Vol 1: Jewel of the Gravesend, illustrated by Jacquelin De Leon
Zatanna Starr, the daughter of renowned Coney Island illusionist Ezra Starr, is not a fan of crowds and performing. She’s much rather hang out with her friends or boyfriend and ride Coney Island’s coasters, grab cotton candy, walk her pet rabbit, or laze around at the beach. Her whole life changes when they visit a traveling band and find Mirror Script, a backwards script trick magicians used to use to hide their spells and tricks. Everyone else seems to have difficulty reading it, but Zatanna is able to read it just fine. What's more, whatever she reads comes true, and she can't figure out how this illusion is working! Diving deeper into this mysterious world unlocks other secrets about her family and her past that she must confront in order to truly understand what she's capable of.
Moon Knight (2014) Vol 2: Dead Will Rise, illustrated by Greg Smallwood
Wood takes over the series from Ellis, and it starts off similarly to Ellis’ volume 1 short story-type narrative. However, Wood weaves threads throughout each chapters that have payoff in the end. Moon Knight stops a well-armed sniper from killing a foreign dignitary, but it’s clear the man is a mercenary paid by someone very powerful. He then foils a terrorist plot at One World Trade Center, but the whole encounter is recorded on a cell phone camera and released to the world. The doctor from volume 1 is back - she tries to convince Marc to help her take down the foreign dignitary, and she gets Khonshu for her efforts. She infiltrates a security detail that is supposed to be protecting him, and without Khonshu, Marc finds himself detained yet again in something like a mental facility. Now, he’ll have to make it out without the powers of his god behind him, and stop the doctor before she ignites a civil war in an African country.
Vol 1: From the Dead, illustrated by Declan Shalvey, colored by Jordie Bellaire
Mr. Knight is back consulting with the New York Police Department, but don’t identify him as the vigilante Moon Knight, or they might be obligated to arrest him. Moon Knight helps take care of bzd guys in situations that would endanger the members of the NYPD - he tracks one to a secret lair in the underground and another to a (mostly) abandoned building where human trafficking victims are stashed. Steven Grant's therapist tells him that he doesn’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder, but instead that he has experienced trauma, both in his childhood and as in his adulthood as a mercenary, and that he has come up with other personas as a way to justify his crime fighting and need to save people.
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 Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire
Marc Spector wakes in a mental hospital, where he has obviously been thoroughly mistreated, judging by the black eyes and a number of other bruises. His psychiatrist, Dr. Emmet, is dismayed by the lack of progress he's made, especially in that he continues to talk about his other personas. He often slips in and out of his mind to talk to Khonshu, his patron god, who is also disappointed that Marc hasn't seen through the lies and broken out of the hospital yet. Marc starts to recognize some of the other patients - Frenchie, Gena, Marlene, Crawley - as people who have been helpful or important in his life. The facade of the hospital starts to crumble, and Marc begins to see the hospital staff as agents of Ammit, with crocodile heads and very foul tempers. Marc struggles to escape the hospital with his friends and maintain a handle on what he knows to be true, while slipping in and out of his other identities: Steven Grant, the successful Hollywood producer; Jake Lockley, a scrappy cab driver; and Moon Knight, the Fist of Khonshu and protector of travelers at night.
Illustrated by Lee Garbett
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, is murdered in cold blood in the entryway of the Sanctum Santorum. But, Stephen Strange is a crafty man. He has contingency plans for his contingency plans. His younger self arrives as part of a fail-safe he set in place years ago in case his affairs wouldn't be entirely in order. And he's not the only people to arrive upon the death of one of Earth's mightiest protectors - several invaders from other dimensions and realms set up shop on Earth, and they're all fleeing a magic-devouring baby-shaped monster with three "mothers" that scout for places to "eat". It's now up to his younger self to solve the mystery of his murder and keep everything from becoming baby food.
Stories by Cullen Bunn, Michael Fleisher, Doug Moench, illustrated by Don Perlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Matt Horak
Several of Moon Knight’s adventures are collected here in this volume. The first story is a two-issue arc from Werewolf by Night, where Marc Spector is employed to capture a werewolf and bring it back to a live, captive audience for $10,000. In the next adventure, Spider-Man and Moon Knight team up to infiltrate the underground of crime families. The last adventure is a journey through time with Keng the Conqueror, with both Keng and Moon Knight them chasing sacred artifacts of Khonshu that could re-write reality itself.
Illustrated by Hikaru Uesugi
Deadpool takes a trip to Japan and becomes deputized by Captain America to protect Japan from the evil-doers there. Immediately, we get a Spider-Man stand-in, Sakura Spider, and later, another Venom-type symbiote who achieved stasis with a super popular Idol named Neiro. Neiro affectionally calls her symbiote Kage (Japanese for Shadow), but he seems to not want nicknames nor to get attached to anyone. Through plenty of fourth-wall breaks and lots of references to other manga and anime series, Deadpool and his two compatriots try to thwart the plans of the supervillain Loki.
Illustrated by Robyn Smith
Nubia and her friends are hanging outside the local convenience store, sharing or bemoaning how they will spend their upcoming summer vacation. Oscar shows up, someone Nubia likes, and the other two make a quick retreat. Nubia psyches herself up to talk to her crush, but the store is held up by robbers at gunpoint. When Oscar is threatened by a gunman, Nubia does the only thing she can think of to save his life: throw an ATM at the perpetrators. But this breaks one of the cardinal rules of her moms: don’t use her superpowers, and definitely don’t do it in front of people and/or cameras. Amera and Danielle, Nubia’s moms, go into damage control to see if this is another situation where they need to up and move. Instead, they stick it out with the help from someone special from Prince Securities. This kicks off a series of decisions where Nubia acts against her moms’ rules, but usually only in order to protect someone she cares about. Nubia has to come to terms with her abilities and the responsibilities they bring, all while figuring out who she wants to be.
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.
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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