Canto is part of a race of beings enslaved by another race to continuously chop down fuel for the mighty furnaces. Canto's people are bereft of their hearts as babies so that they cannot feel. In their place, they are given a clock that winds down to their inevitable deaths. However, Canto finds himself falling in love with another of his kind. She gets injured, and the only way to save her is to undertake a journey to recover her stolen heart. Canto makes friends on his journey who help him come face to face with the Shrouded Man, the being at the center of the enslavement of the world.
Children of the Whales has an interesting, slightly confusing premise, but, as with most manga, I'm sure we'll find out more about the setting in future volumes. An entire society lives on a floating island called the Mud Whale. Mud Whale floats across a desert, not an ocean. No one aboard Mud Whale knows how they got there. There are two types of people: marked, and unmarked. Marked individuals have a unique marking on their bodies, and they can control Thymia, a magic force that springs from emotions. However, marked individuals have desperately short life spans, where as unmarked can live for quite some time. One day, Mud Whale comes close to another floating island, and scouters, including our main character, Chakuro, find a young woman they refer to as Lykos. She gives little detail about the differences between their two islands, but she is convinced that danger will come to Mud Whale as it did her on Whale. This volume ends in a sudden tragedy that turns the entire narrative from one of mystery to a dark, horrific tale.
Illustrated by Matthew Southworth
The premise sounds improbably - a boy who is half human, half goat, a creature called a Cloven - but it somehow works. Tuck is a genetically engineered being whose lab "father", Dr. Langner, bred many failed experiments in a quest for what he thought was ending world hunger. Turns out, the bank-roller of the experiments was looking for a perfect warrior. Aren't they always. Tuck escapes from the lab where he is being experimented on, and finds a park full of others of his kind - ones that Dr. Langner had released from almost certain death years ago. Though alternating the narrative from present day to flash backs, the reader learns that Tuck's life isn't really what he remembers it as.
This intriguing story follows Yukko, a teenage girl who wakes up one morning to find that she and many other people in her prefecture have been shrunken down to a few inches tall. Yukko's dog Poko-chan proves a faithful companion, while her cat proves to be deadly. Once outside, cats and birds prove to be the major predators. Yukko meets a strange small person who doesn't seem to be human, nor does she speak the language, but she wants to be called Alice. Yukko, Poko-chan, and Alice struggle to find other survivors while dodging Mad-Max type bandits, regular-sized people who seem only intent on "rescuing" to exterminate, and a horde of hungry cats.
Smedley Butler was a colorful U.S. Marine involved in American war exploits from the Boxer Rebellion to World War I. He won two medals of honor for his service, only one of nineteen men in the history of the medal to do so. Towards the end of his career, he became an outspoken critic of the Hoover Administration during the Great Depression, and tried to lend his voice to the veterans of World War I who were suffering and starving in the Great Depression. This graphic novel follows Smedley through a Hooverville in Washington D. C. on the day of a great speech as he talks with veterans and shares stories of his time in battle. The narration is largely told through flashbacks of Smedley and the other veterans of the camp.
This book is definitely for the fans of the web comic, so if your students/patrons are not specifically looking for this title, go ahead and skip it.
Warm blood follows Penny, a first year student at Greenwood High who wants to become a video game designer. She befriends a few classmates and seems to be privy to insider info on the weird happenings at her public school - most notably of which is a murderer on the loose. No one else seems to be that put-off by the murders that happen at this school. Likewise, Penny tries not to make a big deal out of the fact that she sees weird things at night, like footprints she didn't make, or strange figures outside her window or in her own bedroom. Rather, her days are more consumed with appeasing her friends, such as Eve who has a crush on her, or her two friends from elementary school who now attend an all-girls private school.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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