Illustrated by Gaia Cardinali
Jordan River is sort of enjoying a day at the museum with his family - mom, dad, and two younger twin brothers. The parents ask Jordan repeatedly with helping out and making sure the twins are occupied. When he slips away to find a moment for himself, he wanders into a fantasy kingdom and finds a prince and his knight beset by wolves. Despite never having held a sword before, Jordan picks one up from a fallen knight and protects the prince, who seems to have just performed magic. Back at the palace, Jordan discovers magic is forbidden, but his bravery has earned him one favor from the Queen. He asks to be trained as a knight, as he has no interest in returning home. There is more in this kingdom’s past that Jordan wants to help discover, especially once the Oracle tells him he will be instrumental in saving it.
Vol 1: The Cauldron of Life, illustrated by Justin Greenwood, colored by Daniela Miwa
Shahidah is a scholar who hails from the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, and she finds herself in Wales searching for the Cauldron of Annwn, one of the Thirteen Treasures of the world, and an object said to give eternal live. But Shahidah is not alone in her quest. Following close behind her, led by one of her fellow scholars, is the forces of Margul Khan. If the Margul gets ahold of eternal life, he is sure to conquer the known world! Shahidah uses her quick wits, and sometimes impressive fighting skills, to track down the mystery of this supposedly mythological item.
Arslan and a trusted general, Daryun, have found the hide out of the former royal strategist-turned-hermit, Narsus, and they try to get Narsus to join up with Arslan even though the king grew to despise Narsus. According to Daryun, there is no better war strategist, and Narsus does live up to his reputation several times while they are in his home. While Arslan is trying to remount a force to protect the capital city of Ecbatana, the Lusitanian forces descend on the city and try all manner of dirty tricks to get the sturdy walls to fall. They try torturing prisoners of war in front of the other soldiers to demoralize them; they appeal to the slaves inside to revolt against the solders; and they send assassins through secret water passageways to try to kill or capture the queen, who is the lone royal family member left in the capital to help keep everything together.
Illustrated by Liver Jam & POPO (Friendly Land)
Mathias is “cursed” with the lowest crest, fourth of four, and he’s learned as much as he can within his limitations. He’s decided that if he reincarnates himself, he might get the strongest crest, or he’ll keep reincarnating until he gets it. As luck would have it, he’s successful on the first try! He has no idea how many hundreds of years into the future he’s gone, but he’s reincarnated into a young boy’s body, and everything is very different. His crest is thought of as the worst, while his “brother,” who has Mathias’ old crest, is considered the best. Combat skills have also declined, so Mathias, with all his knowledge of magic and fighting from his previous life, defies all expectations as a strong magic-wielder and swordsman.
Itadori and his classmates continue to battle a special grade demon. As soon as the two are clear of the building, Itadori unleashes Sukuna to defeat the demon. But, Sukuna doesn't want to go back to sleep. He rips out Itadori's heart, and tells Fushiguro that he can survive in Itadori's body without a heart. If Sukuna changes back or Itadori wrests control from him, he'll die. Once the crew figures out that mess, headmaster Satoru Gogo decides to personally tutor Itadori because he will continue to be targeted by other demons because of Satoru's power. An upstart demon decides to interrupt their training, and Gogo decides to use his battle with the demon to explain to Itadori how jujutsu powers work. Gogo enjoys himself immensely as he shows off just how powerful he is.
Aya-Chan, Mitsuki’s best friend from her childhood, is back in Japan, back playing basketball, and just finished a tournament opposite Mitsuki’s new Fab Four basketball friends. But there’s something very different about Aya - she’s not a girl! While Mitsuki wrestles with this new information, and how it fits in to all her memories of Aya, Towa is determined not to lose to Aya in any way. Mitsuki tries to fit in with some girls in her class by inviting them to karaoke, but she’s an afterthought the whole time. She confesses her lack of friend making skills to Kyōsuke, one of the four basketballers, and he promises to get to know her better and be a better friend. Mitsuki doesn’t quite trust the offer but also doesn’t want to snub a chance at a friend! Aya finds out Mitsuki works at the Words Café across from the basketball court where they meet, and after one of her shifts, he’s very forward and promises to take her on a date after the next tournament. Mitsuki isn’t sure still how to handle Aya being a boy, let alone asking her on a date!
Mari has been stuck in a classroom by herself, forced to practice reviving things, while havoc goes on around her. Miriam and the demon she summoned, whose name is also Alice, apparently have a long history together. Lady Alice the demon sets things in motion between two other countries to spark a war, and the country they’re all in must decide which of their alliances are strongest. The countries then discover that it was the witches who started everything in their quest to get back at the humans for generations of abuse. The country starts attacking the school they’re all in just as Alice discovers Mari’s mother is in the witch’s crypt below the school. Lady Alice dares Mari to try and resurrect everyone she’s killed, but it turns out that everyone has misunderstood Mari’s powers from the beginning.
Vol 1: Before the Storm, translated by Greg Pak, illustrated by Keng, lettered (English edition) by Joe Caramagna
In an extremely non-linear plot line, we are introduced to Lei Ling, also known as Aero, a hero in Shanghai who has control over the air. When she’s not flying around her beloved city, Ling is an architect who designs homes for Shanghai citizens. Aero is currently battling animated buildings, some of which she designed, and desperately trying to stop a floating city from crashing into Shanghai. In the alternating scenes, we see glimpses of Ling’s past, where she and her boyfriend dine at a fancy restaurant just before he might get the courage and opportunity to propose to her, but she has to sneak away to save some folks trapped in a cyclone on a ferry. And then we meet Aero’s mentor, Madame Huang, who Aero is battling in the present while past Ling meets her for the first time.
Illustrations by Marcos Martín & Muntsa Vicente
Friday and her childhood friend, Lancelot Jones, solved many mysteries around their small town. When it came time for college, Friday chooses a school out of town. The day before she leaves, she and Lancelot had an embarrassing moment that Friday dwells on for months away at college. Now, it’s the winter holidays, and Friday is home visiting family. Lancelot is on the case, as always, and she is swept up again in the same old routine of finding clues and solving the mystery. She’s dismayed that Lancelot is treating her just the same, reverting back to before she messed everything up. Something about this case is very different than the others, though, as there seems to be a mysterious spirit involved that Lancelot may know more about than he’s leading on. The case and clues really pick up, and Lancelot leaves traces letting Friday know to come back to their headquarters in the woods, but that’s when everything goes from bad to the absolute worst.
Asakusa wants to join the Anime Club at school because she aspires to create it in her future. She drags along her friend, Kanamori, who’s singularly minded on making things profitable. At their first meeting, they triumphantly rescue Mizusaki from her body guards, and the three discover their hidden talents would compliment each other perfectly: Asakusa draws insanely detailed worlds, Mizusaki loves creating characters, and Kanamori has a producer’s attention to detail and scheduling. The three form their own club, Eizouken - a group for Moving Image Studies. They piece together a “studio” in a dilapidated building, scrounge together some tools, and create their first pitch for the Student Council in hopes of having an actual club budget.
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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