Illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Light, a high-achieving student with lots of future prospects, finds a strange notebook on his way home from school one day. Upon touching it, he can see Ryuk, a Shinigami, or god of death. Ryuk explains the basics of this notebook, which is a Death Note: if the person in possession of the Death Note writes a person’s name while picturing them in their head, they will die of a heart attack within minutes. Light decides to try the Note out on a couple of “deserving” criminals - ones who have committed some pretty violent offenses. After discovering what he can do with the Note, Light puts himself on a path to rid the world of evil. It doesn’t take long before people begin to notice; the news media and citizens gossiping about all the deaths believe it’s Kira, a god of death wreaking vengeance on the world. It also doesn’t take long until the police get involved. A crack detective-by-hobby, similar to Sherlock Holmes, takes on the case and helps the Japanese Police continue their investigation. With this young ace on his tail, Light has to be extra careful about how he conducts his Death Note business.
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
New girl Becca worries about making friends in her new town and new high school in Richmond, a suburb of San Francisco. When she saves the day for popular Marley, she's brought into the circle of the most popular girls in school. Becca soon discovers the secret to this tight-knit group: Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are werewolves, and they prey on skeezy boys who use unscrupulous means to seduce girls at parties. They bring Becca into the fold, and there are a lot of rules to being part of the squad. At one party, Becca goes too far with her super-human strength, and her actions jeopardize the entire pack. The FBI get involved in trying to solve the various murders in the Bay Area, and the solid moral rules the pack had in place start to crumble.
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.
Another Outsider has broken into the house and threatens to curse Shiva. Teacher takes an ax to it and chops off its head, but that doesn’t kill it. The stranger mutters some things about Shiva’s soul, and its “mother,” and it intrigues Teacher. The now-headless one teases Teacher, saying he knows how to lift the curse, and he brings Teacher to “Mother,” who is under the water in a deep lake. Teacher only learns of more disturbing news rather than a cure for Shiva, so the two head home in defeat. Strangely though, Shiva doesn’t show any of the classic signs of one who is cursed. Inside, a Father sets into motion the plan to bring back the girl from the other side for some unknown purpose.
Zaha Sanko is cursed - one bone from his body will grant the bearer any wish they desire, so you can imagine how many people are after him. When some junkers catch Zaha floating in space, they realize who he is by his injuries and his special dark paggy (special space backpack). Sanko and his skeleton friend, Avakian, overpower the crew with their special “Dark Flesh” armor and weapons. We then saunter down memory lane as Sanko recounts his time on an elementary school station where he made friends with a creature of death named Shimada, who feeds off of souls and finds Sanko amusing. Shimada, fortunately, is a perfectly content being, and thus has no reason to try and take one of Sanko's bones.
Noel and Ninny are witches and part of the Piper segment of the Wing Bind, a group of witches and wizards who are tasked with keeping dragons away from ordinary humans. Dragons are harmful to humans because humans have no magical abilities. Wing Bind, and most of the witches’ tasks, are in Reverse London, the opposite of Front London, where magic is much stronger and dragons more prevalent. One of the cases the witches get called for involves Noel’s admirer, Balgo. Balgo’s best friend turns into a dark dragon, which exist only to hurt people and destroy things. Being so close to a dragon for so long means Balgo has absorbed lots of dragon magic, and now he has to be watched by Noel and Ninny constantly. The three of them continue to take on cases involving dragons getting too close to humans, including one involving a girl Ninny knows, and an extremely powerful dragon that either influenced or was named from fairy tales.
In this kingdom there are two sides: Inside and Outside. Those on the Outside are cursed and can infect those from the inside. Those living on the Inside live behind tall walls and search for anyone who may be “infected” in order to banish them to the Outside. Shiva is a young girl who was suspected of being infected, and now lives Outside, eagerly waiting for the day her aunt will come retrieve her. She lives with Teacher, an Outsider who is very careful not to touch Shiva or allow her to touch him. The two forage for food, chop firewood, have tea parties, and read stories to pass the time. Teacher knows no one is coming for Shiva and struggles with how to keep her alive and happy.
Part 1: Phantom Blood
The beginning of this series is, in fact, bizarre. We immediately open to a human sacrifice that activates the strange powers of a stone mask crafted by the Aztecs. The narrative jumps forward to the 1800s with a man name Brando on his deathbed. He tells his son, Dio, to go to a man named Joestar who owes him a favor and will take Dio in. He vows not to tell Dio why Joestar owes him this favor, but tells the reader instead. Years ago, Joestar believed Brando was saving him after a carriage crash, rather than noticing Brando was robbing him. Dio swears to surpass his father’s station and beguile the Joestars into giving him their family fortune. The first act in this plan is to usurp the true heir, Jonathan, who everyone calls JoJo. Dio proceeds to make JoJo’s life miserable. After witnessing some of Dio’s worst deeds, we flash forward again, seven years this time. Dio and JoJo are about to graduate college, JoJo with a degree in archaeology. He’s been secretly studying the ancient Aztec mask that now belongs to his father. Dio and JoJo are somehow frienemies, but secretly Dio is still plotting to nap the Joestar fortune, and it’s up to JoJo to get to the bottom of it and thwart Dio’s plans, which also include this mysterious mask.
Eniale and Dewiel are an angel and demon, respectively, who are often at odds with each other on borrowing one another’s makeup without asking, or gathering souls for their employers. In one of their apocalyptic fights, they find a baby and search for its mother using means that send humanity into a panic. After destroying their clothes in another fight, the two travel to Paris to replenish their wardrobe, and an exorcist discerns and chases after Dewi relentlessly. A little girl summons both the angel and demon to help her sick mother recover, and it’s a competition to see who can win the little girl over to “their side.” After Eni pisses her friend off completely, Dewi “helps” Eni build the “perfect” hot springs and vows to drain Eni’s seemingly endless supply of money.
Nene Yashiro and Kou Minamoto are trying to find out more about Hanako-kun. A mysterious student tells Nene to look inside the 4pm Book Stack - a secret part of the library only accessible after 4pm. Inside of it are legions of books about the students of the school. White books are about current, living students; black books are about dead students; and you must not read the red books. Nene and Kou find the hidden entrance and search the black books for Hanako’s book, but they can’t find anything. Then, Nene finds her own book, and the pages and book turn red while she’s reading it, prompting Mystery Number Five, Tsuchigomori-Sensei, to attack her!
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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