Illustrated by Kimitake Yoshioke
Iori has just moved to a seaside town to attend university. Luckily, he has an uncle with a dive shop in the town, which means he has a place to stay. What no one warned Iori about was the dive club, a super intense group of (mostly) guys who host lots of drinking competitions and play lots of drinking and other games that rely on losing clothing. Iori gets sucked in to their competitiveness, even though he desperately wants to avoid this type of college experience. He’d rather go to class, meet cute girls, and be low-key. But, two straight nights of drunkenness and arriving to class mostly naked already has Iori starting down the path to a bad reputation.
This autobiographical manga presents Asuka's journey of self-discovery with their gender. In Japan, X-Gender is a term for nonbinary, but even these umbrella terms are not helpful enough to help Asuka navigate the LGBTQ+ community or to find a girlfriend. Asuka also provides some introspection and analysis as to why having a period is so emotionally disturbing to them as it reminds them of their female anatomy. Throughout the manga, Asuka tries to go on dates, participate in speed-dating events specifically for LGTBQ+ folks, and navigate friendships and attractions.
Momo and the class nerd, who she’s nicknamed as Okarun, fight about what is actually real - monsters or aliens. Okarun sends Momo to a building rumored to have high alien activity, while Momo sends Okarun to a cave rumored to be haunted by demonic ghosts. Both find out the other is right. Momo is assaulted by aliens and they attempt to probe her, while Okarun finds a creepy ghost grandma who is obsessed with eating his penis. The two fight out of their terrible situations but now are being followed by the grandma ghost. Momo brings Okarun to her grandmother’s house where she can protect them with her substantial supernatural power. The three devise a strategy to try to get the ghost grandma off their tails.
Illustrated by Gavin Fullerton, colored by Chris O'Halloran, lettered by Tom Napolitano
Poor little Jamie is terrified of the monsters in the closet that come out at night and try to eat him. His father, Thom, is trying to convince him that when the move from New York to Portland, the monster will stay here, and he doesn't have to be worried anymore. Behind all this fear is a tumultuous family situation. Thom and his wife fight constantly, but he's trying to make things better. Trust has been broken between them, but they're both hoping the move will offer them a chance to hit reset, and they can remember why they fell in love in the first place. Much to Thom's dismay, Jaime's nightmares keep visiting him every night, and the monster didn't stay in New York.
Illustrated by Pius Bak and Roman Titov
Warning, this review contains spoilers, but then again, so does the title.
Joey and her boyfriend, Astor, go to Astor’s family home for the summer - Crestfall Bluffs. Astor is worried about coming back home as a recovering alcoholic, so while Joey is apprehensive about meeting his family, she pulls it together to help him keep it together. She also wants to make a good impression as she may land an internship at a prestigious law firm owned by one of the many affluent families of Crestfall Bluffs. But, when she sees Astor’s father murder a man and the rest of the rich eat him, she has to come to terms with what is expected of people in this world. She decides to do the unthinkable in order to be accepted, and it comes with an even bigger price - those who start eating human flesh can no longer be satisfied with other foods. Joey befriends and later falls in love with the nanny of Astor’s much-younger brother. The two work together to turn Crestfall Bluff on its head and instead of eating the poor, they eat the rich.
Adapted and illustrated by Renee Nault
This dystopian story follows Offred, a handmaid to a powerful man in a relatively new society based on the Old Testament of the Bible. For many reasons, many of the people in Gilead are infertile, so fertile women are trained and assigned to powerful men for procreation. Offred is sent to the home of Mr. And Mrs. Waterford in the hopes that Frederick Waterford will impregnate her and the family will be able to have a child. Offred manages simple chores with her partner, another handmaid, attends the birth of a child from another handmaid, and navigates a scandalous friendship with Commander Fred. She also shows how Gilead was formed and the torturous training she went through to become a handmaid, as well as ponder often what happened to her daughter and husband she had before the fall of America.
Vol 5: A Game of You, illustrated by Shawn McManus, Colleen Doran, Bryan Talbot, George Pratt, Stan Woch, Dick Giordano, lettered by Todd Klein
Barbie, who we first met in A Doll’s House, is back again - this time as a long absent princess of a small realm within The Dreaming. Joining her on this adventure are Wanda, her neighbor and a trans female, Thessaly, who is apparently centuries old and a witch, and the lesbian couple of Foxglove and Hazel. Barbie is called back to her dream realm when one of her faithful subjects crosses realms and ends up in the Waking World looking for her. The Cuckoo, the villain of Barbie’s dreams, has also stationed an agent in Barbie’s building who tries to manipulate the other occupants into attacking Barbie in her sleep, but Thessaly is stronger, and she forces the agent to give up the Cuckoo’s plan. She then barters passage for herself, Foxglove, and Hazel to enter into Barbie’s dream to save her.
Kanade and Munechika have been friends for their entire life. Kanade has feelings for Munechika that he'll never express because Chika is an Alpha, and Kanade is a Beta. In this world of the Omegaverse, Alphas and Omegas most often become mates for the procreation of the human race, but it's very rare an Alpha and a Beta would. One day, Kanade becomes suddenly very ill with a fever, fatigue, and weakness. A trip to the doctor's office reveals he's in heat - he's actually an omega! The doctor gives him some suppressants, but the only thing that can truly make him feel better is by coupling with an Alpha, and Chika is there to support his friend. The two move in together and their moms hope they become mates, but neither can bring himself to admin their true feelings for fear of trapping the other into a mated couple they don't wish to be part of.
Vol 4: Seasons of Mist, illustrated by Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Craig Russell
We open up on the Garden of Destiny, who is visited by the Three Fates. He is unsettled by what they reveal, so he calls the rest of his family to a meeting: Despair, Desire, Delirium, Death, and Dream. The family chides Dream for his short temper, particularly in the case of his former lover, Nada, who he condemned to torment in Hell for not agreeing to become his queen. He eventually sees their side, and decides to re-enter Hell to free Nada. This might be the end of him, as Lucifer told him so on their last encounter. He says his goodbyes and readies his kingdom, but when he enters Hell, he finds it eerily empty. Lucifer meets up with him and tells him he’s let all the demons go, he’s released all the tortured, and the dead have gone back to wherever they came from. He gives the Key to Hell to Dream and peaces out, knowing the possession of the key is going to make Dream’s life miserable. Shortly thereafter, hosts of deities show up at Dream’s castle, all with a claim to the Key to Hell.
Illustrated by Issei Hatsuyoshiya
Rookie Red Blood Cell navigates through an adult male body, struggling to get his job done in an environment of high stress, skinny arteries, and with foreign toxins constantly being introduced. When the body introduces carbon monoxide, several red blood cells are injured and disfigured as it binds to them and forces them to drop their shipments of oxygen. Later, the Red Blood Cells are sprayed with alcohol, and they take a detour through the liver to have the alcohol cleaned off them. Miss White Blood Cell has her work cut out for her battling against a weak environment that invited in pneumonia and gonorrhea bacteria.
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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